After two years of budget cuts and layoffs, Tooele County may have to add staff and expenses over the next five years.
The Zions Bank Public Finance study of Tooele County’s municipal service fund also looked at the next five years, and to plan for secure and sustainable revenue sources for the fund, according to Tenille Tingey, financial analyst with Zions Bank Public Finance.
“We know that the county can no longer function on a skeleton crew,” she said during a town hall meeting Tuesday night at Stockton Miners Cafe in Stockton. “There is growth coming and there will be some staff additions in the next five years.”
Tingey’s first item in the county’s five-year plan is to increase expenditures for the roads department.
She started by increasing the county capital budget for roads from $765,000 in 2014 to $1.2 million in 2015.
Another $300,000 was added in 2017 to reach $1.5 million. Following 2017, Tingey’s forecast includes an annual 3 percent increase in revenue and expenses to keep pace with inflation.
“The roads department is seriously lagging,” she said, “and needs to play catch up and keep up.”
Inflation rates for other costs were factored into the study at 1.36 percent, based on a five-year average.
In addition to inflation costs, Tingey outlined a plan for additions to the county staff to provide for immediate and future growth needs while spreading the impact over a five-year period.
In 2014 the county budget already includes one new IT staff member and two new employees in the road department.
For 2015 Tingey recommends the county add a secretary for the county commission, one more IT staff member, an attorney, and a secretary in the county attorney’s office.
In 2016 the five-year plan calls for another attorney, five new employees in the sheriff’s department, a new dispatcher, and one more roads department worker.
In 2017 the plan shows the county hiring an engineer and new dispatcher.
In 2018 the county will need to hire a new building inspector and one more dispatcher, according to the plan.
The costs for these new staff members will be shared between the general fund and the municipal services fund budgets based on the final recommended allocation of the municipal services fund analysis that is currently underway.
“Advanced planning is necessary,” Tingey said. “If the county does not keep up with inflation, there is potential for budget shortfalls.”