More layoffs are likely at the county | ParkRecord.com

More layoffs are likely at the county

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

The Summit County Council is beginning to examine a $46.1 million operating budget proposed by Summit County Manager Bob Jasper.

The 2011 budget recommendation presented Nov. 3 includes a proposal to eliminate about 8 positions from the county payroll. In 2009, roughly four county employees lost their jobs due to budget cuts.

"These were hard, tough decisions on all of us," Jasper said. "Most likely layoffs will occur."

About five of the positions slated to be cut are currently filled. The majority of the job losses would likely happen before the end of January 2011.

Jasper detailed some of the possible cuts during last week’s discussion at the County Courthouse in Coalville. He recommended eliminating three positions from the Summit County Recorder’s Office.

Jasper said he doesn’t expect the cuts to impact services because the county has invested in new technology in the Recorder’s Office.

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"We now believe services are better and we can maintain them with three less positions," Jasper said.

The County Attorney’s Office would lose a victim advocate and the Assessor’s Office would lose an appraiser under Jasper’s recommendation.

Due to the reduction in planning and building activity caused by the economic downturn, Jasper recommended eliminating one building inspector position. Two building inspector positions were eliminated last year.

Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds requested funding for four new patrol deputies in 2011. Jasper did not recommend funding for these new positions in his proposed budget.

Jasper and Summit County Auditor Blake Frazier instead recommended eliminating two captain positions at the Sheriff’s Office.

"I am also recommending creating an Administrative Services Department to include personnel, animal control and emergency management," Jasper stated in his budget report.

The sheriff currently oversees animal control in Summit County.

"This change will transfer functions which are now housed in the Sheriff’s Office," according to Jasper.

Budget officials have also recommended holding the overall public safety budget relatively stable with a less than one percent increase from the budget approved in 2010.

The proposed spending plan for Summit County Public Works includes a 1 percent decrease from this year’s budget.

Library officials considered increasing their budget so the Snyderville Basin branch could open on Sundays. But budget officials recommended not extending the service hours due to the additional costs.

Meanwhile, County Courthouse employees will not receive pay raises under next year’s budget recommendation. There will be no cost-of-living adjustments or merit increases in 2011, according to Jasper.

Raises are also not recommended for employees in the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District or the county’s Mountain Regional Water Special Service District.

"In the private sector and in many other governments there are not a lot of raises being considered or given and we feel we can stay competitive with the workforce and still not give raises this year," Jasper said.

He outlined a budget for 2011 that is roughly $1 million less than the $47.1 million operating budget approved in 2010, which is a roughly 2.2 percent decrease.

Revenues have decreased sharply in Summit County since the start of the recession, according to Jasper.

But property values have taken a hit and Jasper said revenue from taxes could continue to decline.

Jasper said only a handful of property owners would see their taxes increase if the Summit County Council approves the budget proposal. But a tax increase is recommended for those living in the county’s wildland fire district, which includes communities like Tollgate and Brown’s Canyon.

The first of several budget workshops is scheduled to kick off in Coalville Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. Another detailed budget discussion is slated Dec. 8.

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