District Attorney’s Office offers budget solution
Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Board of Commissioners can’t cut the District Attorney’s personnel budget, so Elizabeth Oldham is offering up other areas to be trimmed.
Oldham, the 14th Judicial District Attorney, said she will present a plan to cut more than $42,000 in operational expenses during a meeting today with commissioners.
The move will keep her staff in place and will help the county deal with its budget crisis, she said.
The commissioners wanted to reduce Oldham’s personnel budget by 10 percent, which amounts to $62,243, and would have reflected the personnel cuts Routt County has enacted for all its own employees.
But state statute stipulates that the county cannot reduce the DA Office’s personnel budget without the consent of Moffat and Grand counties. The DA Office’s budget is shared proportionally among the three counties.
The Moffat County and Grand County commissioners refused to cut the DA’s budget, leaving all of Oldham’s staff intact.
“I’m trying to find the money in other ways,” Oldham said Monday. “I want to help with the crunch without affecting staff.”
Oldham said she will cut $5,500 from operating expenses and leave a victim witness coordinator position in Grand County unfilled, in addition to other moves.
None of her proposed cuts will reduce staff salaries or result in the termination of any filled positions, Oldham said.
“The amount I’m proposing to cut is similar to the total amount they wanted to take under the salary cuts,” she said.
The DA’s operational budget in Routt County is $60,700, while Routt County’s contribution to DA personnel is $622,430.
“It will be difficult, but everyone (in the office) is willing to do it so we don’t lose positions,” Oldham said.
Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said any help with the budget would be appreciated, although he had not seen Oldham’s proposal Monday afternoon.
“We welcome that, that’s great. That’s what we’re asking for,” he said. “It’s what we’ve been doing with the rest of our departments, to see if we can pull some money out of those budgets : try to figure out if there’s a little bit of excess there that maybe we don’t need this year.”
Line items within the DA Office’s operational budget include supplies, motor pool, special insurance for claims against attorneys, travel, meals, lodging and training, Routt County Finance Director Dan Strnad said.
Monger said the cuts must be reasonable, if and when they come.
“It doesn’t do any good to have $662,000 worth of personnel out there and they don’t have a pen,” Monger said. “People become non-efficient if they don’t have the money to operate with.”
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