COLFAX — The Whitman County commissioners on Monday approved a $17.1 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2020, which reflects a $124,000, or 1 percent, increase over the current year.

Personnel expenses make up 60 percent, or $10.36 million, of the budget. The sheriff’s office is the largest single cost center, accounting for $4.19 million, or 24 percent, of projected general fund expenditures.

Revenue sources for the 2020 budget include $6.1 million in property taxes, $3.2 million in county sales tax receipts, $1.1 million in state grants and $146,065 in cash reserves, plus $6.5 million from a number of miscellaneous funds.

The county’s total 2020 budget, including the road department, solid waste and capital projects, is $64 million. That’s a $1.7 million, 2.7 percent, increase over this year’s budget. Roads and solid waste together account for $27.8 million, or 43 percent, of the total expenditures.

In other action, the commissioners approved a five-year contract with Martonick Law and attorneys Roger Sandberg and Sandra Lockett to provide public defense services for 2020 through 2024. The contract price of $400,000 per year is an $85,000, or 27 percent, increase over the previous contract; however, that reflects an expected increase in the number of court appearances public defenders will need to attend.

Spence may be contacted at or (208) 791-9168.

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