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Columbia County adopts its 2020 budget

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Columbia County Commissioners Office

Columbia County Commissioners Office in Dayton.

Columbia County commissioners adopted a $13.57 million budget for 2020 last month, including a current expense fund of $5.85 million to spend on day-to-day operations.

One major expense on the rise is tied to county employees.

Columbia County has increased its contribution to staff medical insurance to $950 per month for non-union employees and $1,125 for Sheriff’s Office union employees, said Columbia County Auditor Anne Higgins.

The county road department’s union contract is under review for amendment this year, she said.

In addition, county employees received a 2% cost-of-living adjustment wage increase, Higgins said.

Extra funding to pay for expenses was provided through various grants, including for public health and the road department, she said

State support for Higgins’ office has been boosted as well.

“There is a significant increase in funding from the legislature to cover costs for providing mandated auto licensing services,” she said.

In addition to rising employment costs, one major project planned for 2020 is replacing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the county courthouse, she said.

Chloe LeValley can be reached at or 509-526-8326.

Chloe LeValley covers the cities of Walla Walla and College Place as well as agriculture and the environment in the Walla Walla Valley. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University and joined the Union-Bulletin's team in October 2019.