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Auditor cites budget facts pertaining to prosecutor's press release

The San Juan County Prosecutor recently reported that he is being forced to reduce the misdemeanor deputy prosecutor from full to half time in order to meet a $30,600 target budget reduction.  He also stated that no similar reduction has been made in the Sheriff’s Office, and that County "savings" are at an all-time high.

In fact, the Prosecutor was requested to reduce his $954,783 budget by $26,206. The Council did not direct him to reduce any particular position.

Because each elected official has control over his budget, within the amounts set by Council, the Prosecutor has the right to choose which position, or which non-payroll item, to reduce.

The Sheriff’s Office was also affected by recent budget reductions, losing one full-time deputy.

Cash reserves in the general fund are just under 10% of the general fund budget, as required by County Code. Ending cash for 2012 is budgeted at $1,355,821.

That amount is lower than ending cash in every year since 2005, except for 2009.  Ending cash in 2007 was more than $2.5 million, almost twice the projected ending cash for 2012.  Two years later, ending cash in 2009 was $930,245—so low that in September of 2009 the County almost ran out of cash.

The amount was so critically low that it motivated the Council to adopt a reserving ordinance in that year - a bold and responsible move in this era of economic challenge.  As a result of that ordinance, the County has managed to come close to keeping a 10% reserve in years since.

The public is welcome to address questions of fact about the County's finances to the County Auditor.

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