Grand Junction faces a projected $2 million shortfall this year and next. With options dwindling, the city is now offering incentives to staffers who are willing to retire early, reduce their hours, or take unpaid leave.
The city has already postponed construction projects and eliminated some vacant positions to keep this year’s budget balanced.
City Manager Greg Caton says Grand Junction’s problems are rooted in the decline in oil and gas production, which has meant lower severance tax and sales tax revenues for the city.
"What we need is assistance from a larger, macro-level to continue to diversify our economy here on the Western Slope," he said.
In the meantime, Caton is also starting to talk to citizens about whether they would support exempting the city from some financial limits imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.