401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

County begins 2019 budget with rebounding economy

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On Aug. 30, county administrator Robbie LeValley met with department directors to begin the process of formulating the county's 2019 budget. The county commissioners were also in attendance.

The county's budget consists of multiple funds and different revenue sources to provide funding for the many county departments.

The major county funds are General Fund, Human Services Fund, Road and Bridge Fund and Capital Improvements Fund. The county has 13 smaller funds, such as Economic Development, Self Insurance and Fairgrounds. The county has two enterprise funds, Landfill Operations Fund and E911 Fund which are supported by user fees.

LeValley said, "As the county heads into the 2019 budget process the economy in Delta County is moving toward the positive. Sales tax revenues are up, new construction has increased around the county, and the county's population is beginning to rebound.

"In 2015 the county's population was 29,973, down from a peak of 30,889. In 2017 the county's population rebounded to 30,578. We still have challenges though; property tax revenues continue to decline because of the Gallagher Amendment."

LeValley noted that in 2017 Delta County spent just over $22 million and collected $23 million in revenues from taxes, state and federal payments, and user fees.

"The county is on track to spend a similar amount in 2918," LeValley said.

As of the end of 2017, the fund balances for all Delta County governmental funds totaled $18.7 million. This fund balance is broken into four categories:

Restricted: Funds cannot be spent except in accordance with state law.

Committed: Funds can only be spent for specific purposes as approved by the voters, state, or county.

Assigned: Funds that are for specific purposes, but not formally committed.

Unrestricted: That portion of the county's "savings account" which is not restricted, committed or assigned.

LeValley said, "Out of the $18.7 million in fund balance the county has, 28 percent is currently unrestricted, just above the county's policy of maintaining at least 25 percent fund balance."

Of the county's $18.7 million fund balance, approximately 5 percent is restricted by state law:

Contingency Fund -- TABOR emergency, $525,000.

Conservation Trust Fund -- Lottery proceeds, $529,489.

Total restricted -- $1,054,489.

LeValley said, "One of the long-standing goals of the county is to avoid taking on debt. Delta County does have short term leases on equipment and vehicles, but the county has no long-term debt obligations."

Department directors will be meeting with LeValley and accounting director Margaret Davey in the upcoming weeks in preparing their portion of the Delta County 2019 budget.

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