In their regular meeting Wednesday, the major item for Summit County Council members is their introduction to the draft 2019 budget.
The council meets at the Coalville Courthouse and will take up the budget at about 4:30.
County manager Tom Fisher said the overall budget figure is $55.6 million. Their projected revenues are about $55.4 million so council has to address that gap, and other issues, in their meetings over the next two months.
Fisher said this budget has no tax increase. Last year’s budget included a tax hike, to help regain some of the county’s lost buying power and continue county values.
“Those being that we maintain service levels, we maintain county owned assets so roads and infrastructure. We rebuild our fund balances in order to prepare for the next ‘rainy day’, and recruit and retain a good work force. My guidance going into this budget year preparing for 2019 is to uphold those values. We did do all that within the 2018 budget. We put about 1.2 million dollars towards fund balances. Right now, we’re recommending about $800,000-900,000 continue in the 2019 year to be put towards fund balances within that $55.6 million recommendation.”
The manager is recommending that the county add eight positions to the budget. One of those is an additional deputy county attorney.
“The amount of work that the attorney’s office has taken on over the last few years largely around having a lot more property transactions and items related to open space as well as bringing our service districts under the fold of our personnel policies and providing services out of our attorney’s office has increased the level of work within the attorney’s office. As we proposed this position it’s actually 50% supported by revenue from the service districts.”
Fisher said he is also recommending two more patrol officers (though the Budget Committee was favoring four more.)
“I think there’s a couple of things that we have to consider around that. First of all, financial constraint. There is a lot of needs within the county or things desired by offices and departments to increase service levels or programs. I have to balance the needs of ongoing programs as I recommend my budget with those strategic priorities that the council has put forward around transportation and mental health and sustainability and our general plans.”
The plan also includes three positions related to transportation or transit. He said those are not just funded from the General Fund, but from two sales tax increases the county instituted recently.
He discussed why they’re adding a Transit Tech position.
“We are gaining infrastructure around transit that is kind of outside Park City Transit’s purview to maintain. That position is on the ground maintenance position for those transit assets. There’s a transit planner that is kind of planned as a shared position between Park City Transit and ourselves. It’ll be a county employee but will sit within Park City transit and assist with the planning of transit routes for the future and help represent county equities in the program.”
One last position, he said, is to help with long-range transportation planning.
“Caroline Rodriguez has been doing a lot of work around implementing programs like bike share, other types of programs related to transit and alternative transportation. We need to gain some capacity to do some more long-term planning instead of the more day to day project management.”
Finally, Fisher said that Solid Waste is a big part of the budget plan.
“It’s really one of our biggest sustainability initiatives that the council adopted a master plan around this year. We really need to get into advancing that plan in order to not only reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills but reduce that carbon footprint that is produced from the total waste stream. Everything from trucks driving around the county to pick up solid waste but also just the waste and methane that’s produced from a landfill. We’ve got quite a few programs that were projected within that master plan to start in 2019 and we’ve suggested those in the budget.”