County looks at increased budget in ’09, more revenue

The county’s $177 million proposed budget for 2009, a 4.7 percent increase over this year’s budget, maintains the current number of employees but adds dollars to roads and transportation and to economic development.

“There is a zero net increase in the number of employees proposed,” said Mesa County Administrator Jon Peacock.

Human Services loses a handful of grant-funded employees in the budget, but new positions are being proposed in the assessor’s office, child protection services, the Sheriff’s Department, planning and code enforcement. The budget maintains the equivalent of more than 1, 000 full-time employees.

“Overall the proposed budget leaves us in a very healthy position,” Peacock said.

The Mesa County Commission will now begin the process of reviewing each department’s proposed budget. By mid-December the budget should be finalized.

Some of the highlights of the proposed budget:

•  $2.5 million in TABOR refunds for 2009, to be paid in 2011.

•  7.7 percent revenue increase over this year, primarily because of growth of the energy industry.

•  $38.6 million and 3.5 new full-time employees, for a total of 374.4 employees, for public safety.

•  $34.3 million to maintain and improve county roads and bridges.

•  $17.3 million for Human Services programs intended to protect the elderly and children.

The proposed budget also keeps the county on track to be debt-free by 2011, Peacock said.

Also by 2011 the jail lease ($1.8 million yearly) and the sales tax bonds ($3.1 million each year) should be paid off, he said.


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