County approves $48 million budget |

County approves $48 million budget

The Garfield County Commissioners approved a $48.6 million budget for 2004 on Monday.

Big-ticket items include:

– $1 million to upgrade County Road 319.

– $500,000 to fix drainage problems on Four Mile Road south of Glenwood Springs.

– $400,000 to upgrade County Road 233, and $236,000 to upgrade County Road 336.

– $400,000 for improvements to the indoor arena at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.

The county will fund the arena improvements with Colorado lottery funds, or a Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant, county manager Ed Green told the commissioners.

The proposed property tax levy of 13.6 mills, which the commissioners expect to certify Thursday, remains the same as 2003.

The county’s $48.6 million budget is based on projected revenues of $44.1 million. The $4.5 million shortfall will be covered by dipping into the county’s $22 million reserve fund.

During budget hearings in November, County Commissioner Larry McCown said if the revenue shortages continue next year, “some sacrifices will have to be made.”

County finance director Jesse Smith said 350 natural gas wells that are scheduled for drilling in 2004 will start contributing to the property tax rolls in 2005. To control costs in the meantime, the county’s 2004 budget calls for no new employment positions.

Despite next year’s tight budget, the county will still commit $100,000 to battle the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

The county commissioners approved the 2004 budget without comment Monday.

In other business from Monday’s meeting, the commissioners voted 3-0 to approve an intergovernmental agreement to establish the Interstate 70 Central Mountain Transportation Corridor Coalition.

The coalition will include towns and counties in Garfield, Gilpin, Clear Creek, Grand, Summit, Park, Lake, Eagle and Pitkin counties.

One of the coalition’s main goals is to prepare locally preferred alternative transportation plans for the I-70 corridor that can be presented to the Colorado Department of Transportation, according to the intergovernmental agreement.

The commissioners made clear they are not committing any funds to the coalition at this time.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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