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Santa Fe County Begins Budget Hearings

 Santa Fe County Commissioners on Wednesday hear budget requests from department heads.
Kevin Meerschaert
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Santa Fe County Commissioners on Wednesday hear budget requests from department heads.

The Santa Fe County Commission Wednesday began its discussion of the county’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

County Manager Gregory Schaffer kicked off the presentation with an overview of the process saying department heads were not handed any budget restraints and to separate recurring and nonrecurring requests.

Much of Wednesday’s discussion focused on the Public Works Department with a long look at road maintenance.

Commissioner Hank Hughes asked about the possibility of increasing department hires to deal with many of the road repairs needed in the county.

“The biggest complaint I get especially in this past year has been about how long it takes to fix the roads and as you know there’s a lot of roads that are county roads in my district,” he said. “I get a lot of calls. Everytime we meet (with) Public Works…there’s too few people. It seems like we are always at 50% capacity on road crews. I just wonder if that’s something we could think about?”             

Schaffer told Hughes that such options are under consideration. However, part of the proposed budget is to give all county employees a six-percent cost of living raise. Schaffer says they want to see if that will help reduce the number of unfilled positions in the road maintenance department.

The County Commission has more budget meetings scheduled for this week and next.           

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.