Delta County Commissioners Doug Atchley, Don Suppes and Mark Roeber held a public hearing for the proposed 2019 budget on Monday, Dec. 3.
The 2019 budget will be adopted by the commissioners at 9 a.m. on Dec. 10.
County administrator Robbie LeValley said in 2018 Delta County experienced sales tax revenue increases of approximately 4.45 percent, when compared to the five-year rolling average. Recently state indicators show a slowing economy, and the projected 2019 sales tax revenue will mirror the 2018 actual receipts.
LeValley said Delta County Commissioners, administration and staff will continue to focus on the community and the local economy by providing a strong foundation and economic development initiatives.
The 2019 Capital Improvement Plan provides for critical projects, such as roads and bridges.
In the State of Colorado, providing courtrooms and related space falls to the counties, a state unfunded mandate. Providing for improvements and expansion of the courthouse campus complex is included in the 2019 budget.
The cost of health insurance for employees increased by 5 percent for 2019. Previous years have seen double digit increases each year. Commissioner Atchley said cost of health insurance is a challenge, and usage is considered when the company sets the rate. LeValley noted that county utilization has not been as high in 2018 as in past years.
The county covers the cost of health insurance for the employee, but not the employee's family, although the family can buy into the plan.
The proposed budget includes a 3 percent cost of living increase for employees. The salaries of elected officials are set by the state, therefore elected officials do not receive cost of living increases.
Total revenues for 2019 are budgeted at $34,592,054.
Key revenue assumptions are as follows: sales tax, $5,000,248; property tax, $5,018,947; Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), $969,432, (the actual amount received in 2018); and Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF), $2,889,757. In addition, $526,106 will be available from Senate Bill 1 funding.
The recommended appropriations in the proposed overall budget are $34,784,805.
LeValley said, "Thanks to responsible fiscal management and thoughtful stewardship of taxpayer dollars, Delta County continues to have a healthy fund balance.
"During the recession, and the subsequent impact of coal mine closures, Delta County successfully cut costs, and limited spending reserves to keep the county's budget balanced. As a result, the county remains in a healthy financial position in spite of a decade of economic challenges and flat revenues."
Overall fund balances are budgeted to be at a minimum of 29 percent of appropriations, which is in line with policy and recommended practice from Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The General Fund reserve is 29.4 percent of projected expenditures.
The only exceptions for requirement for a fund balance are Human Services and the Health Department, which are primarily funded by the State of Colorado.
The budget was prepared by county elected officials and department heads and reviewed, revised and assembled by the administration office, in conjunction with a countywide interdepartmental budget team, under the supervision and guidance of the Board of County Commissioners.
The proposed budget is available at www.deltacounty.com and is available in hardcopy at the Delta County Courthouse, Room 227.
On Dec. 2, officers of the Delta Police Department responded to a report of an assault. Officers spoke with a 64-year-old male with a bleeding injury on his neck.