Counties still undecided on final budget


ALAMOSA — The finalization of the 2019 San Luis Valley County Commissioners Association budget has been delayed yet again.

Following a meeting with District Attorney Crista Newmyer-Olsen on Monday it was determined that the association is still not in a position to make a final decision on the funding allocations for 2019. In particular, the amount that is to be given to the DA’s office has proven to be challenging.

Newmyer-Olsen firmly restated her case for the need for increased funding to the commissioners. She also announced that her office would be losing both Assistant DA Ashley McCuaig and Chief Deputy DA Ashley Fetyko. As a result she may be forced to handle all of the major cases herself unless funding to hire a replacement can be obtained. This does not even account for the minor cases.

Other issues the office is facing include cost of living increases and healthcare premiums. This along with the low starting salary rates have forced some staff to seek opportunities elsewhere, the DA explained.

The commissioners expressed sympathy for the challenges that the DA’s office is facing. Chairman Jason Anderson was adamant about the need to reach common ground and find a solution. Each of the San Luis Valley counties is also facing their own sets of budget challenges.

Many of the commissioners present also pointed out that they had already previously given the office a 20-percent increase for 2017-2018, which has significantly increased budget pressures across the board. Rio Grande County Commissioner Gene Glover expressed concern about returns on association’s investments and the results that are actually being produced from the DA’s office. The solution was not found at the end of the discussion.

There was consensus that there will be some tough decisions ahead. Alamosa County Commissioner Michael Yohn observed that with the current fiscal situation, it is almost becoming more of a matter of what can be cut rather than added. Many of the counties have also not finalized their own budgets hence, delaying the final commitment.

The commissioners plan to meet regarding the budget following the Colorado Counties Inc. meeting in November.