In a low-key kickoff to fiscal year 2018 budget talks, McLennan County commissioners took care of state-mandated, largely straight-forward work Tuesday.

The new budget year starts Oct. 1, and commissioners are scheduled to adopt a budget Aug. 22.

Commissioners will start in on some big-ticket considerations during their July 5 meeting, County Auditor Stan Chambers said.

Chambers said he is not ready to identify what those requests for purchases from department heads are, because he has not presented the information to commissioners.

However, he said there are high-dollar requests from the sheriff’s office, information technology department and juvenile probation department, and a high-dollar consideration regarding employee health insurance.

Chambers said when he first started with the county, the juvenile probation department had unused money in reserves that supplemented its budget. That has dwindled over the years, and most of the department’s money for 2018 will come from the county’s general fund, he said.

Commissioners will work through each department’s requests before addressing cost-of-living adjustments, raises and setting the tax rate.

No budget decision is final until the budget is officially adopted. The Aug. 22 date set for adoption is about a week earlier than usual to accommodate a conference most of the commissioners are scheduled to attend.

Commissioners worked through special revenue funds Tuesday, which come from fines and fees the state Legislature has designated by statute for specific purposes, Chambers said.

Special revenue funds include courthouse security, court records, justice technology and the law library fund, among others.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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