SWCD requests more

An additional $18,000 requested for the Auglaize Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for its 2013 budget would help keep two employees on staff.

SWCD Administrator Nancy Fisher asked the Auglaize County commissioners for the money during a budget hearing this week.

“The additional is for personnel, to get our staff up to full,” Fisher said.

In total, Fisher said they are requesting $158,000 in the new year, up from $139,653 this year.

The additional funding would help cover the salaries of two of the district’s four technicians who were being paid through grants before they expired earlier this year.

In March, another technician is scheduled to retire, with that position not expected to be filled. The fourth technician was brought on in part for training.

Salary and related line items are the only increases anticipated in the SWCD budget in 2013.

A state match also contributes to the SWCD’s annual budget but that figure is based on the amount of money received from the county.

“We never know ahead of time what percentage match we may get,” Fisher said. “Last year it was 80 percent. You never know until they get all their funding requests in from other counties and they decide what they can give.”

If the commissioners, who typically do not finalize budget decisions until the end of the year, do not grant the increase for the technicians’ salaries, Fisher said they will look at ways to cut other line items to fund the positions, which specialize in the district’s manure programs and ditch maintenance.

“We hope to keep them on board one way or another,” Fisher said.

She said going into 2012, they knew when the grants were expected to expire and planned accordingly for their budget so they had enough money to keep them on the payroll through the end of the year.