Davis County counting on tourism revenue, across-the-board pay hike for 2011 budget

Oct 26 2010 - 10:48pm

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FARMINGTON -- A good tourism year in 2011 is one of the ways Davis County plans to stay financially afloat in the next budget year.

On Tuesday, Davis County Commissioners approved a tentative 2011 budget predicated on a continuing increase in tourism and sales tax dollars, plus holding the line on most spending.

The relatively flat operating budget for 2011, at $94.6 million, does not include a cost-of-living allowance for Davis County employees.

Last year's budget was $92.9 million for a county system that currently has 695 full-time employees.

The pay-rate decision came about, in part, because the Davis County Employees Association did not ask for an across-the-board pay increase in the recent county budget hearings.

"I think that was admirable," said John Petroff, the Davis County Commission chairman.

County officials said employees will continue receiving performance, or merit, pay in 2011.

DCEA President Brian McKenzie said his association recognized, in making its budget request, that the county is trying to bounce back from the national recession.

But DCEA members do hope to maintain a similar benefit level in 2011, he said.

For example, employees currently pay 10 percent of their health care expenses.

"I think that is fair," said McKenzie, whose association represents most county workers.

Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings, who is chairman of the budget hearings, said a full picture of the county's health care insurance costs will not arrive until mid-2011.

Rawlings said county department heads were asked to hold the line in budget requests as the county tries to bounce back.

"There are no tax increases in this budget," he said.

Through September, the revenue from tourism tax dollars has increased over the previous year, said Barbara Riddle, president of the Davis Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

A new hotel in Layton is scheduled to open in 2011, also contributing to projections for additional incoming tax dollars.

"I'm cautiously optimistic," Riddle said.

A detailed version of the tentative budget will be offered to the public Nov. 24.

The county's final budget hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7.

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