City officials look at 10% cut in budget

Grand Junction city officials are proposing a 10 percent cut in spending in 2009, as money managers attempt to strike a balance between providing service for a growing community and accounting for a slight slowdown in sales-tax revenue growth.

“We want to produce a budget that shows we’re using money soundly and prudently,” City Manager Laurie Kadrich told City Council members during a budget workshop last week.

The $149.7 million spending plan is down from this year’s revised budget of $166.3 million, largely because of the completion of Riverside Parkway, the near completion of the Independent Ranchman’s Ditch flood-control project and the acquisition of several pieces of land for a future downtown public safety complex.

Capital spending is expected to decline from $58.9 million this year to $37.5 million next year. The most significant projects include $7.7 million to help build the 29 Road viaduct over the Interstate 70 Business Loop, $3.9 million to finish the Ranchman’s Ditch project and $2.5 million to build an emergency response training facility in Pear Park.

While the city projects to scale back capital spending next year, it will bump up operational spending 4.5 percent from $107.3 million to $112.3 million. Much of that increase is because of the high costs of petroleum and petroleum-based products, city officials said.

Other highlights of the 2009 budget include:

•  Hiring 22 more full-time employees. Even with the additional staff, Kadrich noted that the number of city staff per 1,000 city residents has declined over the past 20 years, from 13.66 in 1988 to a projected 12.44 in 2009.

•  A projected 9 percent hike in sales tax revenue over this year.

•   A projected 3.1 percent increase in total city revenue.

The City Council is expected to adopt the 2009 budget next month.


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