Summit County FY 2015 budget shows 8 percent increase | ParkRecord.com

Summit County FY 2015 budget shows 8 percent increase

The Summit County Council is proposing an 8 percent increase to the FY 2015 budget, which would help to fund nine additional staff positions. Despite the increase, however, council members are not calling for higher taxes.

Council members, along with Manager Bob Jasper and manager-elect Tom Fisher, spent more than two hours on Wednesday considering the various departments’ requests in anticipation of a Dec. 10 public budget hearing.

After those conversations, the council crafted a recommended budget of $55.7 million, which is 8 percent higher than last year’s budget of $51.5 million.

"I feel pretty good about how things are going this year," Matt Leavitt, a finance officer with the auditor’s office, said. "I think we have been able to present a budget that is reasonable and addresses the county’s needs. It doesn’t get us everything that the department heads want, but it gets us back to restoring certain service levels that we’ve had in the past."

Additional personnel and the anticipation of an extra pay period in 2015 is creating increases across the board to almost every department, including the recorder, the assessor and the attorney’s office, the Sheriff’s Department, and the Animal Control Department. The 27th pay period results in an additional $583,000 to be included in the budget.

The recommended budget includes nine additional full-time positions at the cost of $472,000, including three positions in animal control, a new court security officer, and an assistant plans examiner in building inspections, while other positions would be switched from part-time to full-time.

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The gradual upturn in the economy has increased economic revenue for Summit County throughout the last few years, enabling budgetary increases without raising taxes, Leavitt said.

The projected budget shows a recommended increase of $4.2 million, with about half of that earmarked for capital investment projects.

The Solid Waste department is requesting almost $1 million for a couple of projects, including the expansion of the current landfill and accommodating the county’s green waste initiative.

The County Council is contemplating raising fees to fund the additional landfill cell development.

"I think my biggest concern with the budget is how we handle the expansion of the landfill," Council member Dave Ure said. "But overall, I think it is a good budget. It’s still a moving target right now, but I don’t envision any major changes in the coming weeks."

The 8 percent increase is about 5 percent less than what was proposed for the 2014 budget. Last year, the county’s overall operating budget increased 13 percent, whereas this year it increased 4.7 percent.

"There were a lot of cuts before because of downturn in the economy and related services were impacted," Leavitt said. "Last year, we made some significant strides in getting those services and those positions restored. Now, we are in part two, if you will, of what we started last year, just not to the same extent."

The county has scheduled a public hearing Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m. at the Richins Building, 6505 North Landmark Drive, in Park City. The county will also hold another public hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Summit County Courthouse, 60 North Main Street, in Coalville, for possible adoption and approval of the budget. The county’s budget must be finalized and approved before Dec. 31.