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Dunn County Commission thinks finances; plans for possible 2014 budget surplus

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news Dickinson, 58602

Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

MANNING -- The Dunn County Commission will examine its budget in the next few months and begin making plans for the county's finances in 2014, which could include a budget surplus.

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During Wednesday's commission meeting at the Dunn County Courthouse in Manning, the commissioners agreed to have the county auditor, Tracy Dolezal, and Denise Giffin, who handles the human resources needs for both Dunn and McKenzie counties, collaborate before next month's commission meeting on Aug. 7 to establish some figures for the commissioners to consider.

Among the information the commissioners are looking for are cost of living adjustments for the salaries of the county employees and departments where the budgets could be adjusted to fit the money that is available at the end of the year.

The commissioners will also have to factor in the possibility of any oil-related revenue the county could receive, said Commissioner Reinhardt Hauck.

"I would estimate that the general fund will carry over somewhere between $10 (million) and $12 million into next year's budget,"

he said.

Having a surplus is a good thing for the county, but Commissioner Bob Kleeman warned that the public may not see it that way if there is as much money carried over as has been predicted.

"I know that if there is a lot of money left over, we are going to get a lot of complaints from people, saying that there was stuff that should have been done that wasn't," he said.

Along with preparing the county for a new budget, the commissioners unanimously approved to move county employees from a monthly to a bi-weekly pay system, which Giffin said a switch also discussed in McKenzie County.

"Now the payroll process will actually have to be done twice as often as it is done now, so it will take double the time from the administration to do," Giffin said, adding that it will help with paying employees more accurately for the time they worked.

Kleeman said a switch to paying county employees every two weeks will help with new employees, many of whom are not used to receiving one paycheck a month.

"We used to have more farm boys do these jobs, but now we're hiring people who are used to getting two paychecks a month, and I have heard from a lot of people that they are used to getting paid every two weeks," he said.

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