Branham said he sought to check expenses during budget preparations and considers the proposal a "step toward" his campaign pledges on financial matters. But he acknowledged the plan digs into cash surplus to balance expenses.
The budget proposal allocates $1.3 million for fire services, down about $170,000 from last year. Almost $600,000 is going toward the jail's individual $2 million budget and $133,000 is earmarked for the Clark County Animal Shelter.
The road fund, which is funded entirely through the state, receives $1.5 million in the proposal.
Meanwhile, Branham has installed capital outlay accounts in some of the major funds to assist the county in saving money in the long-term, including a $500,000 account in the general fund and an $80,000 account in the jail fund.
Branham said the money will be placed in a interest barring account and advocates adding $50,000 to the general fund portion each year.
"That is the first attempt for Clark County to have a capital outlay account," he said. "In other words, an account such as a savings account that we can build on each year, and that's going to come right out of our projected surplus."
Another $108,000 would remain in the contingency fund.
The spending plan forecasts a 5 percent increase in county salaries and wages, a 15 percent rise in health care costs, and a 23 percent increase in the cost of employee benefits as mandated by the state.
It also calls for a $145,000 refund to the county detention center's canteen fund to cover basement renovations. Auditors have ruled that Fiscal Court must reimburse the expense.
This year's budget is predicted to end the year with about $1,053,000 in surplus. Branham said he hopes to end next fiscal year with the same amount through savings and expense-cutting measures. He added that surplus spending must be curbed.
"I think that is very important that we try no to lose any ground on our surplus," he said.
Magistrates did not review the proposal at the meeting, but indicated afterwards that fiscal responsibility would be a priority in this year's budget season.
"I think we need to watch our spending," said 5th District Magistrate Pam Blackburn. "I think we need to keep a tight budget even though we've got revenue coming in. We still need to keep an eye on it."
The purpose of the recent increase in the insurance premiums tax was to raise the county's surplus to a $1 million, Blackburn said.
First District magistrate Rick Smith said he wants to make sure the Fiscal Court stays within its means.
"I just don't want to get back to where we have to come back to the public for more revenue," he said.
After the court gives the budget a first round of approval, state officials will review the plan and send it back to the county for another vote in June.
"I feel that I have done everything I could do with what we've got," Branham said. "But one reason I want to have those capital outlay accounts is so we can put money aside. That's where I think we've run into trouble in the past."