Included in El Paso County’s 2013 balanced budget approved by county commissioners Tuesday is money to establish a south branch of the clerk and recorder’s office on Fort Carson.
It will be the fifth clerk’s office in the county, at a first-year cost of $156,000. Fort Carson will assume much of the cost, saving the county about $400,000, as the post will provide the building, security, maintenance and utilities cost.
The office will be paid for with fees from motor vehicle and recording users, said county clerk and recorder Wayne Williams. It’ll be a full-service branch office, offering motor vehicle, driver’s license, recording and elections.
No changes will be made to the downtown branch office, except waiting lines may be shortened.
“I think it shows a recognition that we want to support the men and women that serve in the military, and the state’s largest primary employer, Fort Carson,” Williams said.
Another budget addition for next year is $290,000 for the district attorney’s juvenile diversion program, a second chance offered to first-time offenders that keeps them out of the criminal justice system.
Otherwise, county budget director Nicola Sapp called the budget “status quo” from 2012.
“It’s always easier when you are not reducing budget,” Sapp said.
The total budget, including restricted revenue from state and federal grants and local taxes, is $270.6 million.
The unrestricted general fund budget — which is discretionary money to be used as commissioners dictate — is $102.4 million. That’s about $2 million more than the 2012 version, primarily because the election cost the county about $1.7 million.
Sapp said when voters approved ballot measure 1A — a small tax increase expected to produce about $17 million annually to pay for Sheriff’s Office needs before sunsetting in eight years — it became much easier to fund other county operations.
“When the people addressed the sheriff’s needs, it took a huge burden off the budget,” said county commissioner chairwoman Amy Lathen. “Now our first critical need is our fleet.
“We have pieces of equipment that are 30 years old.”
Contact Bob Stephens: 636-0276 Twitter @bobgstephens
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