DA explains budget to Pitkin County commissioners
ASPEN – The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office saw case filings from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009 rise by 3.7 over the same period the previous year, and has a projected operational budget of $3.245 million in 2010.
District Attorney Martin Beeson, who is based in Glenwood Springs, went before Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday in Aspen to explain the financial needs of the 9th District, which comprises Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties. The three counties will combine to contribute $3.127 million to the budget (the amount is lower than the actual budget because $88,000 will come from the state and another $30,00 will be derived from miscellaneous revenues). The entire budget reflects an increase of $76,731, or 2.52 percent, over 2009.
In a letter to the board, Beeson explained that Garfield County will pay 71.4 percent of the district’s budget, while Pitkin and Rio Blanco will pay 18.2 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively. For Pitkin, that translates to approximately $570,000.
The percentages are based on the proportion of each county’s population, and are determined by state statute, Beeson explained. Garfield is projected to have a population of 62,224 in 2009, Pitkin 18,866, and Rio Blanco 8,016.
The highest caseload also belongs to Garfield, which accounted for 74 percent of felony case filings, 86 percent of juvenile cases, 67 percent of misdemeanor cases and 65 percent of traffic cases.
All told, Garfield’s criminal filings represented 67 percent of the 3,656 cases in the 9th Judicial District, Beeson reported. Pitkin County, meanwhile, accounted for 13 percent of the caseload, while Rio Blanco registered 20 percent.
Commissioner Michael Owsley questioned why Pitkin County must pay more than Rio Blanco, even though Rio Blanco had more case filings.
“It should reflect what the costs are to each county,” he told Beeson.
Beeson said, “I completely understand … The bottom line to me doesn’t matter what the percentages are as long as my office is funded, but I understand.”
During the work session, Beeson told commissioners he does not anticipate to ask for salary increases for his staff. Three years ago, Beeson’s staff saw an across-the-board raise of 30 percent. Beeson did not get a raise at the time.
“We are fully staffed and are in really great shape,” Beeson told commissioners.
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