Garfield County approves 2018 budget

Departments, offices work to achieve balanced operating budget

November 20, 2017

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. – Garfield County has approved a fiscally conservative, balanced projected budget for 2018. The budget includes $83 million for operations and $14.1 million in capital projects.

The $104.8 million projected budget also includes $8.6 million in discretionary expenditures, and projects the county’s 2018 year-end fund balances at roughly $102.7 million – a drawdown of $16.3 million from 2017.

Revenues in 2017 were down $2.6 million from projections, mainly due to lower property tax collections.

County offices and departments presented lean budgets to the Board of County Commissioners this fall, helping to achieve the balanced budget. The overall county full-time employee head count decreased by three to 513 from the 2017 adopted budget. Projected operating revenues are expected to exceed expenditures by $175,000 in 2018.

“This budget addresses all of our visions, our priorities, and our goals, and serves as a blueprint for action,” said County Manager Kevin Batchelder. “This will be the third straight year of a fiscally conservative budget, where we have held the line, given the revenue situation. Despite reduced revenues, we’ve been able to maintain our service levels.”

He added that departments and offices were able to tighten their belts in order to ensure a balanced operating budget in 2018.

“I’m particularly grateful that our department directors and elected officials were able to come in with very conservative budget requests,” Batchelder said. “This allowed our budget committee to close what was at one time a $1.8 million gap.”

The budget includes $53.4 million in the general fund; $20.1 million in the human services fund; $14.1 million in the road and bridge fund; and nearly $3.6 million in the public health fund.

Planned capital projects include asphalt paving ($3.2 million); a snow-removal equipment facility at the Rifle Garfield County Airport ($1 million); fog sealing of the airport runway ($704,000); and heavy equipment replacements ($1,275,000 for a dozer, loader, tandem plow, and track hoe). The commissioners approved the budget unanimously, and thanked staff for its hard work.

“Hopefully, we can live within this budget with very few changes,” “said Commissioner John Martin. “There might be some unanticipated revenue, you never know. Hopefully, that will take place.”