The Natrona County departments for public safety, parks, roads and bridges, the library and other services have submitted requests for the county commissioners to consider as they start crafting the budget for the next fiscal year.

The departments' requests total $49.6 million, compared to the revised budget for the current fiscal year which is $48.9 million, and the $46.8 million spent in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, according to a spread sheet from the County Clerk.

At a work session on Tuesday, the five commissioners began hearing from the department heads about their requests, and those hearings will continue to mid-June. After that, they will develop the budget in light of revenue projections, hold a public hearing, and vote on it in mid-July, County Clerk Tracy Good said.

All that is happening in the shadow of the economic fallout from the public health restrictions imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 and the fall of oil prices.

The requests are tentative and subject to further hearings and changes by the departments.

The sheriff's office -- administration, personnel, emergency management, the jail and juvenile detention center, and courthouse security -- tops the list of county departments in size and budget requests.

The office submitted a request of $16 million, compared to its revised budget of $15.9 million for the current fiscal year, and the $15.1 million it spent in fiscal year 2018-2019.

The divisions in the sheriff's office asked for more money for security at the Townsend Justice Center and the Natrona County Detention Center. Administration, which includes the officers, and emergency management submitted requests lower than their revised requests in 2019-2020.

Most departments submitted requests flat or slightly lower compared to the current fiscal year.

The commission itself makes a request that includes submissions from its divisions including administration, human resources, county attorney, child support enforcement, county development, county road maintenance, and maintenance of certain buildings including the courthouse and the library.

Those requests total $16 million, compared to the revised budget of nearly the like amount for the current fiscal year, and the $16.7 million they spent in fiscal year 2018-2019.

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