Natalia D. Macker

Natalia D. Macker

Despite a precipitous decline in government spending this year, officials stressed last week that core services will largely be maintained.

Teton County Board of County Commissioners Chair Natalia D. Macker said county commissioners worked to reduce spending as needed in a way that the public wouldn’t feel the pinch.

“The snow will still be plowed,” she said.

Macker spoke July 2, along with the town’s Vice Mayor Hailey Morton Levinson, to community members gathered virtually for the July Business over Breakfast, a monthly networking event hosted by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. The town and county had both just finalized their budgets for the 2021 fiscal year, which starts in July.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, both entities made their plans anticipating a 50% decline in sales and lodging tax revenue, which makes up a greater share of the town’s revenue than the county’s.

In the last year, the town budgeted for spending an estimated $24.8 million from its general fund. This year, it plans to spend about $17.5 million, approximately a 30% decrease.

The county will also trim general fund spending from about $45 million to $36.5 million, about a 19% cut.

The valley’s two government agencies were, however, able to fully fund requests from human services organizations like the Senior Center of Jackson Hole and Jackson Hole Community Counseling Center.

Both officials also pointed to funding set aside for community goals: money for stormwater master planning on the town side and water quality initiatives for the county.

“You have to respond to the crisis at hand, but also not forget about our long-term visions,” Morton Levinson said, describing the budgeting process as a balance of “responding to now and cutting expenses, but not losing sight of where we’re headed.”

Read more about the decline of government spending in the valley in this week's News&Guide.

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

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