Lewis County Budget Manager Becky Butler (right) instructs a group of community members on the annual budget process. Also pictured is Lewis County Manager Erik Martin.

A group of local residents expressed their interest in voicing their views and proposals on Lewis County’s 2020 preliminary budget during an Oct. 1 introductory roundtable at the county courthouse in Chehalis. 

“If you don’t know about county government, you’ll know a whole pile of it when you’re done,” commented third-year Citizens Budget Committee member Bill Marshall while addressing a handful of first-time participants. 

Marshall, of Mossyrock, exhorted his fellow private citizens to “get involved” in the budget process rather than idly complain about services that aren’t getting adequately funded. 

On hand to educate the advisory team were County Manager Erik Martin, County Commissioner Edna Fund and Budget Manager Becky Butler, who issued a rundown of some of the items the committee will be expected to review, including categorized expenditures constituting the preliminary budget rollup. These are: the general fund, special revenue funds, enterprise funds, internal service funds, debt service funds and capital projects funds for the acquisition and /or construction of new facilities. 

In addition, Fund informed residents of opportunities to partake in other county committees, some of which may have vacancies. 

One of these, according to Butler, is the county’s salary commission entrusted with the task of reviewing the annual incomes of county elected officials.

The group, she explained, meets separately and independently to provide a recommendation on salaries. It was also noted that this particular team is in need of an individual possessing a business management background. 

Those salaries haven’t been increased since 2014, Butler said. 

Fund, whose own salary will be put under the spotlight, was in favor of the process and added: “We believe that a salary commission was a better way to approach it. So take us out of it.” 

Other developments in annual budget revisions were offered by Martin, who filled in the audience on a recent initiative to form a Strategic Planning Advisory Committee group as an additional citizens advisory body entrusted with interfacing with the community to bring new ideas to the county commission. 

The group which will be fully formed by mid-to-late spring, Martin said, will be attending public meetings, conducting surveys and meeting with service groups in the area. 

“I encourage these two groups to work together. I think you guys might complement each other well,” he told members of the budget committee

The Citizens Budget Committee will next meet at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the county courthouse, while the first budget hearing is scheduled to take place on the first Monday of December. For further information on the budget and all related matters, visit www.lewiscountywa.gov

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