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Cutting county budget leads to pay raise

By Michelle San Miguel, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau/Telemundo Anchor, michelle.sanmiguel@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 04 2013 11:41:44 PM CDT

Cutting county budget leads to pay raise

PUEBLO, Colo. -

Pueblo county commissioners are offering county leaders an incentive: agree to cut expenses and get a raise. It's the brainchild of Commissioner Sal Pace.

If department leaders sign a pledge agreeing to cut at least 2 percent of their budget, employees in that department will receive a 1.7 percent raise. Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor says he's going to sign it.

"My folks are hurting, as are everybody in the county, so I was glad to see something being done," Taylor said.

But if Taylor can't find expenses to cut, commissioners will come in and cut expenses by 3.5 percent.

"Let's incentivise departments, government departments to find efficiencies and make cuts," Pace said.

Pueblo County is already in the red, sitting at a $1.8 million dollar deficit. Now employees are being tasked with finding ways to cut expenses.

Pace said, "When people retire, it might not always be necessary to replace that position."

Commissioners say the intent is not to lay people off, but to consider delaying hiring when a position opens- an approach the sheriff's department says might be part of the answer.

"We've done so much for so long with so little that now we're asked to do the impossible with nothing, but we'll get it done," Taylor said.

Department leaders have until April 15 to sign the pledge.

County commissioners introduced another proposal to motivate county employees to cut costs. The five people who have the best ideas for trimming expenses will receive a $1,000 bonus.

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