Commissioners wrapping up budget deliberations | PostIndependent.com
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Commissioners wrapping up budget deliberations

by donna gray

The Garfield County Commissioners continued budget deliberations Wednesday, approving a salary for newly elected District Attorney Colleen Truden and fine-tuning expenditures for the road and bridge department. The county commissioners set a $82,380 salary for Truden that will be split between the three counties in the 9th Judicial District, Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco.Truden will replace District Attorney Mac Myers who reached his term limits this year. Myers, who makes $80,000 a year, advised the commissioners in a budget hearing last month that his successor must have a starting salary of $67,000, as mandated by the state. Garfield County pays 68 percent of that salary, with smaller contributions from Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties in the 9th Judicial District.Truden came under fire during the pre-election campaign from opponent Lawson Wills who said she lacked prosecutorial experience. Truden, who was a municipal judge in Glenwood Springs, said she plans to spend the majority of her time as a manager and do little actual trial work. “I know my experience has been in question,” Truden said at Wednesday’s budget hearing. “I have 24 years criminal justice experience … and a master’s in public policy.” The commissioners also took a hard look at the road and bridge department’s almost $9 million budget.Among the big ticket items in expenses for 2005, road and bridge will spend about $2.3 million on maintenance projects including asphalt overlays and patching, chip sealing, gravel, culverts, road striping, dust retardant, road signs and guardrails. It also has a number of major projects in the works. Two sites of former county shops in Rifle and Silt that are no longer in use are subjects of extensive clean-ups involving stored gasoline that has seeped into soils and groundwater. The department will spend more than $400,000 on the Rifle site and $50,000 in Silt.Improvements to County Road 117 (Four Mile) and its intersection with County Road 116 will total about $725,000. Approximately $325,000 has been projected for repairs to the Crystal River Bridge at the intersection of Highways 82 and 133 in Carbondale.A retaining wall on County 109 is expected to run the county about $391,000.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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