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No county employees show up to speak at hearing on '08 budget

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By AJ Vicens

No county employees and only two county residents spoke at a public hearing Tuesday on Jeffco’s proposed $385 million 2008 budget, even though county employees will bear the brunt of the cuts that made the ’08 budget come in nearly 3 percent less than 2007’s.

“(The budget) is significantly less than the actual operational budget for 2007,” said Jim Moore, county administrator, during a brief PowerPoint presentation Tuesday.

The operational budget is projected to be cut to $384.8 million, down from $396.1 million, and the capital improvement plan is projected to be reduced by 13.1 percent, from $54.8 million in 2007 to $47.7 million in 2008.

Moore said that a cut of 20 approved full-time staff positions was “significant” in contributing to the nearly $12 million in cuts that the county had to make. Along with eliminating the 20 staff positions, the county also left 17 of the 2,841 full-ime positions unfunded.

“The thought here is, as opposed to the 20 positions that have been eliminated where departments and elected officials decided they can do business differently and found efficient ways of doing business and perhaps reduce some services slightly, these 17 (positions) are being held in hopes that there may be ways of funding them in the future,” Moore said. “But as of right now, everyone who has got these 17 FTEs on the table recognizes that they are not funded for 2008, and there is no real anticipation of funding them in 2008, but just in case we’ll keep them on the books. So total — if you want to be real technical about it — we’ve got 37 positions not being funded.”

The county also cut $2 million from the budget by eliminating the county match to employee 457 plan contributions.

“This is something that we’ve done for the last few years,” Moore said. “When it was introduced a few years back, employees were told that this might be in jeopardy somewhere down the road as the budget gets a bit tighter. And sure enough, the budget’s gotten a bit tighter, and this was one of the things that was recommended by the citizen review panel to the Board of County Commissioners to eliminate to save some dollars, and that has been done.”

The budget process is largely over, with formal adoption by the commissioners expected Dec. 11.

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com.