Moffat County Board of County Commissioners: County has set priority to increase reserves
Craig Dear Moffat County Citizens,
This letter is in response to the Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008, Editorial Board article title "Funding Inaction."
Moffat County has set the priority in the last several years to increase reserves to a fiscally responsible level of 30 to 40 percent of operating expenditures.
The percent of reserves is not only a standard for small governments but also a strong recommendation from our auditing firm.
The purpose of having reserves for Moffat County is two-fold.
Moffat County does not receive its largest revenue source, property tax, until the end of February each year with the balance due in June.
Without fund balances of at least three months operating, Moffat County would have to halt operations due to inadequate cash flows.
Moffat County also has to be prepared for unforeseeable events due mainly to either the economy or disasters (natural or manmade).
The loss of one of Moffat County's top 10 taxpayers, which comprise 70 percent of the total property tax collected, could range from $656,428 to $5,388,964 in lost tax dollars to the community each year based on the 2007 assessed values.
It would take several years of increased sales tax revenue due to increased retail business to offset the loss of one top 10 taxpayer.
This is not saying that Moffat County is not supportive of increased retail growth; it does, however, mean that because Moffat County does have adequate reserves, they will be able to sustain the current level of services until sales tax offsets the possible loss of property taxes.
Moffat County must also have funding reserved for disasters.
The major disaster that Moffat County is faced with on a yearly basis is wildland fires.
The Thomas Fire in 2006 burned 3,347 acres with a total cost of $900,000.
Moffat County was responsible for $85,000, which included in-kind and cash support.
Moffat County has to have reserves in place to cover the cost of wildland fires, which can range in the hundreds of thousands dollars.
Moffat County does see the importance of balancing reserves with that of addressing public projects.
Moffat County is constantly looking at ways to capitalize on our tax dollars with other grant funding sources.
In 2007 Moffat County with other grant sources spent $2.9 million on facility improvements and road maintenance.
These projects included reconstruction of the apron at the Craig-Moffat County Airport, chip-seal of County Road 57, overlay of a portion of County Road 4 and all of the By-Pass (County Road 183 and 7), paving of the Dinosaur Library parking lot, a new elevator at the courthouse and a new poultry/rabbit building at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.
Moffat County has budgeted another $2.2 million for 2008 facility improvements.
The 2008 funding includes the addition of RV hook-ups at the Fairgrounds, roof repairs and replacements at the courthouse, social services, the Lutrell barn and Shadow Mountain, a new handicap accessible dock at Loudy Simpson Park and improvements to the ice arena, including heating and shower facilities.
Moffat County has also applied for several grants to fund additional county road asphalt overlay projects, a new terminal building at the Craig- Moffat County Airport and two new soccer fields at Loudy-Simpson Park.
The purpose of Moffat County government is to protect life and property and allow for economic growth.
Moffat County allows for economic growth with fair and equitable planning, zoning and building policies, road infrastructure, parks and recreation facilities and many other services.
It is the duty of the county to serve the taxpayers with the highest level of service without increasing taxes.
Moffat County provides excellent benefits and compensation for county employees while continuing to increase employee recognition and participation.
Moffat County will continue to keep 30 percent fund balance in all funds with an additional 10 percent emergency reserve in the General Fund not only because it is a sound financial practice, but also because we want to be able to offer sustainable services to the citizens of Moffat County.
Moffat County Board of County Commissioners