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County> FY2015 budget no longer facing 5-percent reduction

By Arin McKenna

Sharp declines in Los Alamos County’s Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) revenue —approximately 20 percent over the past three years — may have bottomed out, at least for the time being.
At Tuesday’s county council meeting, County Administrator Harry Burgess and Deputy County Administrator/Chief Financial Officer Steven Lynne reported that an additional projected 5-percent shortfall has been averted by the passage of a federal spending bill in January.
With 80 percent of the county’s revenue derived from Los Alamos National Laboratory spending, federal cutbacks in recent years have had a major impact on county revenues. Automatic spending cuts known as the budget sequestration, which went into effect in 2013, hit the county especially hard.
Sequestration cuts were scheduled to increase this year if Congress failed to reach an agreement. In November 2013, county staff asked council for budget guidance based on an anticipated 5-percent decrease in revenues. Council set a target of a 5-percent reduction in general fund expenditures for FY2015.
The decreased expenditures would have made cutbacks in service levels unavoidable. Council asked staff to minimize the negative impacts.

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