More Budget Woes; Palisade Lays Off Employee, Changes Pool Hours to Fill Shortfall

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PALISADE, Colo (KKCO) -- Palisade town leaders say residents could be inconvenienced by a new round of budget cuts announced Tuesday.

Town Administrator Tim Sarmo told the Town Board of Trustees during their meeting Tuesday night that county sales tax revenues -- which make up a bulk of the town's overall budget -- were down 24 percent in January. If that trend continues throughout the year, he says the town would be a little more than $300,000 in the hole.

To make up for that projected shortfall, he's already taken several steps to help balance the budget -- including laying off a town administrative assistant, getting rid of two summer jobs with the town's public works department, and shortening pool operation hours.

Sarmo says he cut all unnecessary spending before he looked at cuts to staff. He also wanted to stress that money being spent on capital improvement projects in the town could not be used to close the budget gap, because most of them are paid for with grant money or funds that were previously approved for use.

He says he hopes the economy turns around and that the town will have the opportunity to revisit some of these cuts later this year.

During the meeting, several Town Trustees asked him to reconsider his decisions to get rid of the summer positions and cut marketing for the Sunday Farmer's Market.

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