County borrows money to finish safety center |

County borrows money to finish safety center

Tyler Baskfield

Ten million dollars wasn’t enough.

The Moffat County Board of Commissioners voted to increase the amount of money the county is borrowing for the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

George K. Baum & Co., the firm hired to help the county design the safety center bond process, has been asked to find a way for the county to borrow more money. Officials plan to borrow against revenue collected through the county sales tax. Voters agreed to a sales tax reallocation between the city and county in 1998 to fund the construction of the public safety center. The revenue the county is now receiving from that reallocation will be to secure the increase.

The county originally borrowed $10 million using a cash-flow analysis developed by George K. Baum & Co. The county commissioners have now decided to borrow an additional $2.1 million against the sales tax. Of that, $583,000 will be used to complete the safety center and $1 million will be used to complete the county’s telecommunications obligation to the Colorado State Patrol.

The commissioners plan to spend the remaining $1.8 million on other county projects.

Alan Matloz, the county’s representative at George K. Baum & Co., said there was nothing illegal about the move, even if the additional funds went to projects other than the safety center, because residents voted to allow the county to obtain the money. It was not specified that the money had to be used for the safety center.

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“The vote was ‘Can the county have this money?'” Matloz said. “The county is just expanding within the bounds of what the voters gave them permission to do. It simply uses that authority.”

Many other counties have done the exact same thing, Matloz said.

Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said the spending the leftover money on capital projects wasn’t overstepping the commissioner’s bounds.

“That is what the voters voted on,” Raftopoulos said. “The voters were aware of that. It clearly states it on the ballot measure.”

Moffat County Commissioner T. Wright Dickinson isn’t surprised the safety center project went over budget.

“I have not built anything in my life that comes in where I budgeted it at,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson also said it would be beneficial for the county to have a fund for capital projects.

Former Public Safety Center Finance Board members Dave Fleming and Chuck Sis have recently resigned. Raftopoulos said that neither Fleming’s nor Sis’ decision to resign was based on the decision to borrow additional funds for the safety center. Neither were available for comment.

The Moffat County Commissioners plan to approve the documents for the extra $2.1 million in bonds during their Dec. 12 meeting.

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