Douglas County commissioners have put the first piece of the 1997 budget puzzle into place by approving a $339,306 allocation for the county Extension Council.
The county's contribution typically is 78 percent of the Extension Service's budget, with Kansas State University making up the difference. The office is an educational and support resource for farmers and families, and coordinates the local 4-H program.
Douglas County's 1997 appropriation to the council represents an increase of 0.63 percent. Although KSU's portion has not been determined, it usually increases 2.5 percent annually.
Following Monday's commission action on the Extension Service's budget request, County Administrator Craig Weinaug said he would be scheduling other budget hearings in coming weeks.
The commission must have a final budget ready for publication during August. Weinaug has proposed leaving the property tax levy unchanged at 25.517 mills in order to fund expenditures of $25,782,756.
This year's budget negotiations with the Extension Council were much calmer than last year's, when commissioners were presented with a request for a 10.85 percent increase. Ultimately, the Extension Council received a 3 percent increase for 1996.