County to approve final 2018 budget Tuesday with $400K in new cuts
CRAIG — After months of searching for ways to reduce expenditures and boost revenues, the Moffat County B0ard of ?County Commissioners is preparing to approve the county’s final 2018 budget Tuesday, Dec. 12.
When the preliminary budget was presented in October, Commissioner Don Cook said the county was still looking to “realign” an additional $1.2 million in the county’s general fund next year or in the coming years, either through spending cuts or increasing revenue streams, such as fees for services.
Though specifics won’t be revealed until the final budget is presented Tuesday, commissioners have carved out another $400,000 from the general fund budget since October, bringing the total budget to about $10.9 million for 2018, according to Beck.
“That’s going to leave us about $800,000 that we’re going to have to adjust for next year,” said Commissioner Ray Beck.
Commissioners set out this year trim $2.5 million from the general fund, representing more than 20 percent of the total budget. Once the cuts have been made, spending levels will remain the same into the foreseeable future, unless revenue streams, such as those generated by oil and gas development, begin to increase again.
“Based on the economy that we have, we need to adjust our budget accordingly,” Beck said.
The county’s general fund encompassed\s 39 departments, including many of the nuts and bolts of the county’s functions, such as elections, finance, assessor, treasurer and parks and recreation.
It’s unclear whether the new layer of cuts could mean layoffs — more will be known Tuesday — but Cook said he was hopeful no one would lose their jobs.
“When we give the budget to elected officials, what they choose to do with it is theirs. … We are not able to tell them what they can and cannot do with it,” Cook said. “But the way it’s working out, I don’t think we’re going to end up with any layoffs. … There were some fairly large cuts, but there was additional revenue to make up for it, so I don’t think it’s going to affect any personnel.”
Sheriff KC Hume, whose office is funded through the general fund, said he doesn’t anticipate any personnel cuts in 2018. Likewise, Road & Bridge Director Dan Miller doesn’t foresee losing any additional positions within his department.
“In the last year, we’re down four full-time employees through attrition. Either people quit or retired, and we just didn’t replace them,” Miller said. “Every time we have an opening, we scrutinize pretty closely to see if we can just combine or eliminate the position. … At this time, we’re not cutting any staff or services; we’re just doing it more efficiently.”
Miller also explained that his department is extending the life of old equipment, such as motor graders or pickup trucks, opting for repair over trade-in.
County officials are beginning the next phase of the Priority Based Budgeting process, which involves scoring programs and services based on their value and necessity to the community.
Nonetheless, commissioners are making no promises, as more cuts loom ahead.
“The budget is going to continue to be an ongoing work in progress and discussion, and everything is on the table,” Beck said.
The crisp autumn conditions Moffat County High School distance runners have come to expect were a little more intense Friday as the Bulldog cross country teams hit the regional course.