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Commissioners will discuss budget

Lorna McDaniel

County commissioners and the East Fork Fire and Paramedic districts will meet at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Minden Administration Building to review a portion of the tentative budgets.

According to County Manager Dan Holler, the commission will be informed of the extent of the budget deficit, and discuss ways to fund projects with reduced revenue.

He said the commission will have to either fund from reserves or delay some projects.

According to Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen, the commission will give staff broad policy direction on reduction of services.

Items set for discussion are the county motor pool vehicle maintenance, purchasing of vehicles and the five-year capital improvement plan.

“We are going to look at the purchasing of vehicles because it is very expensive,” Etchegoyhen said.

The the county construction and ad valorem capital improvement funds might be considered to fund high priority room tax-funded projects, Holler said.

These projects would include those from Parks and Recreation like Dangburg Ranch, Topaz Park improvements and Topaz bike path.

Parks and Recreation was identified as one area to cut from room tax expenditures during a budget workshop Feb. 20.

Some of the projects under the five-year capital improvement program and the ad valorem capital projects fund to be discussed are:

n A county administrative complex for additional office space and consolidation of offices. The estimated cost is $5 million.

The commission will discuss ways to fund the complex with a general obligation bond one option.

Holler said a general obligation bond would have to be approved by the voters if a bond was approved for over 10 years or property taxes are increased.

n The Parks and Recreation Department is supporting the idea of a self-supporting community center with an initial cost of $4 million.

n Retrofitting county facilities for energy conservation. Estimated cost $500,000.

n The removal of underground fuel tanks to meet the 1998 Environmental Protection Agency’s requirement. The estimated cost for the project that started in the fiscal year 1996-97 is $75,000.

n Minden library expansion. If the project is approved, a $500,000 federal grant is a possible.

n A roof over the dog kennels at Douglas County Animal Control to prevent snow shoveling. The estimated cost is $25,000.

Hearings to review the entire tentative budget are set for 4 p.m., March 25 and 26, and 6 p.m. March 27 if needed, said Holler. All meeting will be at the Minden Administration Building.