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Time ticking to adopt big budget

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

As growth drives the costs for government up nearly across the board in Summit County, officials are scrambling to approve budgets before the year ends.

Balancing the county’s 2007 budget without raising taxes could mean the Summit County Commission will be forced to pare requests from department heads of nearly $50 million to less than $46 million.

"We’ve added things like the library," Frazier said about the increases, adding that operating libraries in Snyderville, Kamas and Coalville costs more than $1 million per year. "The transit district is another one that’s gone from zero, six years ago, to $1.7 million."

Helping to drive the nearly 19 percent budget increase are road improvements and the construction of new streets to help relieve traffic gridlock near Kimball Junction.

The budget commissioners will be asked to approve today earmarks $2.1 million for the purchase of land for roads and building projects, Summit County Auditor Blake Frazier, the county’s chief financial officer, said.

Realigning Landmark Drive next year near its intersection with State Road 224 could cost $1 million, with another $731,000 budgeted in 2007 for installing landscaping and trails near the highway in western Summit County.

Meanwhile, commissioners could spend $500,000 next year expanding the Summit County Justice Center in Silver Creek, Frazier said.

"All of that is growth related," he said, adding that the county’s budget in 1986 was less than $7 million. "More people, more services."

Though 10 percent more in property taxes is being collected by Summit County, he insists that money funds only services for new growth.

More than $7.5 million in sales tax the county expects to collect next year represents an increase of 9 percent, Frazier added.

Increases expected in individual department budgets include:

The budget for the Summit County Attorney’s Office could increase 18 percent in 2007 having jumped more than 60 percent in four years.

The budget for the Summit County Commission could increase nearly 6 percent after jumping 28 percent in four years.

The budget for the Summit County Auditor’s Office could increase 11 percent after a 34 percent increase in four years.

The budget for the Summit County Clerk’s Office could decrease 9 percent after increasing 12 percent in four years.

The budget for the Summit County Treasurer’s Office is expected to jump 8 percent in 2007 after increasing 27 percent in four years.

The budget for the Summit County Recorder’s Office could increase 5 percent after seeing a 4-year spike of 23 percent.

The Summit County Assessor’s Office expects an increase in 2007 of 7 percent after a roughly 31 percent jump in the past four years.

The budget for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office could jump 20 percent in 2007 after experiencing a 4-year increase of 34 percent. The budget for the Summit County Jail could jump 18 percent and Summit County’s search-and-rescue team expects a budget increase of 10 percent. A

15 percent increase is projected for Summit County Animal Control.

A public hearing the County Commission must conduct before next year’s proposed $46 million budget is approved is slated for Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. at the County Courthouse, 60 N. Main, in Coalville.

Sewer fees to increase $28

The cost to flush will increase 8 percent in 2007 after a fee hike was approved Monday for the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District.

Handling increasing operation and maintenance costs means sewer service will cost the average residential customer in western Summit County $28 more in 2007, said Mike Luers, the water reclamation district’s general manager, adding that the average monthly bill will increase $2.33.

"With the increases in construction material, increases in labor costs and increases in fuel and oil, we have to cover our costs," Luers said. "We don’t want to become financially unstable."

Smaller rate increases will likely begin in 2008 when the district’s monthly residential rates jump another $1.50.

Meanwhile, the district’s impact fee next year on new residential connections will increase almost 11 percent from $5,427 to $6,003.

Updating wastewater treatment plants at Silver Creek and Jeremy Ranch to meet the demands of growth means spending $45 million, Luers said.

Impact fees will provide almost 84 percent of the $130 million the district intends to spend operating the system through 2030, he added.


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