Pitkin County OKs $72 million budget
The Pitkin County commissioners on Wednesday approved a $72 million 2006 budget, which includes funding for such things as the airport, roads, bridges, social services, open space and other public amenities. Commissioner Jack Hatfield was the lone dissenting voice against adopting the budget in what was a 4-1 vote. “The Board of County Commissioners did not have a budget philosophy,” he said in a prepared statement. He expressed concerns about the budgeting process, especially the way open space and trails added $4.2 million in supplemental requests. “I certainly support trails,” Hatfield said. “I don’t necessarily support the ‘year of trails,’ which is what I’ve heard open space staff call this year.”Commissioner Mick Ireland said trails are important because people need to experience open space firsthand in order to really appreciate it. Hatfield also criticized certain other process-oriented problems and said he has “a lot of heartburn” about Keator Grove, an affordable housing project Pitkin County is supporting in Garfield County, marking the first time Pitkin County has supported housing outside its boundary. Commissioner Dorothea Farris said she thinks affordable housing is important and that Pitkin County is connected to the valley. She also took issue with Hatfield saying there is no budget philosophy.”I feel I’ve had ample opportunity to review a budget that’s about this thick,” she said, showing a handful of binder.Throughout the long meeting Ireland kept showing exhausted members of the audience a small graph he had drawn of a heartbeat that had flatlined.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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