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Cuts include development authority
Commission approves budget for 2012
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The 2012 budget approved by Dawson County commissioners does not include funding for the local development authority.

The $140,000 intended for the group instead will go to buy four new patrol cars for the sheriff's office.

The commission voted 4-0 on Sept. 1 to approve the measure and the $20.9 million budget, which maintains the county's hiring freeze and for the fourth year does not include a cost-of-living raise for employees.

The motion involving the authority's funding came from Commissioner James Swafford.

The county had intended to lease five new patrol cars over a three-year period.

"Although this proposed amendment would reduce the number of vehicles to be purchased, it eliminates the need to finance by paying outright in 2012," Swafford said.

"My concern is debt to the county. If we can do some without the debt, that's my goal."

Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the development authority, said the loss of funding will not affect operations or the projects the group has under way.

"I want to let the businesses that we are working with understand very clearly that the development authority is still in business," Auvermann said.

"And the businesses that we are working on specific projects on in Dawson County for, that's going to continue in a seamless manner."

The development authority helps recruit business and industry to the area.

The authority is also allowed to own property and issue private bonds for specific projects.

"Long term, the development authority has been working on being self-funded," Auvermann said.

"We're not completely there yet, but we expect to have some announcements in the next three or four months."

In approving the 2012 budget, which is down about 4 percent from 2011, the commission also voted to increase the fire department's budget by $50,000 for lease principal and interest payments on three new fire engines.

It also decided to transfer $10,000 of hotel/motel taxes intended for the chamber of commerce to the Dawson County Arts Council.

Last month, the commission voted to keep the county's portion of the millage rate at 8.138. The changes made in the budget last week were zero-based.