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BOCC focuses on budget

Staff Report

WALSENBURG—The Huerfano County Board of County Commissioners began looking at the 2011 budget and scheduled a Nov. 24 hearing on the new budget in the county commission meeting room.

    One of the highlights in the proposed budget is a decrease in capital improvement projects that will see the county not taking on any new projects in 2011 until the ones already in the works have been completed. 

    Costs for covering county employee health insurance will increase eight percent next year with total payments for premiums reaching $1.16 million in 2011, up $116,000 over 2010 costs.

    And county commissioners are looking at pay raises of $536 dollars plus two percent for  employees and staff.  “County employees have been patient and they have held the line on expenditures over the past two years, helping to maintain the budget.  They deserve a raise,”  Art Bobian, county commission chair said.

    However the county is bracing for a possible 10 percent reduction in property valuations over the next two years, or a possible loss of $2 million in revenue.  This would force them to operate on reserves and possibly look at layoffs.  

    “We have to continue to conserve our resources and in terms of budgetary maintenance hold the line.  And then I don’t think we will have to worry about layoffs,”  Bobian said.

    However if the state finds its revenues cut because of a passage of the tax-cutting measures now on the ballot, “…then the state will have to back fill and the counties will take the hit,”  according to John Galusha, county administrator.

    A hearing concerning the Cuchara Recreation District ballot measure is scheduled for Mon. Oct. 25 at 3 pm in the County Courthouse.

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