Pinching pennies: County begins budget process

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It's that dreaded time of year once again when local agencies draft budgets. In this sour economic era, budget talks have taken on an ominous tone. This year's tax revenues for El Paso County have shown slight improvement over last year, so perhaps the task won't be so arduous as in other years.

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However, elected officials and department heads historically ask for more than is available, giving county commissioners the task of juggling how to spend taxpayer money. There's another factor: Because of deceasing property valuation assessments, the county's property tax revenue will be going down as well.

If you're up for watching the pitches, tune in to the county's two hearings on the 2012 preliminary balanced budget.

Here's the schedule:

The first hearing is scheduled at 12:00 noon, Thursday August 25, 2012 in the Hearing Room of the Regional Development Center at 2880 International Circle. The tentative schedule of presentations is as follows:
· 12:00 — 1:00 Historical Data and Revenue Projections
· 1:00 — 2:00 El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
· 2:00 — 3:00 El Paso County Clerk and Recorders Office
· 3:15 — 3:55 Office of the 4th Judicial District Attorney
· 3:55 — 4:15 El Paso County Coroner’s Office
· 4:15 — 4:35 El Paso County Treasurer’s Office

The second hearing is scheduled for Thursday September 1, 2011 starting at 9:30 in the Commissioners Hearing Room on the 3rd floor of the County Office Building at 27 East Vermijo. The tentative schedule for this session is as follows:
· 9:30 — 10:10 El Paso County Public Health
· 10:10 — 10:30 County Administration — Public Services Department
· 10:30 — 11:10 County Administration — Support Services Department
· 11:10 —11:40 Citizens Budget Oversight Committee Presentation
· 11:40—12:00 Additional Citizen Comments
· 12:30—2:30 BoCC Discussion and Direction on 2012 Preliminary Balanced Budget

The Preliminary Balanced Budget hearings will be streamed live at www.elpasoco.com and can be viewed the following evening at 9:00 p.m. on Comcast 17, the Pikes Peak Library District channel.

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