The good news for Sanpete County property owners is that the tax rate will stay the same in the upcoming fiscal year.

The county commission is determined to hold the line.And the bad news for county employees is that there won't be any cost of living increases come Jan. 1. In fact, there'll be fewer of them than this year.

That's because the commissioners have decided to eliminate one permanent job and employ less part-time help. And they're also determined to reduce overtime, travel and similar amenities.

The commissioners are working over the tentative budget to get it down to size. They expect to approve the final version at a public hearing at the courthouse on Dec. 14.

Why the cuts in proposed expenditures? Because the county will have less money to spend next year due to the hold-the-line stance on taxes and a smaller than usual carry-over. In addition, there'll be less money from state sources.

All-in-all, projected revenue and carry-over will be around a half-million less spendable dollars than this year.

Next year's tentative budget proposed spending around $85,000 more than income. And that's why the commissioners are making heavy use of their pruning shears between now and Dec. 14. They're determined to approve a balanced budget without a tax increase.

Fewer dollars will be spent on public safety, for example, and more on economic development. There will be no across the board cuts, the commissioners agreed.

One seriously considered reduction is in debt service. If that action is taken, it will prolong the payoff of a bond issue.

Why not increase in the property tax levy to produce some additional dollars?

"People are paying enough taxes," Commissioner Bob Bessey said.