Public Hearing regarding amendments to the 2017 budget and the 2018 proposed budget

There were both county employees and members of the community that attended the special public meeting held Friday morning inside the commission chambers. The meeting was in regards to the consideration of possible amendments to the county’s 2017 budget, but more importantly, consideration, review and adoption of the 2018 tentative budget.

“There are a couple of things that I think will be important for the public to know and understand,” said Commissioner Jae Potter. “Is first of all, the tentative budget for 2018 that we’ll present today will not have any tax increase in it.” This announcement was made after commissioners received public backlash when two tax increase proposals were made back in October by Carbon County Clerk Auditor, Seth Oveson.

Also, announced at today’s meeting was a response received from the State Auditor after working with the county auditor and commissioners reviewing the county’s budget. “We also have received a letter from the State Auditor and have given us a letter of no findings and suggestions for review,” stated Potter. The three-day official visit was made prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The meeting continued with the County Clerk Auditor stating the amendments to the 2017 budget and moving into the tentative budget, all of which were displayed via PowerPoint. The documents will be made available to the public by the end of the business day.

Before the 2018 tentative budget details were made, Commissioner Jake Mellor said, “Just as people are comparing one year to the next year, you will notice that we are making some changes in respect to the county trying to seek greater efficiency. There are some duties and responsibilities that will shift from one department to another. So be cognizant of the efforts we have been making to try and provide a county that meets the needs of its community.”  The county’s is also making changes to the way employees benefits are handled.

There have been many unconfirmed reports regarding layoffs at the county on social media and other internet sources. A statement has  been issued by Commission Attorney, Christian Bryner, which read, “The County Commission cannot make public nor confirm the names or identities of any employees whose employment may be terminated in conjunction with the 2018 budget.  Final decisions have not yet been made regarding the restructuring of County departments.  The budget that was made public today was only a tentative budget.  The County Commission is still required to hold a public hearing on its 2018 budget, which will take place on December 13, and is required to take into consideration the comments made at that public hearing before approving and passing a final budget. The County Commission will not comment at this time as to how many, if any, employees will be terminated in conjunction with the passage of the final budget.”

The December 13 public hearing is to receive public comments regarding amendments to the 2017 budget and the 2018 proposed budget. It will also be in conjunction with and at the same time as the public hearing on the proposed property tax levy fund increases. Interested citizens are encouraged to attend and will be given an opportunity to be heard. Final approval of the budget must be made by December 20.

Castle Country Radio is only releasing the information that is shared by county officials and any further updates will be released as we receive them.

Video of the December 1 Commission meeting can be seen at http://www.citylinktv.com/channel/price-koal-itv/?bfplayvid=52209