Mesa County budget projected to grow at slow pace next year

Mesa County’s 2009 budget will be $177 million, an increase of 4.8 percent over this year’s adopted budget, but 2.8 percent lower than the county’s actual spending for 2008.

Mesa County Administrator Jon Peacock presented the budget to the three county commissioners, who unanimously approved it.

The economic slowdown has not hit Mesa County as hard as the rest of the state or the majority of the country, but it is definitely finding inroads, slowing such things as the growth of tax revenues and the number of residential building permits issued, Peacock said.

The good news, Peacock said, is, “We’re still on the positive side of growth.”

From 2004 to 2007, the county saw double-digit growth in sales taxes. In 2008 sales tax revenue fell to just over 2 percent, and for 2009, Peacock estimated, it should remain flat.

“It’s concerning when you see your sales tax revenues drop like a rock,” Commissioner Craig Meis said.

The specific ownership tax, which primarily is derived from car sales, is in reverse. The county estimates it will decrease by 10 percent in 2009. Overall, though, county budget drafters anticipate revenues will grow 2.5 percent from the 2008 adopted budget.

The number of full-time-equivalent employees working for the county will remain at 1,028.6.

Some departments, such as the Health Department, lost employees, while others, such as the Sheriff’s Department, gained employees.

The Health Department had 7.75 employees cut, “because of grants that have gone away,” Peacock said.

The Sheriff’s Department gained two deputies for traffic enforcement and three work-
release guards.

Other employee additions included: one for the Assessor’s Office, 2.25 for Criminal Justice Services, one for Engineering, one for Human Services, 0.5 for Planning and Development and one for Solid Waste Management.

Peacock stressed the county did not add employees.

“We have moved positions around to prioritize needs,” he said.


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