Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for December 23, 2009
Kane County faces revenue cuts with PILT and SRUS
The Kane County Commission met on December 14, but were unable to take any action because of an error in the way the agenda was posted. The only item they could take action on was the 2010 budget, which was advertised separately. However, the commission chose to wait on that also. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be December 28.
Ken Brown, Western Counties Alliance, gave an update. PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) funding and SRUS (Secure, Rural School) funding are being cut back by 2011 unless re-authorized. That amounts to a lot of lost revenue for Kane County.
The public hearing for the 2010 budget brought several questions from Sky Chaney, of the Taxpayers Association. One question dealt with the proportion 38% to 49% of tax revenues. The commissioners answered that it depends, if the economy doesn’t pick up. The Alton Coal Mine and mining on the Arizona Strip will help significantly. There has been a loss of sales tax revenue as well.
Another question dealt with the impact of capital improvements, and how that will reflect on the taxpayer. The commission responded that none of the projects have impacted the county taxpayer. They went into detail explaining why.
The public health facility is funded by the Association of Governments. The EMS and hangar have been funded by other revenues, and are of no impact to the taxpayer.
“We are still waiting on funding for the jail. There are no plans to attach it to property taxes,” said the commission.
Cheney responded saying it is improper to say there is no potential risk to the taxpayer.
Commissioner Doug Heaton asked, “What is our alternative? The Taxpayers Association is in agreement with the jail.”
Chaney responded that they were “the way it looks on paper.”
The commission approved the recommendations by the county clerk for the budget opening.
Rhonda Gant, Human Resources, reported the 2010 budget reflects a salary increase for the clerk/auditor only, other county employees will not have an increase. The clerk/auditor has not had an increase for several years. There will be no “cost of living” increase this year.
The Medical Insurance Committee met and reported they were pleased with the more-than-anticipated savings this year. They want to spend a portion of the $88,000 saved and keep a second HRA, to care for special needs for employees. The committee has set up required criteria for use.
Gant updated the commission on the Long Valley Senior Citizen Center. The committee met and recommended a trial basis to re-open the kitchen, and see if they can get the numbers participating up. The commission said they want to look at something permanent, and want them to succeed. Commissioner Heaton said that they do need to set a goal for the number to be served.
Dr. Blodgett, Public Health, reported vaccination for H1N1 is available to everyone now. There have been four deaths in the five counties area. Three had other health issues. No deaths have been reported in Kane County.
Robert Debirk and Eric Spreng, Heal Utah, asked the county to urge Senators Hatch and Bennett to support the vote in May 2010 for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The Senators are considered “swing voters.” A two-thirds vote is needed for Congress to ratify the treaty.
The commissioners felt this international treaty is beyond a commission role. Kane County took a strong position against resumption of nuclear testing in Nevada because it had a negative impact on Kane County.
Dave Owens and Tracy Glover reported on their meeting with Spillman Technologies, a law enforcement software proposal. Commissioner Daniel Hulet will work with them and the county clerk to see if they can work this through the jail budget.