With $1.4M to trim, office likely to drop out of drug task force
BY KEVIN DUGGAN
A tight 2009 budget for Larimer County is likely to translate to the Sheriff's Office pulling out of the Larimer County Drug Task Force.
Other department programs are likely to be cut and some employees may face lay offs, Sheriff Jim Alderden said following a meeting Thursday with the county commissioners on the county's budget problems.
The Sheriff's Office will have to find at least $1.4 million to trim from its budget to deal with revenue decreases and increased costs for salaries and benefits, Alderden said. Cuts are not likely to come from operations.
"It is squeezed down to as tight as it can get," he said. "Whatever cuts are going to come will have to come from personnel, as in layoffs."
The commissioners said all county departments face serious belt-tightening next year because of tight revenue projections.
Some departments have been told to expect no more than a 1 percent increase in funding next year. Some will see no increase while others will see their allocations reduced 1 percent, although they'll still need to deal with increased costs for personnel and energy.
Offices dealing with public safety, which take up 54 percent of the county's roughly $280 million annual budget, have to share in the cuts, said Commissioner Kathay Rennels.
The Sheriff's Office is not being singled out for cuts, she said.
"You're going to see reductions in a lot of services," she said.
Two factors are complicating the county's finances, said budget director Bob Keister.
The county is facing a $2.2 million shortfall next year in a 0.2 percent sales tax that helps fund operations of the county jail and its annual expenses. Other sources of revenue, including property taxes, are expected to be flat.