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Council bears down on budget plans

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By The Staff

County Council will meet Monday, Tuesday and Thursday ≠ this week, as well Wednesday, April 30, next week, at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers in the Community Building, 475 20th St.The first public hearing, Monday, will provide a budget overview and a discussion of capital projects. The remaining three meetings will discuss operating budgets of various departments and offices of county government.The process considers a biennial budget for fiscal year 2009 and 2010, although only the next year’s budget can be adopted according to state law. The second year is intended as a conceptual planning tool.After discussing the budget, council’s recommendations may be incorporated in a final document that is scheduled for consideration at the council meeting May 13.Total proposed total expenditure for FY 2009 is $180,768,215. The county expects to begin the fiscal year with a fund balance/working capital of $104,440,617, which will decline to $98,538,087 by the end of FY 2009.In a Citizen’s Guide published by the county to inform the public on the budget process and encourage participation, County Administrator Max Baker wrote, “GRT (Gross Receipts Taxes) revenues are projected to decline approximately 5 percent in FY 2009 as federal funding for LANL becomes tighter.”