Garfield County adopts 2013 budget

December 10, 2012

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County adopted its budget and appropriated $116,693,384 for the 2013 fiscal year Monday, December 10. The county’s fund balance will direct discretionary expenditures for specific infrastructure improvements to local municipalities, but it will still retain a projected balance at the end of 2013 in excess of $100 million.

“The 2013 operating and capital budgets are balanced,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said. “I’m pleased with the work our staff has done, and the detailed analysis that went into this.”

Projected revenues for 2013 are expected to decrease by $8.5 million (7%), in large part due to the completion of construction on the West Parachute Interchange, and associated intergovernmental grant revenues during 2012. However, 2013 property tax collections are budgeted to increase $2.3 million or 4%. Human service and other grant allocations will be similar to 2012 amounts.

Sales tax is projected to increase $2 million to $8.5 million (31%), as previous refunds are complete, and investment earnings have increased $370,000 (52%) due to investment of cash in higher-interest securities.

Overall expenditures have decreased $29 million from 2012. Of this, $28 million is attributed to the early payment of Certificates of Participation (COP) financing ($15.7 million) on the Garfield County Administration Building, the Road and Bridge facility on Hunter Mesa, and the Garfield County Jail and Sheriff’s office, as well as an interchange construction project ($12.3 million).

“I’m proud that we’ve balanced the budget again and spent some reserves to pay off our certificates of participation,” said Commissioner Mike Samson. “Regarding budget cuts, it makes sense that we spread the burden throughout the county.”

Discretionary expenditures will increase in 2013 by more than $3 million, due to planned grants to local municipalities. Road & Bridge capital expenditures will increase by $2 million in 2013, as projects on county roads initiated in 2012 are completed in 2013.

The operating budget has decreased by approximately $7.6 million (7%) from the 2012 amended budget, due to various trimming of expenditures countywide, and a decision to fund the Garfield County Air Show every two years, instead of annually.
“We are living up to our responsibility by spending tax revenue in a prudent manner,” said Board Chairman John Martin.

Capital expenditures in support of operations have decreased by over $2 million, including a savings of $647,000, from eliminating interest payments for buildings under the Certificate of Participation financing.

The 2013 county budget maintains a total personnel expenditure matching that of 2012, despite increases in health insurance costs and a budgeted 3% performance pay increase, which the commissioners will review in March of 2013.

“This budget is thoughtful and emphasizes, among other things, strategic planning and thinking,” said Garfield County Manager Andrew Gorgey.

The final budget book will be finalized and printed in coming weeks.