Eagle County cutting staff to save cash | SteamboatToday.com

Eagle County cutting staff to save cash

Commissioners aim to save $500,000 with revenues expected to drop $2 million

Chris Outcalt/The Vail Daily

— Two Eagle County employees have recently lost their jobs, and County Administrator Bruce Baumgartner has proposed five more vacant positions be cut from next year’s budget.

Eagle County laid off the assistant resident manager of the low-income Riverview Apartments and a planner in the community development, Baumgartner said.

Eliminating five additional vacant positions is part of Baumgartner’s budget recommendation to the county commissioners. The board has to approve the cuts.

Baumgartner estimated the move would save the county more than half a million dollars.

He proposed the commissioners cut an emergency coordinator, a fiscal technician, a code enforcement officer, a motor vehicle technician and a planner. The jobs were funded in the 2008 budget and proposed by department heads to be funded again in 2009.

“It’s a very minor staff reduction,” Baumgartner said.

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Baumgartner also proposed three positions between facilities and community development be paid from accounts other than the general fund, saving the fund about another $200,000.

“My overall approach is to recommend flat or reduced spending from the estimated year end 2008 numbers,” Baumgartner said.

In Routt County, commissioners have said they will do their best to avoid layoffs, including not filling positions left open as a result of retirements. Routt County officials plan to spend from reserves to make up for a projected $11 million revenue shortfall in 2009.

Eagle County commissioners have held meetings with each department head and are still working on finalizing the 2009 budget. The board directed each department to draft budgets with no increase in expenditures.

Baumgartner also recommended the board create a supplemental budget line item that it revisit in six months when the county has a better picture of its revenue for the year. The line item would be composed of department requests that don’t get funded in the initial budget, Baumgartner said.

“My recommendation would be the commissioners look at that line item sometime after the ski areas close, well into next year,” he said.

Preliminary figures drafted by County Finance Director John Lewis predict about a 5.2 percent revenue decrease – about $2 million – in 2009.

Lewis’ projections assume a 5 percent decrease in sales tax revenue and accounts for a drop in money from building permits. Lewis will make a formal budget presentation to the board on Dec. 9. The budget has to be completed by Dec. 15.

For the Vail Daily’s version of the story, click here.