Moffat County budget could increase in 2012

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At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Heard a 2011 investigative update on the All Crimes Enforcement Team from commander Marv Cameron and officer Ryan Hess.

• Approved, 3-0, allowing the Natural Resources Department and the Museum of Northwest Colorado to bid for an independent contractor to update the county’s mineral ownership records.

• Approved, 3-0, the hiring of two part-time data entry clerks to update mineral books for the assessor’s office.

• Approved, 3-0, hiring a child support case manager for social services.

Moffat County could have a slight increase in funds in 2012, according to a proposed budget presentation made Tuesday before the county commission.

Moffat County budget analyst Tinneal Gerber said work on the 2012 budget began in June, keeping in mind Moffat County’s ideals for the future including a balanced regulatory environment, a strong, energy-based economy and effective and efficient government.

The proposed budget tops out at $73,120,762, which is $2.58 million, or 4 percent, higher than in 2011.

Gerber said the increased funds are due in part to the reorganization of some county departments.

According to the budget presentation, Moffat County reorganized staff in the grounds and buildings departments and combined them with the housing authority and parks and recreation to create the facilities department to enhance efficiencies.

Gerber said other county departments have and will continue to review operations through 2012 to identify additional cost effective reorganization possibilities.

The increased budget is also due to the lack of energy impact grants that have funded one-time capital improvement programs in the past such as upgrades and maintenance to the transportation infrastructure, equipment replacement and county facilities.

In keeping with the philosophy of the commission, capital improvements may be paid for with surplus money from the previous year’s general fund, which –– if current trends continue –– could total more than $3.8 million.

Possible capital projects are:

• Improvements to Shadow Mountain curbs, gutters and roads.

• New windows, multi-zone units and furnaces at the courthouse.

• Structural rehabilitation to the Luttrell Barn.

• Software upgrades for the assessor’s office.

• Chip seal projects on First Street, County Lane, County Road 4 and County Road 7/183

In addition to the overall budget increase, the general fund, which finances a variety of traditional governmental services, could also see a 1-percent increase in 2012.

Commissioner Tom Gray said next year’s increased budget can be attributed to department officials working together.

“I appreciate the work that has been done between departments and with elected officials,” Gray said. “It’s pretty nice to work with people who are all on the same team.”

Although Moffat County will be able to continue to offer the same services through next year, Gerber said the proposed budget is based on flat economic conditions and future funds are projected to drop slightly from 2013 through 2015.

“Our budget is going to be moving,” commissioner Audrey Danner said. “In some places it looks like it is going up, but I would say we’re on a downward trend.”

Gerber said a public notice will be issued to inform residents that the proposed budget has been presented to the county commissioners and should be available for viewing on the county website before the end of the week.

A public hearing will take place in November before a final budget can be adopted before Dec. 15.

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