Sanpete County's commissioners - self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives - have achieved their announced goal: a 1991 budget that provides for no property tax increase.
But it took some fancy financial footwork for the commissioners to achieve that goal, and they'll have a $200,000 smaller cash balance at the end of 1991 than at the beginning and a $50,000 smaller allocation for debt service in the new budget than for 1990.That reduction means the county's bond indebtedness will take a year or two longer to pay off. But the commissioners defend their action by pointing out that they've been paying off the bonds faster than the schedule originally provided.
And they explain their no-tax-increase stance - despite sharp increases in some costs like insurance - on the grounds that 1990 has been a poor year for the county's dairy, sheep and turkey farmers, with only the beef producers having a healthy year.
Sanpete County had $3,383,100 in revenue in 1990 and expects to have $3,327,227 in revenue in 1991. It spent an estimated $3,107,930 - estimated because not all the bills are yet in - in 1990, and proposes to spend $3,362,549 in 1991.
On the revenue side of the budget, the county will receive a little more from property taxes because, although the levy stays the same, assessed valuation has gone up around $1.5 million. But the county will receive around $20,000 less in Class "B" road money because the amount the state has collected from the gas tax has gone down.
The expenditure side of the budget shows similar disparities. The county attorney and the assessor will spend more, the clerk and the recorder less; public safety less, public health more - in a kind of "evening out" process. An apparent favorite in building the budget was tourism, up $10,000, and a revolving loan found, up $28,000. Both have close links, of course, with economic development.