Dave Fleming thought he understood Moffat County's finances, but he didn't know nearly as much as he thought he did.
"You don't understand it until you dig in and get a chance to get a full picture of what's going on," Fleming said.
For the second consecutive year, Fleming is on the Moffat County citizen budget advisory committee.
The committee has seven members this year, Fleming, Jerry Thompson, Corrie Scott, Don Cook, Mike Brinks, Frank Hanel and Dean Gent.
The committee had its first meeting Monday night at the courthouse.
One of the recommendations from last year's committee was that Moffat County ask the voters to exempt the county's finances from a 5.5 percent growth restriction imposed by a law from 1913.
Under the 1913 law, county revenues are only allowed to grow by 5.5 percent every year. If revenues grow by more than 5.5 percent, the county has to issue refunds of anything above 5.5 percent. For example, if county revenues grow by 10 percent, the county would have to refund 4.5 percent.
Fleming said last year's committee thought allowing the county budget to grow by more than 5.5 percent would allow the county to fix some problems in the budget.
The 5.5 percent question will be on the ballot in November. The referendum -- which would sunset in five years -- would cost a homeowner with a house worth $100,000 about $25 in tax refunds next year. It will add about $1 million to the county's coffers in the first two years.
At Monday's meeting, commissioners and Budget Analyst Tinneal Gerber discussed how the 5.5 percent question will affect the budget if it passes, and if it fails.
Commissioner Tom Gray said the committee might find parts of the budget to cut that the commissioners might not because the commissioners are more attached to county affairs.
"You can get stuck in this courthouse," Gray said. "They can be another set of eyes to look at the numbers."
The committee will meet every week from now until late October.
Gerber will present the county's budget to the commissioners Oct. 11. After that, there will be a public hearing on the budget in November before the commissioners approve the budget in December.
Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or firstname.lastname@example.org.