I believe Bannock County is headed in a positive direction after looking back and evaluating the events throughout 2022. We did have some significant challenges. However, we faced them, and we continued to make progress throughout the year.
The budgeting process was a difficult one this year. The different department heads were directed to present all of their budgets to the entire County this year. Therefore, all department heads had an opportunity to see exactly how much effort goes into taking care of each department’s requests for funding. Those departments may not have received all of their funding requests, but the Commissioners, along with the County Clerk (Jason Dixon), worked tirelessly to provide each department with everything that we could fit into their budget requests. In the end, I think the process was very fair, and I appreciate the individual efforts of our dedicated staff who prepared and presented their budget requests.
While on the budgeting topic, I feel it may be worth reiterating the roles and responsibilities of the Board of County Commissioners. It is a position that encompasses a wide variety of duties that stretches from the supervision of county officers to the maintenance of roads and bridges, publication of procedures, and, of course, the fixing of salaries, to name a few. We are grateful for each and every Bannock County employee who assisted us in providing a 7% cost of living adjustment for all of our employees. A well-developed staff provides better services to our constituents, whom we aim to serve effectively and efficiently.
One project worth mentioning is the Eastern Idaho Forensic Pathology Center that Bannock County has partnered with Idaho State University to provide our region. We, as a County, are working with our partners at the University to get construction started on this sorely needed facility. Once opened, the Center will facilitate autopsies for many counties in the region. This will save public resources by allowing autopsies to take place in East Idaho, mitigating the current system of outsourcing to Ada County for these services. Once this facility is up and running, the Counties of Eastern Idaho will have a local option, which will save Coroners, Sheriff’s deputies, and many other personnel a significant amount of time and monies.
I, for one, am looking forward to the great things Bannock County will accomplish next year as we wrap up 2022. It is an exciting time for our communities with the holidays right around the corner. I hope everybody enjoys the rest of their year and has the same outlook I have as we collectively begin a new year together in 2023.