Natrona County Commissioners spend their day Tuesday developing a budget for next year.

They'll be looking to shave from all departments as they work with about $6 million less then last year. Part of the shortfall may come from possible loss of between $1 and $3 million in federal PILT, or Payment In Lieu of Tax, dollars.

At a work session last week commissioners talked reluctantly about introducing a health care co-pay for county employees. "We're gonna be short no matter what we do, so we're looking at some options and one of those is to look at the health insurance which is a big chunk of our budget." Commission Chair, Ed Opella, says tampering with county employee health care- which costs around $4.3 million a year- would only happen after all other budget cut options are exercised.

The Federal PILT dollars in question average about $1.5 million and Opella says its unclear if congress will be continuing those payments that generally go to western states with large blocks of federal land.