County commissioners adopt 2012 budget
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Garfield County commissioners on Monday adopted a $118 million county budget for 2012, following an extensive line-by-line review by the commissioners over the past two months.
“I want to thank you for bearing with us,” Garfield Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Chairman John Martin relayed to county staff. “I know it was difficult, but we accomplished what we set out to do, which is a balanced budget.”
The budget review process resulted in more than $4.1 million being trimmed from the original proposal presented by county department heads in September.
The 2012 budget includes a $47 million general fund. Other major fund appropriations include:
• $21 million for the road and bridge department
• $20.4 million for human services
• $15.6 million for capital projects
• $3.7 million for the Garfield County Regional Airport fund
• $2.6 million for the public health fund
• $2.3 million for the county motor pool
• $2.2 million for solid waste disposal (landfill)
The county is also carrying roughly $106 million in total reserve funds into the new year.
“We have needed to do this for the last several years,” County Administrator Ed Green said of the line-item review process. “We have been sitting on a growth volcano, and have been pushing as many capital projects through as we could. We’re in a different mode now.”
The budget adoption included formal certification of the county mill levy, which remains at 13.656 mills.
Former county assessor Ken Call was the only member of the public to comment on the budget at the public hearing.
Call questioned the county’s policy of saving back five years worth of capital reserve funds. The fund now stands at about $17 million.
Call asked if some of that money could be refunded to taxpayers.
“We’re in tough times, and you’re planning for five years ahead,” Call said. “The private sector is hurting … they can’t plan for tomorrow, let alone five years.”
He suggested the county put a moratorium on any capital improvements until the economy improves.
Commissioner Martin countered, however, that building up the capital savings fund over several years is a more responsible way to fund projects. Otherwise, the county would have to finance projects as they come up, and go into debt.
“That’s why we plan five years ahead,” Martin said. “It is more of a business approach.”
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The Glenwood Springs Fire Department is battling a small blaze on a ridgeline west of Yampah Mountain High School.