Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner speaks during the annual State of the County event Friday night at Holiday Inn. The event drew more than 80 people, a smaller crowd than last year, attendees said.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner speaks during the annual State of the County event Friday night at Holiday Inn. The event drew more than 80 people, a smaller crowd than last year, attendees said.

County to continue streamlining services in 2012

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“The sign above my door reads ‘to serve the people of Moffat County. That is what your commissioners were elected to do and that is what we will continue to do.”

— Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner

As state and federal politicians continue to struggle with balancing their budgets, local officials pledged to continue to streamline government services to ensure Moffat County stays in the black.

Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner voiced that sentiment Friday night during the annual State of the County dinner at the Holiday Inn of Craig, 300 S. Colorado Highway 13.

More than 80 people listened to Danner cite the loss of energy impact assistance grants — which at one time funded road, infrastructure and social service projects — as just one of the many signs of a struggling economy.

And as the Feds and state legislators tighten their proverbial belts, Danner said the county must also get creative in how it continues to provide valuable services.

“In order to meet our community needs and maintain a balanced budget, we continue to prioritize and plan effective strategies,” Danner said. “Our 200 plus employees are at the core of how Moffat County provides excellent service.”

Rather than allow the county to run a deficit in a time of decreased assistance from the state and federal governments, Danner said the Moffat County Commission adopted a strategic plan to help streamline intergovernmental departments to make them more efficient and less costly.

The plan is broken up into three pieces — continue to develop a strong energy based economy, maintain a balanced regulatory environment, and develop an effective and efficient government.

“We are working with our department heads and other elected officials to find those efficiencies in costs, staffing and effectively provide services,” Danner said.

The financial overview of the county was up and down in 2011, which ultimately resulted in a fairly flat budget going into this year, Danner said.

Danner pointed to the fact total revenue decreased between 2010 and 2011 by 8.2 percent, or $2.9 million, and spending increased by four percent, or $1.4 million.

What kept the county afloat was the energy industry, Danner said, which helped offset the ebbs and flows of the 2011 budget and allowed the county to increase spending on capital improvement projects by $3.5 million without Energy Impact Grant assistance.

“It has become clear that we will not be able to depend on energy impact grant assistance in the foreseeable future,” Danner said. “But, we will continue capital improvement projects this year.”

Danner said conservative budgeting in 2011 was rewarded with higher revenues than anticipated.

Some of those funds are being used in 2012 on improvements to Shadow Mountain, increased recreation opportunities through improved river access on the east side of Ranney St., and improved access to government documents both in house and online.

“The sign above my door reads ‘to serve the people of Moffat County,’” Danner said. “That is what your commissioners were elected to do and that is what we will continue to do.”

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