Moffat County Commission approves 2013 proposed budget

Budget 900K lighter than 2012, outlines numerous capital improvement projects

Moffat County Commission issues FOIA request to BLM

The Moffat County Commission unanimously approved today issuing a Freedom of Information Act request to the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office.

The letter, addressed to Wendy Reynolds, Little Snake Field Office field manager, requests copies of all records in reference to the Vermillion Basin’s designation as a Land with Wilderness Character as identified in the 2011 Little Snake Record of Decision and Approved Resource Management Plan.

The county has requested all documents dating back to 1996.

The request was made in connection with the Moffat County Land Use Board’s recommendation to the county commissioners to seek legal counsel and determine the viability of a lawsuit against the federal government over the Vermillion Basin’s wilderness designation.

Before the 2011 resource management plan received final approval the county and the Little Snake Field Office agreed on a one percent drilling compromise in the Vermillion Basin.

That compromise was later overturned by the BLM’s federal office in Washington D.C.

The FOIA letter also requests all records beginning in 1987 referencing segments of the Yampa River that were recommended for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic River System, which were also identified in the 2011 resource management plan.

In other action...

At its regularly scheduled meeting today, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, a contract for medical services for Moffat County Public Safety Center inmates featuring a one percent increase in cost.

• Approved, 3-0, participating in annual Moffat County United Way fundraiser.

• Heard road and bridge department monthly report.

• Approved, 3-0, hiring a full-time heavy equipment operator for the road and bride department.

• Approved, 3-0, amendment to a conditional use permit for Northwest Redi Mix at the Wand Pit.

The 2013 Moffat County budget may be less than 2012’s, but the Moffat County Commission plans to continue its ambitious schedule of capital improvement projects next year.

Mindy Curtis, Moffat County finance director, today presented the commission with the 2013 proposed budget, which totals $82,855,915 — a decrease of $904,716 over last year.

Though the majority of her discussion highlighted infrastructure and community improvement projects slated to take place in 2013, Curtis cited flat revenues and a drop in the county’s overall valuation in 2012 for the decreased budget.

Among some of the proposed projects are curb, gutter and road improvements to Shadow Mountain and continued energy upgrades as specified in the county’s energy audit.

The $2.5 million earmarked for Shadow Mountain improvements is a carryover from the 2012 budget.

Also on the list of proposed capital improvement projects are improvements to the ice arena and pond at Loudy-Simpson Park; general upgrades to a variety of county buildings; asphalt projects for Moffat County Roads 4 and 41; chip sealing for CR 7; and technology upgrades including GIS mapping systems and software upgrades to improve file sharing among county departments.

The commission approved the proposed budget, 3-0.

Though disappointed in the slight budget dip, Commissioner Tom Gray said Moffat County’s fiscal outlook is much better than a lot of other counties in the state.

“As you talk to counties around the state, many of them are still making cuts in the wake of another wave of foreclosures,” he said. “Resort counties, where 70 plus percent of their assessed value is residential property — those million dollar mansions on the hill — are really struggling.”

Now that the proposed budget is approved, it is available for public review and comment.

The 2013 proposed budget may be downloaded online at the Moffat County web site. Hard copies may also be requested through Curtis in the finance office at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way.

The commission will approve a final version of the budget on or before the Dec. 15 deadline.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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