The Board of County Commissioners held its annual public hearing on the 2013 budget on Dec. 3 and formally adopted the document at its Dec. 17 meeting.
The budget document calls for $25.4 million in total spending authorization.
As in years past, the county's financial standing is underpinned during 2013 by its extremely low debt level. The county pays $82,400 annually on a five-year lease purchase agreement for heavy equipment used in its landfill operations. The total amount of that obligation is $412,000.
Other than that equipment purchase, there is an outstanding balance of $23,505 owed on an original 2005 obligation of $335,500 to buy property near the courthouse for future expansion.
Presentation of the budget document was accompanied by an explanation of its key features from County Administrator Robbie LeValley. Among the main points in LeValley's budget message were the following ones:
• An employee wage freeze that was adopted in 2008 and that took effect in 2009 will be relieved next year. "The 2013 budget proposes a one-percent across-the-board wage adjustment (increase) for all employees effective Jan. 1, 2013," the budget message states.
In addition, some county employees will become eligible for a "market-based" wage adjustment. No new hiring other than personnel replacement is projected under the 2013 budget.
• Inflation is showing up in the county's sales tax collections as receipts, at 4.5 percent ahead of last year, running 2.5 percent ahead of projections for 2012. The 2013 county budget projects an additional 2 percent increase over 2012 results.
• The county is projecting property tax revenue of $4.6 million in 2013, estimated on a mil levy of 14.562. The 2013 property tax estimate is somewhat higher than the $4.48 million that was projected in the 2012 budget.
• The budget summary shows severance tax receipts projected at $100,000 in 2013, down from an estimated $180,000 in 2012. The severance tax figure is based on projections from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Federal mineral lease revenues are estimated at $225,000, also down from the 2012 estimated figure of $775,000.
• There is $3.5 million set-aside in a reserve account for "the anticipated future expansion of the (jail and courts) to provide for criminal justice and judicial services to be located in a secure facility segregated from the existing courthouse facility." The expansion is envisaged in a two- to seven-year future time frame.
• Capital projects for the coming year include possible replacement of the Escalante Bridge, maintenence and improvement projects at Blake Field and the North Fork Airport, and county computer system upgrades.
Also projected for 2013 are improvements to the county's Maloney Property at the county fairgrounds. The work is expected to include con- struction of a pedestrian and bike path, remodeling to accommodate office and meeting room space, and $25,000 for work on an irrigation system as part of a small acreage demonstration project.blog comments powered by Disqus