Garfield County’s 2019 budget shows slight uptick in revenues

Alex Zorn

Garfield County commissioners have begun the process of reviewing and finalizing the 2019 county budget, as each department held public hearings this past week to present budget plans for the commissioners to determine which items will get the green light.

The final budget is expected to be adopted by the commissioners on Nov. 13.

Garfield County Manager Kevin Batchelder said that, through the two days of budget hearings, there have been a number of changes between the proposed budget, which was presented to the board in early October, and what will be considered next month.

Among the changes was a direction from the board to put in an additional four vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office and to include other requests from the sheriff.

Batchelder also said the commissioners directed staff to put in a grant to help pay for new windows at the Sunnyside Retirement Center.

“Today, the board went through the capital budget line item by item. Staff will make appropriate changes directed during public hearing,” he explained. “It is within the board’s discretion to make changes on Nov. 13.”

The board will then choose to adopt the budget or continue to consider it.

The proposed 2019 budget projects just under $90 million in revenue with $101.8 million in expenditures, as the county intends to dip into reserves to make up the difference.

Those numbers would be similar to the current year-end projections for the 2018 budget, which is expected to have $87.3 million in revenue on $102.9 million in expenditures.

As revenue are projected to increase in 2019, personnel costs are expected to increase about 5 percent, as well. The increase is due to a 3.1 percent merit pay increase, 10 percent health insurance increase, and one additional staffer, among other costs.

Batchelder said the county saw a slight uptick in revenue because of increases in oil and gas production, but it is still down from where it was just a few years ago, he said.

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