Government officials provided a Budgeting 101 lesson Wednesday night, and what they had to say wasn't pretty.
"The long-term is kind of bleak," City Councilman Steve Ivancie said of the city's economic forecast. "I would like to be more optimistic, but realistically, it's kind of hard to be when we have to start cutting."
Ivancie and County Commis-sioner Doug Monger, who described the county's fiscal condition, spoke to residents during a forum sponsored by the Routt County Democratic Party.
Both said they hope the summer will bring in dollars to help turn things around. "We're going to see how the summer goes," Ivancie said.
Local governments, however, can't afford to take a wait-and-see approach to the money crunch. Routt County already is tightening its belt with an unofficial hiring freeze.
"We think we can maintain our level of services based on the revenue projections," Monger said.
The city has gone a little further.
"We have basically told everyone in the city, "If you don't really need it, don't buy it," Ivancie said. "We're cutting wherever we can."
Bob Litzau, the city's assistant finance director, provided some numbers.
The city primarily relies on sales-tax revenue for funding. The year-to-date sales-tax total is down 3.87 percent from last year. The city projected a 3 percent increase in sales tax this year.
"We're off our mark now by a little less than 7 percent," Litzau said.
Monger and Ivancie, who stressed he was not speaking on behalf of the City Council, suggested the city and county may have to get creative when looking for ways to raise revenue in the future.
Wednesday's forum marked the first of several discussions designed to increase local participation and interest in party politics.
The Routt County Democratic Party is sponsoring the nonpartisan meetings, which are intended to educate residents about local issues.
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