County proposes hold-the-line budget for 2013
by Steve Kadel
staff writer
Nov 29, 2012 | 2826 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Grand County Council has approved a tentative 2013 budget that does not increase property taxes or add new employees.

The council voted 4-0 on Monday, Nov. 26, for a tentative $20 million operating budget – roughly the same amount as the current year, said Grand County Clerk and Auditor Diana Carroll.

Those voting were council chairman Gene Ciarus and council members Chris Baird, Pat Holyoak and Chris Conrad. Council vice chairwoman Audrey Graham and council members Ken Ballantyne and Jim Nyland were absent.

A public hearing will be held during the council’s Dec. 4 meeting with final adoption scheduled for Dec. 18.

The only growth in next year’s proposed budget is an additional $760,384 anticipated from the Transient Room Tax, which is scheduled to increase from 3 percent to 4.25 percent starting Jan. 1, 2013.

Council members decided Monday to add $55,274 to the Moab Area Travel Council budget and $50,000 to trail maintenance from that TRT revenue. To make up for those additions, they reduced the amount that law enforcement will receive by $905,332.

The overall Travel Council budget will be more than $1.7 million for 2013, if the proposed budget passes a final vote.

“If you don’t spend money to bring people in, then you’re defeating your purpose with the Travel Council,” Ciarus said Monday.

Besides holding the line against a property tax increase next year, the proposed budget does not call for a cost-of-living increase for county employees. Carroll said some workers who had been receiving lower salaries than their counterparts elsewhere in the state will receive a small boost in salary – an action the council previously approved.

The new budget would also not contain funding for a Grand County Sheriff’s Office communications director. The office sought that position, saying a reduction in overtime would pay for the position.

However, the request died for lack of a motion during the Nov. 20 council meeting.

Baird said Monday the county can’t afford to add another position, and he believes reducing overtime wouldn’t cover the cost of a communications director.

One noteworthy item in the proposed budget involves funding for the Grand County Road Department, Carroll said. About $126,000 was taken from the general fund this year to pay for a road grader, and that cost will be made up through a reduced roads budget next year, under the 2013 budget plan.

“They have antiquated equipment,” Carroll said of the road department.

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