As usual, too many requests, not enough money |

As usual, too many requests, not enough money

Tamara Miller

Sheriff Joe Hoy says he is trying to prepare for the future.He has requested funding for 15 new positions in his office, including 10 more deputies that he can use to patrol the county. While his department’s budget increased by about 11 percent from 2003 to 2004 according to county budget records, Hoy said he has been short-staffed for some time now.”We may have sometimes only two deputies out at night,” Hoy said. “That is not safe for the community.”Security aside, Hoy’s request is one of several county officials will be considering in the coming months. All told, county departments and elected officials have requested $2 million worth of new staff positions and about $16 million in “legitimate” improvement projects for 2005. But that’s significantly more than Eagle County can afford, said Jack Ingstad, county administrator. There actually were $60 million in capital improvement requests made to the county, but Ingstad said only $16 million of those requests will be considered. The county’s health insurance costs are expected to grow by $1.5 million and that’s mainly due to a significant increase in insurance claims.”We had 26,000 claims under our chiropractor,” Ingstad said. “That is very, very high.”The county expects to have $3 million to spend on improvement projects. The requested projects range from upgrades to Cooley Mesa Road by the Eagle County Regional Airport to expansions at the Golden Eagle Senior Center in Eagle.The good news is that sales tax revenues have increased by 10.4 percent so far in 2004 and traffic at the county’s airport is up, Ingstad. However, property tax collections have stayed stagnant.The county’s total budget is $96 million.Several committees will sort through the requests and will recommend the positions and projects that are most critical. “We want to start getting public input on all of these requests,” Ingstad said. Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached via e-mail at or by calling 949-0555, ext. 607. The numbers:• 21: Number of new staff positions requested• $16 million: New projects that will be considered• $3.3 million: Money available for new projects• $96 million: Total county budget• $30.3 million: Amount in the general fund used to pay for the county’s expenses that are paid for through another revenue streams, such as transportation taxes.• $1.5 million: Expected increase in insurance costs• 26,000: Number of chiropractic claims processed• $1.28 million: General fund reserves

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