Commissioners take a first look at the county's 2010 proposed budget

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Mesa County Commissioners took the first look at the proposed budget for 2010 Tuesday, and it's not looking good.

From the Sheriff's Office to Animal Services, it appeared Tuesday almost nobody will escape the proposed $26 million in cuts to Mesa County’s budget. County Administrator Jon Peacock says, "Depending on the department its been flat funding or decreases."

With county revenues projected to decrease more than 11 percent, Peacock says the county hasn't trimmed the budget this much since the early 80's. "This morning we proposed just under 15 percent cuts to our budget," says Peacock. The final budget won't be approved until December, but several agencies are already on the chopping block.

The Sheriff's Office budget would be cut 3.6 percent, the District Attorney's Office 6.45 percent and Animal Services could lose 6.1 percent of its budget.

One of the biggest cuts would come out of the Health Department. It could lose 8.3 percent of its funding. The county has also scheduled more furlough days for employees. Peacock says, "That is a significant sacrifice on their part." But County Commissioner Craig Meis says deeper cuts to operations might be needed.

The Department of Corrections is the only program that will get more money, only because funding comes from elsewhere. "Those programs are primarily funded through the state," says Peacock.

Business owners could also see a break next year. Meis says, "We are looking at a cut to business personal property tax, we think a cut in taxes actually helps increase economic development and business vitality."

But while the proposed budget still needs more work, Commissioners say it's a good start. Meis says, “Its definitely a very prudent budget." The county still needs to work about $720,000 into the current proposal.

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