Vail Valley Voices: Voluntary panel to help Sheriff’s Office save money
July 6, 2010
On Monday, June 28, the county’s finance department had an advisory board of community experts report on the long term economic outlook for Eagle County.
These local experts affirmed that the county is now anticipating at 30 percent drop in revenue instead of the original 20 percent forecast about a year ago.
What that means is that we will have to look very hard on doing more trimming and cost savings, as all county departments will need to scale back to live within a smaller budget.
Sensing that this would be a tough budget season, I considered the option of hiring an outside consultant to help us with planning the 2010 budget. We received an estimate of $30,000 for assisting on this project.
In consultations with the county and with some of our business people who live in Eagle County, I had several meetings to get a similar financial advisory committee formed. The good news here is that our financial advisory committee will be made up of successful business executives who are all Eagle County residents and will volunteer their services at no cost.
I am grateful that the members of this committee are willing to commit their time to bring their extraordinary talents to the table.
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In our first planning meeting last week, we outlined the process that our command staff, together with the advisory team will take. The advisory committee understands that there are many unique aspects to law enforcement and that some decisions that might make sense in terms of money may not be in the best interest of how we need to serve our citizens.
On the other hand, I welcome and encourage a fresh set of eyes that will be asking us hard questions on how we use our resources.
Everything — and I mean everything — in our budget is going to be open for full review. This will not be a “rubber stamp” process. I anticipate a time-consuming and in-depth effort that will take us about two months to complete.
As our budgeting process develops, I and the command team will not only be looking for the natural wisdom within our organization, but also make sure we frequently update you on our progress.
This approach we’re taking, while not unique in the private sector, is rather rare for public agencies. I am optimistic that in learning more from what makes businesses more successful will help us manage our resources more wisely while continuing to live up to our high commitment to serve the public
Joe Hoy is the Eagle County sheriff.