Delta County can do better
By Matt Soper
Published Thursday, December 21, 2017 7:48 am
Delta County is a wonderful place to work, play, and raise a family. Our county leaders have been wise to maintain a fiscally responsible budget reflecting the fact that our county is still recovering from the financial crisis.
Delta County is the 18th most populace county in Colorado, however, we rank 58th (out of 64) in terms of per capita personal income. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, of the 3,113 counties in the U.S., Delta County was included as one of the 33 which saw a decline in personal income last year.
Recently, I undertook a study to examine how Delta County compares budgetarily to other counties in our general region. Two revelations were observed from this exercise:
Firstly, Delta's per capita rate of government spending is $1,096, which is calculated by dividing the 2018 county government budget by the estimated county population, this produces a rate which allows for comparison. Mesa's rate is $1,071 and Montrose's is $1,720. Other nearby counties have higher rates: Pitkin's is $6,894, Gunnison's is $5,903, San Miguel's is $2,663, and Ouray's is $2,478. Delta and Mesa County's budgets reflect the commissioners' efforts to manage our tax dollars with utmost good faith.
Secondly, many of our neighboring counties have easy-to-understand budget summaries with infographics that help members of the public see where the money is being raised and spent. Delta could improve public education by emulating our neighbors in this area.
Delta County can do better. Our leaders have proven, with limited dollars and a little creativity, they can make government services more efficient for the benefit of the public. If the county is to move beyond the 99th percentile, then, I believe, it will take a new generation of leaders to step up to the plate and bear the responsibility of leading our county into the future.