Morgan County passes 'conservative' budget

Dec 14 2010 - 12:00am

MORGAN -- The Morgan County Council passed its proposed $5.7 million 2011 budget.

"It is a very lackluster budget," said Stacy Lafitte, county clerk/auditor. "We have not asked for anything spectacular. We have not asked for a tax increase."

"We were conservative," Councilwoman Tina Kelley said of the budget hearings. "We know there will be growth, but it reflected a no-growth budget."

Chairman Sid Creager said that despite collecting $115,000 in building permit revenue in 2010, the county is not planning on any development revenue in 2011. However, he is aware of local developers' plans to proceed with some building.

Another conservative aspect of 2011's budget is plans to collect only 89 percent of property taxes. Despite Utah Association of Counties' advice to the contrary, the council did not give itself a raise.

"I have long maintained that it is a service," Kelley said of her council position.

In addition, the county didn't factor centrally assessed property taxes into the budget. Such taxes are assessed on property such as utilities, pipelines and railroads that cross county lines.

"We have forecasted no growth, but we know we will have significant growth with the Kern River pipeline in the southern end of the county," Creager said.

The budget will include a new separate line item for fair revenue. Although the fair brought in $52,980 in 2010, expenditures totaled $74,000.

County officials expect the incoming council to make several changes to the budget in 2011.

"This is going to be a fluid budget," said Creager, whose term will soon end. "Look for change. It will come."

Creager recommended the future council keep a close eye on class B road funds.

Former council administrator Garth Day was overseeing these funds before money laundering and other criminal counts were filed against him.

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