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Wasatch County News 12-04-2010


Tis the season to not only be jolly but for Cities and Counties to balance their budgets, amend their present budgets and finally pass proposed budgets for the year 2011.

This was the task at hand this past Wednesday December 1st for Wasatch County. The County Department Heads had already forwarded their proposed budgets to County Manager Mike Davis, and then were fine tuned by him for a proposed budget to the County Council.

The biggest cut came in the department of Engineering for the year of 2010 had a budget of 119,626.00. The proposed amount for 2011 was only 7,000 based upon the lack of development ongoing in Wasatch Co. Other noticed decrease in budgets came from the County Clerks office in elections. Since there are no elections in 2011 one would have thought that the proposed amount would be zero. Not so, in that with the new HAVA law all counties are burdened with the new voting machines. INow this year the State of Utah no longer financially supports counties in the maintenance and replacement of these machines. Big surprise for anyone? Therefore the budget for 2011 is nearly 18,000.

The Heber Valley Counseling Center had figures that seemed incongruent to what they have spent in years past. This is one department that yours truly looked at with a fine tooth comb. After further examination what has happened is with the funding of Medicaid and other sources of income and the absence of some programs due to lack of funding the bottom line is Heber Valley Counsel is spending about the same amount as in the past. What was different is some of the monies showed up being bigger in Mental Health and less in Substance Abuse totally about 950,000 for both programs.

The Department of Planning had a decrease in their proposed budget due to the loss of a permanent employee, Mike Hinckey who is now employed by Midway City. The Event Center had an increase in their budget of 15% for 2011 due to the hiring of additional staff. This is based upon the increase of events being held in this fine facility. The bottom line is the actual expenses for Wasatch County for the year 2010 was 14,492,872. This amount was amended for all departments and expenditures so the budget could be balanced. The total revenues for the County in 2010 is 14,755,656. This leaves a surplus of 198,000 After some discussion with the Council it was decided that nearly all of the surplus should be spent on paying for the increase of health care costs for all employees.

Lambert Degan voiced opposition to the expenditures at the Senior Center. He expressed that the Center could cut costs of $30,000 by eliminating catered food services. This service brings in approximately 17,000 a year. He claimed that with the cost of employees and the food purchased for these events that it would save the county this amount of money by eliminating this service. Mr. Degan did not back up his assertion at the meeting. What he probably doesn't realize is that this service provides employment and helps the community at large to utilize the Center for activities bringing good will and use of the building. Many of us have attended a catered dinner or meal at the Center. The facility is a great place to meet and hold community functions.

The total non-general fund expenditures minus the service funds for 2010 amounted to 11,997,835. This combined with the general fund of 14,492,872 amounts to a grand total of 26,490,707. For the year 2011 the approved budget by the Council totals 14,557,182. This is a slight increase over the 2010 amended budget of less than 1%. This speaks well for the county manager and all department heads who are very cognizant of keeping costs down and spending the tax payers dollars wisely. There will be no cost of living or COLA this next year. Unlike Utah County who this week approved a 2.3% cost of living for their employees. Apparently they have the money to do this.

Other items addressed on the Council agenda for this week included hearing the consideration of Gail Buehler's request for a Plat Amendment on the Buehler Preservation subdivision. The proposal was to create a three lot subdivision form the existing two lot farm preservation in section 2, township 4 South Range 5 East in RA-1 zoning district. After discussing this matter the meeting was opened for public input, as there was no one who opposed this matter the meeting was turned back to the Council. After some discussion with the road width being some concern and how the two new lots would egress onto 3600 East the owner was given an opportunity to explain how this would be done. Both lots traffic would be allowed to drive onto the 12' private drive way of Mr. Buehler. The width of the private drive way was not a major concern since this is a small sub division and very little traffic will be connected to this road.

The Council voted unanimously to approve this amendment.

The next item on the public hearing portion of the meeting addressed Dick Reinhold request for a Plat Amendment to the REagle Subdivision. The request was to realign property boundaries so that the boundaries encompass the existing lots of record. The proposal is located at 4245 East 1200 South in Section 2, township 4 South Range 5 East. In the RA-1zoning district.

The Council voted unanimously to approve this amendment. The last item on the hearing portion of the hearing was the consideration of Richard Irvine's request for an amendment to combine Timber Lakes lots 1649 and 1650 into one lot and to be known as Lot 1650. The request is located at 1649 and 1650 Columbine in Sections 14 and 23 of Township 4. South, Range 6 East in the Mountain Zoning designation.

The Council voted unanimously to approve this amendment. Here's wishing all of you out there who are reading this a "Very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Prosperous New Year.

Neil Anderton County Council

BY NEIL ANDERTON   12/07/2010

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