Effective immediately the Mesa County Board of County Commissioners has implemented a temporary hiring freeze.
“Only positions that have a critical or emergency need will be filled until the end of this year,” said Frank Whidden, Mesa County Administrator. “We need to continue to find additional savings and efficiencies in every possible way.”
Entering the final quarter of the year, the Mesa County budget officer is projecting that 99% of appropriations will be spent by the end of the year, along with a projected $400,000 shortfall in the countywide vacancy savings budget. The hiring freeze is the first step in resolving the County’s financial challenges.
Mesa County is facing a financial predicament partly because 8 out of 10 of the largest taxpayers in Mesa County are from the oil and gas industry. Last year, 76 wells were drilled, this year so far the count is zero to the best of our knowledge. The assessed valuation of oil and gas production has fallen 68% this year, which contributes to a 1.4% decrease in the tax base for the upcoming year. Based on 2015 mill levies this translates into a reduction of $323,000 tax revenue to the County’s budget.
All Mesa County Departments have been advised to closely monitor revenues and expenditures for all possible savings.