Letters to the Editor (06/06/2012)
Sky’s not falling in Socorro County
I wanted to take a moment to give further clarification regarding Socorro County’s interim budget as reported in El Defensor Chieftain on June 2, 2012.
The Board of County Commission has no intention of reducing our workforce in the near future. However, the Board is aware that the FY12-13 general fund budget shortfall could affect future budget years and is making plans for how to address that concern.
The Board has agreed to approve a deficit budget and use a portion of our reserve funds in order to ensure we retain all employees and grant raises at the same time. Even in a deficit budget, we are in a very strong financial position. At the end of this fiscal year, Socorro County will have between $4 million and $5 million in our general fund reserves to be used in years we do experience budgetary shortfalls.
Even with over a year’s worth of money available in reserve funds, the county’s administration is extremely cautious and conservative and the intent is to minimize any impact on our reserves when possible. After all, reserve funds should be used for one-time capital improvements and not continuous operational costs.
Though Socorro County is financially healthy, unless we see an improvement in our annual revenue, staff cuts are a possibility in subsequent years. With great foresight, our Board wants to explore all those possibilities well ahead of time to prepare the best fiscal approach that will allow us to continue and improve county services well into the future.
Delilah Walsh, Socorro County Manager