During its regular business meeting Thursday, the Chaves County Board of Commissioners reviewed an interim budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, while planning ahead for upcoming financial changes the county will face.
County Manager Stan Riggs said the county needs to take preventative measures against challenges that will soon present themselves due to issues such as the phasing out of the hold-harmless agreement and increasing health insurance and PERA costs.
“I don’t know what the future’s going to hold,” he told the board. “I just know if you don’t plan for it now, it’s going to be really ugly in three to four years.”
Much work has been done to trim the budget, he said, but the county needs to find ways to carry out its business more efficiently and “make sure everything we spend out there has a mission and a purpose.”
Due to factors, such as a potential reduction in PILT allotments, Commission Chairman Greg Nibert said the board has asked Riggs to review each department and identify areas that can be made to be more efficient. He said there are “no sacred cows” and each department will be weighed the same.
“It’s not pleasant,” he said. “But probably in the long run, it will put us in a better position than our sister counties.”
He appreciates the work department leaders are already doing to keep costs low and said that the county hasn’t had to deal with the same problems others have.
For example, he said Charlotte Andrade, community development director and DWI coordinator for Chaves County, brings a lot of money to the county through grants for positions and projects.
“In everything we do, we try to emphasis cost savings,” Andrade said.
The board will meet next week to approve the interim budget, which may see more changes. The county doesn’t close its books until July.
In other business, the board approved applications for liquor license transfers, one for Way Out West and another for the city’s new Allsup’s store. The board also voted not to approve both applications submitted by the Buena Vida Improvement Association for road maintenance.