The Los Alamos County Council debated its FY2015 budget guidance for staff until late into the night Tuesday trying to come to grips with another forecast of declining revenues.
Some items had unanimous agreement, including opposition to asking for any additional Gross Receipts Tax. Staff recommendations included an option to increase GRT, but cautioned against more than a 1/4 percent increment.
There was some debate about fund balance levels, but council ultimately decided to leave staff recommendations unchanged. The state requires a balance of 8.3 percent of expenditures. Previous councils approved a Revenue Stabilization fund equaling 5 percent of revenues and an unassigned fund equaling 20 percent of revenues.
Staff recommended using up to 100 percent of the Revenue Stabilization fund through 2017, but leaving the Unassigned Fund untouched.
“Twenty percent is a significant number. Our choices are to maintain this money sequestered, or to cut services or to raise taxes,” Council Chair Geoff Rodgers argued. “I’m not saying we spend the whole thing, but 20 percent was a number decided on almost a decade ago.