Eagle County spending going up | VailDaily.com

Eagle County spending going up

Melanie Wong
Vail CO, Colorado

What they changed: More than $1.4 million in additions and re-allocations were made to the 2007 budget. Only about $73,000 of that was additional spending; the rest of the money were approvals and re-distribution of already budgeted money.

The Golden Eagle senior apartments received $26,000. The Golden Eagle had depleted their reserves after the cost of removing mold from some of the apartments, said County Communications Director Justin Finestone.

Another $25,000 went toward recruiting county employees. The county has had a harder time finding employees and has had to advertise more in the Denver area and in Denver newspapers, Finestone said.

A microwave tower used to broadcast signals used by the airport and law enforcement has been costing the county lately. Earlier this year the tower was struck by lightning and equipment had to be repaired. Other equipment has since needed replacing, costing $20,000.

There were also costs for a lawsuit with Denver over water rights that kept more water on the Western Slope, and money for an environmental study done on the Colorado River, said Finance Director John Lewis.

A bulk of the re-allocations came from approving almost $800,000 as part of the $2.1 million the commissioners granted for purchase of the Gates Ranch for open space.

Who they talked to: County Housing Director Alex Potente

What they talked about: The county is in the process of changing their housing guidelines to encourage the building of more affordable homes. The county planning commission will review the proposed guidelines Dec. 19, and the housing department is in the process of talking to local developers and builders, Potente said.

What’s next? The public has two opportunities to sit in on the Board of Dounty Dommissioners’ discussions and weigh in on the subject. The commissioners will have a work session and public input meeting on Dec. 18, and another public hearing on Jan. 15.

What they talked about: The county is finishing designs for the $20 million expansion project to the jail and Sheriff’s Office. Included in the plans are room for 36 new inmate beds, and an overhead walkway connecting some of the buildings.

This is the first phase of the expansions, said County Manager Bruce Baumgartner.

More expansions will probably have to be made in the future, he said.

However, they will be smaller projects, and this will help alleviate crowding problems the jail is facing now, he said.

Concerns: Some judges and Sheriff’s officials think the additional jail space will not be enough. Also, there will be more prisoners, but no additional jail staff or expansion of cooking and laundry facilities. That could create problems and cost for jail staff, Baumgartner said.

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