Reductions in services raise concerns

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Budget > Council raises concerns about cutbacks

By Arin McKenna

Los Alamos County council members had few questions as elected officials and department directors laid out their plans for reducing expenditures in FY2014 at Monday’s budget hearing. However, a couple of items did raise concerns about the impact on residents’ welfare and the health of the county as a whole.
A 19 percent reduction in gross receipts tax revenues has resulted in a 13 percent decrease in the general fund and hit some programs even harder.
Community Services Director Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan will be returning to council on April 30 to talk about the impact on the healthcare assistance program (the indigent fund), which is largely funded through GRT. A $394,000 — or 19 percent reduction —in revenue is projected just as demands are higher than ever.
Councilors asked Kalogeros-Chattan for assurances that cutbacks to social services would not negatively impact vulnerable members of the community. Some groups have been saying that as much as $155,000 could be cut from social services.
Kalogeros-Chattan explained that in some cases the money had been redirected, such as into the salary for the new social services manager, who will take over the coordination of contractual services from the Community Health Council.

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