Riverfront gets nothing 
in budget

Mesa County commissioners will not fund half of a Riverfront Commission job in 2014 but will provide an extra $30,000 for the County Attorney’s Office.

Commissioners made the decisions at a budget meeting Tuesday afternoon. Commissioners will have one more budget meeting before adoption Dec. 9 but Tuesday’s meeting was the last time commissioners have scheduled to work on the content of the budget. A Dec. 6 meeting is scheduled to discuss the Dec. 9 budget presentation.

Commissioners Steve Acquafresca and John Justman agreed to fund a request from County Attorney Lyle Dechant to restore his budget to 2013 levels by adding $30,000 to the attorney office’s budget. Acquafresca said the office’s workload justifies the amount, while Justman said he’s “not going to quibble over $30,000.”

“But I don’t want any sad stories down the road, I want results,” Justman added.

Commissioner Rose Pugliese was not in favor of the budget adjustment, saying she believed the cut would push Dechant to find more efficiencies in his department.

Pugliese also was not in favor of providing $17,000 to fund half of a part-time job for the Riverfront Commission. Justman agreed, saying the commission may be able to find the money elsewhere.

Acquafresca was in favor of restoring the money for the commission.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners reviewed some last-minute budget alterations, including the introduction of two grants and an increase of $10,584 for the Orchard Mesa Community Center Pool due to estimates for the county’s share of pool funding coming in higher than expected.

The county also plans to pay out more than $900,000 for performance-based pay raises similar to those awarded last year.


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For the record, the county has not been paying 1/2 of the Riverfront Commission’s operational budget, which includes one part time staffer. Although Grand Junction and Mesa County have contributed the lion’s share, the cities of Fruita and Palisade have also allocated funds for this budget.

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