Mesa County cuts, shuffles jobs, sells property to Fruita

Mesa County plans to save a quarter million dollars by eliminating four positions through attrition and has re-assigned four additional employees to other departments to save an additional $31,000.

County commissioners agreed at a public hearing Monday morning to clip the positions of full-time assistant county administrator, budget technician, recruitment analyst and equipment operator from the county budget. The annual salaries for those positions totaled $240,971, with the largest salary going to the assistant county administrator — $114,727. That position has been open since Stefani Conley left county administration three years ago.

A job of half-time horticultural education specialist, paying $45,437 per year, has been reassigned to the assessor’s office. The position will pay $30,000 per year instead. Three full-time employees — senior planner, facilities maintenance technician, and office administrator for the Regional Transportation Planning Office — have been reassigned to the Health Department. The three new jobs pay $120,000 split among the trio of reassigned employees, a drop of $15,529 in their combined salaries.

The changes reduce the number of county employees from the equivalent of 983.582 full-time workers to 979.582. The county’s employee count peaked in 2009 at 1,029.13.

County Commission Chairman John Justman said the adjustments, in addition to the removal of three director positions this spring, have been made “based on the reality of our income.” County revenue projections dropped 2.5 percent in 2014 compared with 2013, largely because of lower property tax collections as property values receded.

“It’s not an easy decision to make but it has to be done,” Justman said.

Commissioners on Monday also approved the sale of the property that contains the Mesa County Road and Bridge shop at 916 Kiefer Ave. in Fruita to the city of Fruita for $290,000. The sale is expected to become final July 17.

The city plans to use the land to expand its public works shop, which is next door at 900 Kiefer Ave. Fruita City Manager Clint Kinney told commissioners the city plans to start a $2 million construction project on its new land this summer. The county will lease the shop building itself from the city for $100 a year for up to five years while the county searches for a larger venue.

Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners approved a grant application for $300,000 to The Daniels Fund. The grant, if awarded, would help the county complete a $1.9 million BMX venue at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.


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