|NDACo President Steve Reiser appears before Political Subdivision Taxation committee|
NDACo was asked to respond to several committee member's questions and concerns during a hearing this week. Legislators wanted a look at the social service budgets for 2015 county by county. What NDACo President Steve Reiser provided legislators was a thorough look at the expenses associated with a county social service department. In which a majority, 87 percent, of county social service budgets are direct personnel costs including salary, payroll taxes and benefits.
The committee also requested that NDACo provide input into the appropriate growth, or inflation factor to use in calculating future reimbursements. Personnel costs are almost exclusively driven by state salary adjustments and health insurance premium changes. NDACo proposes using a blended factor to reflect growth of both salaries and insurance rather than an inflationary rate that has no direct relation to those two adjustments.
Lawmakers also wanted to explore what is the appropriate ending fund balances or reserves to be maintained by a social service unit. NDACo maintains that a certain level of reserves is critical for social service programs. A formula should be developed that also addresses ending fund balances. Legislators suggest the balances above that threshold could be deposited in the county general fund to reduce taxes.