Routt County general fund revenues*
2009 vs. 2008, year-to-date
2009, 2008, Percent decrease
$5,377,457, $7,086,182, -24.1 percent
2009 budget vs. projection
Budget, Projected, Percent decrease
$12,235,285, $9,920,430, -18.9 percent
*Figures do not include property tax revenues because those revenues don't fluctuate
Source: Routt County
In preparation for a 2010 financial situation that doesn't look much rosier than this year's, the Routt County Board of Commissioners is taking an in-depth look at county programs.
In a meeting Tuesday, the commissioners reviewed an analysis of county departments' programs and how much money and personnel time is devoted to each. The exercise is intended to help the county develop its budget for next year.
"It's an interesting template to start a discussion," Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said.
Routt County is facing a $5 million deficit in its 2009 budget. There already have been cuts in personnel, operating and capital costs - including a 10 percent reduction in pay countywide - but the projected deficit still stands at more than $1 million. County Manager Tom Sullivan said the moves made to cut spending by $4 million this year are not sustainable, which is why the commissioners are taking a comprehensive look at county programs.
"What we're really focused on is how we're going to address the same situation with no recovery in 2010," Commissioner Doug Monger said.
The commissioners began their review Tuesday with an evaluation of the Road and Bridge Department's snowplowing program. The commissioners discussed reducing the number of road miles the county plows, eliminating snowplow operator positions or changing some of the department's full-time equipment operator positions to seasonal positions.
The commissioners took no formal action on their 2010 budget, but they gave their staff direction on its development. Earlier this year, all three commissioners said they are willing to use some of the county's cash reserves to balance next year's budget. That will give the county latitude to possibly reduce its 10 percent across-the-board pay cut and limit the number of additional layoffs.
To balance next year's budget without the use of cash reserves, the county would have to leave the 10 percent pay reduction in place and eliminate about a dozen more positions.
The one projected bright spot in the 2010 budget, Sullivan said, is an expected $500,000 increase in property tax collections because of increases in the county's assessed valuation.
"Next year looks better," Sullivan said. "We'll see where it goes."
Commissioners cut position
Also Tuesday, the commissioners approved the elimination of a permit technician position in the Routt County Regional Building Department. The move is expected to save $12,500 this year and is the result of a substantial decrease in construction activity this year.
The layoff brings the Building Department's total personnel cuts this year to 4 1/2 positions. Earlier this year, three other county employees were laid off in other departments. Layoffs in the Routt County Regional Building Department are being handled separately because it is a fee-supported department.
"We must be aware that we are tied to the hills and valleys of the construction industry," Building Official Carl Dunham wrote in a staff report.