Friday, March 18, 2016

NDACo Hosts "Understanding How Budget Cuts Impact Counties" Webinar

In response to the urgency of state budget cuts, the North Dakota Association of Counties held a webinar for county officials Friday March 18th. Here is a video clip of NDACo Assistant Director Terry Traynor introducing the webinar "Understanding How Budget Cuts Impact Counties."

 More than 150 county officials registered for the webinar. And NDACo was told many of those registrants were groups of county folks gathering to listen together. NDACo developed the webinar using top state officials to provide an overview of the budget shortfall, summarize how they have worked to make up for the loss in revenue projections and how they predict moving through the upcoming months and year. Presenters included: Pam Sharp, Director of Office Management and Budget; Grant Levi, North Dakota Department of Transportation Director; Maggie Anderson, Director of Human Services; and Lynn Helms, Director of Mineral Resources.

You can find webinar presentations by clicking here"Understanding How Budget Cuts Impact Counties" Webinar Presentations

Each presenter focused on how the revenue shortfalls will impact counties. They detailed how the allotment of 4.05 percent cut from agency budgets will be noticed at the county level. Sharp said the sudden downturn in our state's economy is largely related to the price of oil which has impacted activity and sales tax revenues.

However, even with the cuts made to state and county road allocations; Levi made special note that this will be the fourth largest construction season in the state's history. Helms also provided some optimism to webinar participants indicating that the state will see a significant increase in activity and sales tax revenues even as oil prices reach $50 a barrel. More than $200 million in sales tax revenue alone will flow into the state once inactive wells are completed.

Another forecast will be prepared late this summer. Sharp says if at that point the forecast shows a deeper shortfall more cuts may be made. About $75 million is still remaining in the budget stabilization fund, which could also be utilized. In addition, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and Sharp will soon outline state agency budget guidelines for 2017-2019 biennium. Sharp says she is confident agencies will be advised to find reductions.

It is our intention this information will help you understand the financial dilemma at the state level, and what you may or may not expect for state support in the near future. Overall, this is information you need to know as you move toward building your 2017 budgets. You can be assured that NDACo will provide you updates as the budget situation evolves.