Garfield County commissioners approve 2016 budget

Law offers tax relief to senior citizen property owners

November 17, 2015

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) adopted the 2016 budget on Monday, November 16, 2015. In total, $107,032,829 was appropriated for expenditure in 2016.

Revenues for 2016 are projected to be approximately $105 million, similar levels to those of 2015. While property tax revenues are projected to increase by seven percent in 2016, this is offset by a decrease in intergovernmental grants related to capital expenditures.

Operating revenues exceed operating expenditures by approximately $9.6 million. Excess operating revenues will be used to fund capital projects and provide discretionary funding in 2016.

There will be a decrease in expenditures of approximately $25 million, or 19 percent, from the 2015 amended budget. The 2016 budget proposed appropriations of approximately $90.6 million for operations, $9 million for capital, and $4 million for discretionary expenditures. Proposed capital projects for 2016 consist of road and bridge, airport, landfill, and fairgrounds projects. The decrease of nearly seventy percent, or $21 million, is because significant road and bridge and airport infrastructure projects were completed in 2015. Additionally, the majority of construction for the new administration building in Rifle will be completed in 2015.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said, “Note that this will give us reserves of $109.5 million dollars with the projections that were provided.”

Beginning in September, the county’s elected officials participated in individual budget planning meetings. A budget review committee, composed of Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, Acting County Manager Kevin Batchelder, and Finance Director Ann Driggers conducted a line-item review of the budget with each county administrative department.

During the budget approval hearing Monday, Commissioner Mike Samson stated, “A lot of work has gone into this, and as all three of us (commissioners) have said, this is beginning of the tightening, and next year will be the real test.”

A one percent increase in authorized employee headcount over 2015 will bring the 2016 total to 513 employees. The majority of the increase in employees will be in Garfield County Department of Human Services staffing, and will be partially paid for by federal funds. As directed, the 2016 budget has moderate increases in operating expenditures, staffing levels, and personnel costs, which include increases in health insurance costs, a three-percent performance-based pay increase, and contingencies.