The Kootenai County commissioners announced Tuesday that they will delay the public hearing on the proposed county budget, originally scheduled for tonight.
The driving reason for the delay, said Commissioner Rick Currie, is to give the commissioners time to reconsider the proposed 1 percent tax hike.
"We are anticipating taking the 1 percent away," said Currie, who had initially opposed the increase. "That would be my hope."
After further discussions, the commissioners plan to publish a new proposed budget before the public hearing, scheduled now for 6 p.m. on Sept. 1 in Room 1 of the Kootenai County Administration Building.
Currie said he believes that even without the tax increase to bring in an extra $372,104, the county can still find other revenue sources to balance the budget.
"I think if we move some stuff around, we might be able to do it," Currie said.
The commissioners will also retool other items in the $71,872,236 proposed budget, Currie said, though he wouldn't specify which.
He doesn't anticipate reconsidering funding for the sheriff's department, Currie said, even though Sheriff Rocky Watson has threatened to sue the county over his department being underfunded.
"I would be surprised if we made adjustments there," Currie said.
Commissioner Todd Tondee said the officials have already been successful in trimming the budget, though there is more work to come.
"I think we're close to a little over a $1.5 million reduction in our budget," he said. "It's very favorable that we'll have no tax increase."
The reduction resulted both from correcting some budget numbers and altering the fund balance, Tondee said.
"We've been going over it and over it and over it," he said. "We understand that with the economy, people are really suffering, and we're trying to do everything we can to not have a tax increase."