County money shifts pockets
December 7, 2012
The Summit County Council took a fine-tooth comb to the Municipal Fund budget on Wednesday in an effort to cut $1.4 million in expenses.
shifting Municipal Fund budget expenditures over to the General Fund, the County Council was able to potentially reduce the Municipal Fund budget by $1.1 million.
Council Chair Dave Ure additionally recommended they ask Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds to cut $328,000 from his budget without the county specifying where the cuts need to be made.
"He has a creative imagination," Ure said. "Let him work within that, but that’s the bottom line we have to have."
Councilmember Claudia McMullin argued that it didn’t need to be the bottom line.
"We can do other cuts," she said. "It doesn’t have to be $328,000. It can be $200,000, and we can come up with $128,000 elsewhere. Those are just wholesale wallops and we haven’t gone through the other things we can cut."
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McMullin also suggested they make cuts to the County Council’s and manager’s contingency funds.
"We don’t have to just wallop one particular area to come up with the $1.4 million," McMullin said. "If we go through other items and come up with $350,000 or $400,000 more, maybe we could revisit one of the road projects. Maybe we can cut the Sheriff just $200,000."
The County Council looked at other areas in the Municipal Fund budget that could be adjusted, starting with line items that are funded from both the Municipal Fund and the General Fund.
The budgets of several county departments are split between the two funds, including the council, administration, clerk, special events, public works administration and engineering.
The council discussed increasing the proportion of department expenditures that come out of the general fund by $377,758.
They also decided to share the costs of four road projects currently 100 percent funded by the Municipal Fund with the General Fund: the Walmart intersection, Rob Young Lane, Basin overlays and the Brown’s Canyon retaining wall. This shifted an additional $242,500 in expenses to the General Fund.
To offset the increased burden on the General Fund, $105,000 from youth recreation programs was moved out of the General Fund and into the recreation portion of the RAP tax.
Additionally, the County Council decided to reduce the contribution to the General Fund surplus by $471,000.
"If we’re transferring money from the Municipal Fund to the General Fund, I want to see us reduce expenses in the General Fund, so we’re not taking this money out and not having any money come back into the General Fund," Councilmember John Hanrahan said.
County Manager Bob Jasper added that the county has worked hard to bring the General Fund out of a deficit.
The proposed cuts discussed Wednesday did not include the elimination of any county jobs.
"I suggest that we not cut the planner position," Hanrahan said.
McMullin agreed and added that she didn’t want to cut the road crew either.
Budget discussions are ongoing and the County Council is still looking at two other options to balance the Municipal Fund balance, including Jasper’s original budget recommendation, which included the reassessment of the Municipal Fund and Service Area #6 tax rates, as well as a budget that includes cuts to public safety, planning and road positions.
"With any of these options, we are balanced," County Auditor Blake Frazier said.
The County Council plans to meet again Monday before the public hearing on Dec. 12 and the Truth in Taxation hearing on Dec. 19.
Budget work session: Monday Dec. 10 at 8 a.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building, 1885 West Ute Boulevard.
Budget public hearing: Wednesday Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building.
Truth in Taxation hearing: Wednesday Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Coalville Courthouse, 60 North Main Street.