County Commission Chambers

County commissioners will return to in-person meetings for budget discussions.

Budget season is here, and Teton County officials will meet in person as they begin crunching the numbers.

That’s a departure from the past few months, which have seen the Teton County Board of County Commissioners meet virtually as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

Commission Chairwoman Natalia D. Macker pitched the change during the board’s Monday voucher meeting, looking to make it easier for board members to be on the same page while combing through the financial minutia.

But she told the News&Guide afterward that the public is “still encouraged” to attend virtually because the board won’t be taking public comment at those meetings.

Other board meetings — its regular Monday and Tuesday meetings — will continue virtually, but voucher meetings on the same day as budget meetings will be in person.

Teton County and the town of Jackson both work on a fiscal year that will begin July 1 and end June 30, 2022. That period will commonly be referred to as the “2022 fiscal year.”

Budget meetings can be dry — no doubt about it — but they’re also important. The meetings are fertile ground for substantive policy discussion, and action taken in the meetings can have ripple effects for a long time.

At this time last year, for example, Board of County Commissioners and the Jackson Town Council were both worried about a pandemic-induced decline in travel and, consequently, a 50% decline in sales tax revenue, which is a major source of revenue for both governments’ budgets.

That led both boards to ask departments to cut their budgets. Officials have spent the better part of the past year grappling with a better-than-expected revenue performance and its implications for public services.

A tentative schedule of coming budget talks are as follows:

  • General budget meeting, 10:30 a.m. April 19 in the commissioners’ chambers, 200 S. Willow St.
  • General budget meeting, 9 a.m. April 20 in the commissioners’ chambers.
  • General budget meeting, 9 a.m. April 22 in the commissioners’ chambers.
  • General budget meeting, 10 a.m. April 26 in the commissioners’ chambers.
  • Joint department budget meeting 9 a.m. April 28 This meeting will include the Jackson Town Council and will be virtual.
  • Joint health and human services, community development budget meeting, 9 a.m. April 29. This meeting will include the Jackson Town Council and will be virtual.

This article has been updated with new times and dates for budget meetings. — Ed.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

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