Ninth District Attorney Sherry Caloia discussed cutbacks of personnel and a financial savings for each of the three counties that make up her office during budget presentations with both Garfield and Pitkin County commissioners on Tuesday.
Caloia, who has held office since January, was elected to office last fall with a victory over incumbent Martin Beeson. During her campaign, she vowed to make the three-county office more efficient.
Caloia reported to the commissioners in the respective counties, also including Rio Blanco County, that her office will need $2.81 million from the three counties next year. That’s a nearly 8 percent decrease compared with $3.04 million in 2013.
Different moves and situations in each county led to the expected budget decrease, she said.
Caloia wrote in her budget proposal that Garfield and Rio Blanco county governments asked her to reduce their share because of declining property tax revenue.
“It has been my goal over the last nine months to carefully examine staffing needs and to make adjustments,” she said in an Oct. 8 memo to Pitkin County commissioners. Some of the adjustments allowed her to decrease the size of the staff.
Garfield County contributes more than 70 percent of the district attorney’s office budget in 2014, Caloia said.
Garfield County also carries the highest caseload in the district, with 330 felony cases until the first week of October this year. Comparatively, Pitkin County had 55, and Rio Blanco had 30.
In the Glenwood Springs office, Caloia said she was able to save money by “consolidating the duties” of an attorney and staff worker.
A significant capital expense being considered by the Garfield County commissioners is a $650,000 office renovation in the county courthouse building.
The investment is intended to free up more space for new District Judge John Neiley, and to improve the DA’s office space, according to Garfield County Manager Andrew Gorgey.
In Pitkin County, the DA’s office still has two fulltime deputy district attorneys — Andrea Bryan, who handles felonies, and Jason Slothouber, who deals with misdemeanor cases.
But Caloia noted that she rotates them into the Glenwood Springs staff one day per week “to meet other staffing needs and effectively use all resources.”
Rio Blanco County deputy attorneys also are assigned to work in Glenwood Springs to meet the office’s needs, she said.
— Glenwood Springs Post Independent reporter John Stroud contributed to this report.