County trims $1.6M from budget

May 23, 2012 • Local News

The County Commission reviewed a proposed budget free of layoffs, cuts in services, employee benefits and pay, that maintains a high quality of operations within departments, keeps county roads maintained and prepares for [auth] the expansion of the Chaves County Detention Center.

During their budget workshop Tuesday morning, commissioners examined a general operating budget consisting of more than $23 million in projected spending for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The final budget approval will come May 30 at the commission’s regular business meeting.

“We looked at many areas and we were able to slice $1,084,027 out of the budget, with the capital outlay the total cuts came to $1,686,103, which is pretty extraordinary,” Joe Sedillo, county finance director, said.

The leaders of the two departments which account for the largest budget items spoke during the workshop. Roads Operations Director Terry Allensworth and CCDC Administrator Sandra Stewart elaborated on their respective budget needs. The Roads Department is projected to spend $5,568,86 in the next fiscal year. Fifty-eight miles of chip sealed road must be maintained this fiscal year at a cost of $18,800, an increase from what the county originally projected.

The CCDC is projected to spend $4,595,819. The county will be using money from its reserves to finance the design, construction and renovation of the detention center. While the commissioners toyed with the idea of increasing the county’s gross receipts tax, they ultimately chose to look internally at their budget to finance the renovations.

Stewart has asked for a sizeable budget request in the form of six additional personnel. Two individuals were provided to the CCDC through the mid-year budget adjustment. Stewart is asking that they be renewed. The overall projected budget provides for two additional officers, rendering the total personnel number at the CCDC to 41. Stewart hopes the increase in personnel will help combat safety issues during the renovations and alleviate excess overtime costs. Stewart said she anticipates locking down the detention center during Phase II of the renovations. Phase II will encompass mostly internal renovations to the CCDC. This is the time when additional personnel would be of most use.

Most county departments will experience an extremely flat budget this upcoming fiscal year, similar to the past. The clerk’s department will see a reduction in its budget.

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