Commissioners adopt Garfield County's 2014 budget
December 9, 2013
GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County adopted its 2014 budget Monday, December 9, and appropriated $126,770,360 in expenditures. Estimated operating revenues exceeded proposed operating expenditures by approximately $7 million, resulting in a balanced budget. Commissioners approved the 2014 budget at a regular commission meeting hosted in the Silt Municipal Building, one of four meetings held in communities across the county each year.
“The 2014 budget is a comprehensive review of revenue versus expenditures,” said John Martin, chair of Board of County Commissioners, “our emphasis is not on overspending. We have created a balanced budget that we can all live with.”
There is a decrease of approximately two percent in the operating budget as compared to 2013, with the majority of elected offices and administrative departments making reductions. Personnel costs were also reduced, despite increases in expenses related to health insurance and workers compensation claims. These costs include a three percent performance-based pay increase to be considered for approval in March 2014. Garfield County’s staffing level will be 485 employees for 2014, a decrease of one full-time employee from 2013.
Public hearings on the 2014 budget produced only minor changes in the overall expenditures and reflected a realignment in capital project priorities. The capital expenditures for 2014 have increased approximately $30 million, with the main focus on road and bridge projects and the fairground facilities. The budget for 2014 results in a projected total fund balance at the end of 2014 in excess of $103 million.
“I am pleased with the work that the county elected officials and department heads did,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “We started in October on this process, knowing we would have reduced revenues in 2014. All of our department heads took our direction with good proposed budgets, so we were able to reduce our operating budget and come up with a balanced budget.”
Property tax revenue will decrease for 2014 by 26 percent or about $14 million. This can be largely attributed to the decline in the price of natural gas. Sales tax revenue is estimated to increase in 2014 by 18 percent. This can be attributed to the general improvement of the economy. The mill levy remains unchanged in 2014, which, with a decrease in assessed property values, will result in citizens paying less in property tax.
“Once again, Garfield County has balanced its budget,” Mike Samson, commissioner, stated. “I believe that it is the most responsible thing to do, and I am proud to state the mill levy has not increased, and remains at 13.655.”
The 2014 Garfield County proposed budget is available online at garfield-county.com/finance. The final budget book will be finalized and printed in coming weeks.