The budget serves as the annual financial plan for Jefferson County. It prioritizes what programs and services are to be funded, how monies are to be spent (expenditures), and what revenues are available to fund those services.
A government budget is not the same as a household budget. Within a household budget, most have the option to use funds in different ways. It does not work that way with a county budget. The majority of the county budget comes in from certain sources and must be used for specific purposes.
The General Fund is the primary fund for county operations, however, it is only one of several funds that are included in the overall countywide budget. Even though the General Fund makes up only about one-third of the entire county budget in terms of dollars, it supports over 50 percent of county services. Because of this, any consideration of reductions in this fund are quite impactful to the entire county budget.
The county presently operates out of 38 separate and distinct funds – again, most of which can be used only for specific purposes based on the sources of their funding. From a budget perspective, it’s best not to think of the county as one single entity – instead, you might think of it like a collection of 38 separate companies, each with different purposes and their own dedicated resources.
Regardless, each one of these funds must still work in concert with the others to achieve a balanced budget and the overall mission, vision, values, and goals as set forth by the Board of County Commissioners.
Let’s dive a little deeper into those funds: