Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner delivered a simple message Wednesday night about what the commission’s philosophy was last year.
“Moffat County Commissioners are committed to cost effectively prioritizing revenues and expenditures to reflect our goals,” she said. “And those are, very simply, providing services in a fiscally responsible manner without raising taxes and delivering the highest level of customer service we can within our budget.
“As the governor said, ‘We are going to have to work smarter.’”
Danner gave the State of the County address at the Craig Chamber of Commerce’s State of the County 2011 event.
Danner’s speech detailed a variety of local issues, but focused on the county’s budget, natural resources and planning for the future.
The county, she said, is working on a strategic planning process at the same time it is operating in a “volatile” state and local economy.
“We will prioritize our services and the level of services,” she said. “This planning process will allow us to describe our services and their cost because we know that we use tax dollars to provide those services for all of us to enjoy.
“I know each successful business owner plans for the future. We will do the same.”
Danner said the county has projected budgets out through 2014, and such a process fosters “tough” questions.
“This budget projection is our reality check,” she said. “We must know the impacts of continuing those services that we have always done and we all like to receive.
“This year, we are drawing down our reserve fund to balance our budget and continue services. We will maintain our roads and infrastructure without assistance from energy impact funds this year, as those funds are being used to balance the state budget.”
Natural resources are the “base of our economy,” Danner said.
“We provide energy, agricultural products and recreational fun using natural resources — our land, water, coal, oil and gas,” she said.
Danner said the county commission would carefully monitor carbon sequestration projects in the area.
“We believe clean energy research and development is an opportunity on the horizon,” she said.
She also discussed the importance of coal in the community.
“Proposed legislation and national interest to eliminate coal as a viable economical resource for electricity puts at risk our ability to provide energy for the state and nation,” she said. “We will not choose one resource over another and that includes sun, solar, wind and other natural resources.”
The commission will “continue to focus on state and national legislation affecting our economy and our way of life.”
Danner also said the commission is concerned community work on the issue of energy development in Vermillion Basin will be ignored by the Bureau of Land Management in its resource management plan.
The commission has been “consistently asking Secretary Ken Salazar, Gov. John Hickenlooper and our congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. … to honor the community input,” she said.
Danner also spoke about continuing negotiations between the city and county regarding the Craig Police Department’s space inside the Moffat County Public Safety Center.
“We maintain that keeping all public safety providers together at the public safety center is important,” she said. “Our discussions with the city of Craig are productive and we will reach a mutually beneficial solution.”
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