GarCo approves budget
The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners on Monday adopted the county’s 2015 budget, with $127.9 million appropriated for expenditure in 2015. Operating revenues exceed operating expenditures by approximately $7 million.
The 2015 budget actually is less than 2014’s total of $132 million, mainly because of lower anticipated capital spending, and year-end fund balances are projected to be at $102 million.
An 8 percent revenue increase over 2014 is expected, with total county revenues at approximately $106 million in 2015. The revenue increase is primarily a result of increased property and sales tax collections.
The budget reflects a 10 percent increase in property tax revenue, stemming from higher assessed valuations in Garfield County. This is a promising offset of the 2014 budget season, which had suffered a 26-percent decrease in revenue. The higher operating revenues will be used to pay for capital projects and provide discretionary funding in 2015.
The budget proposed appropriations of approximately $89 million for operations, $26 million for capital, and $5.5 million for discretionary expenditures. Proposed expenditures will include approximately $13 million from projects budgeted in 2014 that will continue into 2015.
Proposed capital projects for 2015 consist of road and bridge, airport, landfill and fairgrounds projects. The budget reduction of nearly 6 percent, or $7 million, from 2014 is because significant road and bridge infrastructure projects were completed this year.
A 6 percent increase over 2014 in authorized employee head count will bring the 2015 total to 495 employees. The increase will be in Department of Human Services staffing driven by increased Medicaid caseloads under the Affordable Care Act, and will be paid for by federal funds.
The 2015 budget has moderate increases in operating expenditures, staffing levels and personnel costs, which include increases in health insurance costs, a 3-percent performance-based pay increase and contingencies.
Citizens can review the 2015 budget online at http://www.garfield-county.com.
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