After months of debate, Sedgwick County Commissioners approved their 2013 budget Wednesday with some notable changes from the initial proposal.
The new $408 million budget will eliminate a $9.3 million deficit this year, which will help the county achieve a zero deficit by 2013.
County commissioners made millions in cuts to make that happen. They will layoff about 80 people county-wide and reduce salary increase for the remaining employees, going from the original 3% raise to a $2.5% increase.
The county will also start charging a fee for credit card payments, delay some capital improvement projects and give budget cuts to the Sedgwick County Zoo and Exploration Place.
The county will keep the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch open for another year, with less juvenile inmates. Closing that facility was originally proposed to save about $1.5 million each year. But commissioners decided to fund it and wait for the next legislative session to see if Kansas lawmakers will give the facility more state funding.
Commissioners also decided to restore some funding to senior services. The Sedgwick County Department on Aging was initially facing a $200,000 budget cut, but the vote means the department will only face an $70,000 cut.
Commissioner Richard Ranzau tried and failed several times to make additional budget cuts in specific areas through substitute motions, but he was out-voted 3 to 2 every time.
In the end, the vote on the finaly budget proposal was 3 to 2. Commissioners Ranzau and Karl Peterjohn voted against the budget.