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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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4/27/2013 2:57:00 PM
County budget $5.4M short; "still some fat in line items'
By Scott Orr
Contributing Reporter/Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - After four days of vetting department budgets, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors have ended the process over $5.4 million short of a balanced budget for fiscal year 2013-14.

That's no surprise.

The county was already $4.3 million behind when they started the meetings. Department heads came to them with budgets at or slightly above the current fiscal year's numbers, but nearly all had some "program changes," or additional expenses they wanted the board to consider.

Monday morning, that number added up to nearly $4 million above the original $4.3 million deficit.

By Thursday, the board had heard all the departments' re-quests, and, in the afternoon worked swiftly through them, voting in favor of keeping or eliminating the dozens of program changes. Some - about $415,000 worth - was assigned to be paid through the county's "capital reserve" money, a fund made up of one-time contributions that Supervisor Tom Thurman likens to a "rainy day fund."

That still left $1.17 million to stack onto the original $4.3 million shortfall.

There was a long silence when Thurman asked, "How are we going to make up that five-and-a-half million?"

No one had an immediate answer.

After the meeting Supervisor Rowle Simmons said, "I'm not going to speculate right now" on how the problem could be solved. "We're going to have to take a look at every option that can be done. That's our next task.

"I really don't know," he added. "There could possibly be more cuts."

Chairman Chip Davis said the decision would be based at least in part on "what the state legislature decides to do to us," noting that it could make decisions that could cut, or less likely, add, revenue to the county's coffers. Davis said that the capital reserve fund, which the board used the last time they had a budget shortfall had already absorbed what it, by law, it could this time around.

He refused to rule out a tax increase, saying it was "too early" to make that decision.

But Davis told the board that among his "early lessons" as a supervisor was that it was wrong to "drink the Kool-aid" and that they should "stand up for the citizens" who elected them to office.

Supervisor Craig Brown said, "There is some fat still in those line-items. I know there is. You can tell by how much they haven't spent up to the third quarter."

"Did they do the sharpening of the pencils?" asked Supervisor Jack Smith.

The board will continue to hash out budget issues at future meetings. It will be completed by June.




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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013
Article comment by: Does Mr. Henry know the cost for hand counts? .

Aside from any other issue... the machines we have are paid for?

so scrap those and then increase the number of work hours?

And thanks to the rep. majority legislature they are forcing cities and towns to not have their own elections and forcing them onto the partisan even year presidential/midterm ballots... ask the county if they are ready to tally a presidential election with no machines?

Does Mr. Henry have a calculator they could borrow because it's not adding up.

?


Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Henry

This a chance for the county to get two birds
with one stone.

To cut un-realistic-cost the county needs to get
rid of the voting machines. The present vote
counting machine process is unconstitutional...
in that there is no verified proof of a true count
of each and every vote/election.

The two birds in this case is:

1. Part of the citizen"s voting rights is restored.

2. Election cost savings can be had.

Thanks and Good Luck,
Frank Henry
Tel: 928-649-0249
e-mail: fmhenry4@netzero.com




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