Looking east from the Aspen Green subdivision (January 2023).
Editor’s note from the February 2023 print issue
To Our Readers — It’s easy to see signs of construction around Jefferson County, but harder to know how it all adds up. Last year, when The Observer looked at the numbers for 2021, the pace of construction had gone up significantly compared to previous years. The spike in mortgage interest rates last summer might have caused a slowdown in sales but it was only temporary as the new numbers by the end of 2022 were even higher than the year before [link].
The County Commission is looking ahead to more big changes in 2023 when it starts its budget discussions in February. As of March 1, the county’s ambulance service is scheduled to reorganize into a county department with an expanded staff. Along with all of the existing county departments and agencies, this new department will need to support cost of living increases for staff to address inflation and ensure the county is able to recruit and retain qualified people. Property taxes from new development will add some funding to the budget, but the overall growth in property tax revenues are capped by state law, so the Commission may have some tough choices to make.
As the Commission looks to its staff to assist in budget planning, they will see a lot of new faces, having cycled through a second County Administrator in less than a year and a Deputy Administrator and Finance Director who were both hired within the past six months. We’ll see soon how all this change works out.Steve Pearson