Council approves 2012 budget |

Council approves 2012 budget

Sarah Moffitt, The Park Record

The Summit County Council approved a $46.5 million budget for 2012 on Monday, slashing revenue projections, cutting three positions but still giving county employees a three-percent merit increase.

Councilmembers slightly decreased the budget compared to County Manager Bob Jasper’s original recommendation. Members said they wanted to be conservative after overestimating expected revenue in the past and overdrawing the General Fund. Almost $1 million of expected revenue was placed in a Surplus Fund where it will not be spent and the Council estimated $30,000 less in Property Tax revenue than was recommended.

"We are expecting more revenue this year than last year, but are being cautious about it and not relying on it too much," Councilmember John Hanrahan said.

2011’s projected revenue was $43 million, $3 million less than what is expected in 2012.

Despite an expected revenue increase, partially due to the rate hike of the Municipal and Service Area 6 taxes, and the merit increase, Councilmembers were cautious about giving any one department too much money.

The Sheriff’s department requested $6.7 million for 2012, saying they had to be able to increase deputies’ overtime pay and patrols to keep up with the demand. The council decided to give the Sheriff only $6.4 million. Jasper said that is still $400,000 more than last year and, like all the other departments, they are expected to make sacrifices in the tough economic times.

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The Council also reduced the county’s subsidy of the Park City Fire District’s ambulance services to $131,000, $500,000 less than in 2011.

Of the three positions that were eliminated, two were from the Animal Control department and one was from the Community Development department. The historian position, which was scheduled to be reduced to halftime, was restored to full-time after the Council discovered they could use revenue from the Transient Room Tax to pay for a portion of that salary.

Summit County Auditor Blake Frazier anticipated that the final tally of the County’s actual revenue for 2011 will be $3 million more than expected and that the County will spend close to $2 million more than they budgeted for.

That is why the Council is increasing the amount set aside in the Surplus Fund and not increasing any department’s budget significantly, according to Hanrahan.

"We based a lot of our decisions on the 2010 actual revenue/expenses and the 2011 estimated ones to make an informed decision and not overspend," Hanrahan said.

The departments’ new budgets, merit increases and the two tax rate increases will take effect in January of 2012.