City may be done cutting 2010 budget

The city of Grand Junction may be able to take a breather from budget cuts for the rest of the year if sales tax revenues continue their current trend, according to City Manager Laurie Kadrich.

Sales and use tax revenues collected in January, which reflect December sales, came in 19 percent below budget this year. Collections improved in February and March, when revenues were 13.7 percent and 12.6 percent below budget, respectively. April’s sales and use tax revenues were 15.8 percent below budget.

With January still holding the year’s record for percent under-budget, Kadrich said she’s confident the city won’t need to make cuts for the first six or seven months of this year, and possibly for the rest of 2010.

“We are on track now,” Kadrich said. “I wouldn’t expect further cuts for the rest of the year if revenues continue in the same direction (they’ve been going).”

The city cut $5.5 million from its 2010 budget in March after January’s disappointing sales and use tax collections. The 14 areas cut included eliminating the city’s neighborhood services division, revising the chip-seal program and delaying curb and gutter replacement for at least a year.

The city also has gone through two rounds of workforce-reduction offers that gave employees incentives to retire early. Since January 2009, 29 employees have taken the offer, according to the city.

Another 21 posts were left open after people quit or retired, and 10 jobs authorized in the 2009 budget were not filled.

A dozen employees were asked to switch jobs. Eleven did so, and one city planner rejected the offer to move and was laid off. That planner’s last day was April 1, according to Kadrich.

She said the planner was not given a severance package.


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