Commissioners approve 2021 budget, which shows an 8.17% drop from 2020 budget |

Commissioners approve 2021 budget, which shows an 8.17% drop from 2020 budget

Moffat County commissioners discuss an agenda item during a Board of County Commissioners meeting at the Moffat County Courthouse in 2019.
Craig Press File

After months of hard work shaping the county’s budget for 2021, Moffat County commissioners unanimously approved next year’s budget following a presentation from Finance Department Director Mindy Curtis during a public hearing Tuesday.

The 2021 Moffat County Proposed Budget totals nearly $102.5 million which is about $9.12 million or (8.17%) less than the 2020 budget of roughly $111.6 million The budget is funded with revenue estimates and anticipated fund balances, Curtis said.

Curtis said that a big reason the 2021 budget decreased was due to severance tax, declining availability of federal mineral acres, and the Highway Users Tax Fund declining or being outright no longer dependable for revenue.

The Federal Mineral Lease fund was reduced $150,000 in the budget, while the Highway Users Fund saw a decrease of $475,415.

Additionally, Memorial Hospital’s budget dropped from roughly $70.78 million in 2020 to about $61.4 million in 2021, marking a decrease of 13.24%, or $9.37 million less than 2020’s budget.

While Memorial Regional Health is a legally separate organization that is not operated by the Board of County Commissioners, the county commissioners appoint the Board for Memorial Hospital and MRH is a component unit of the county, so MRH’s budget is included with the county’s budget.

In terms of specific departments on the 2021 budget, the county saw the museum fund come off the budget after being transferred to the City of Craig in late 2019, opening up roughly $312,000, while the Emergency 911 Fund (-$86,950), Conservation Trust Fund (-$45,000), Moffat County Tourism Association (-$36,446), and the Moffat County Local Marketing District (-$25,000) saw decreases in individual budgets.

The Road & Bridge Fund saw a substantial increase in its 2021 budget, increasing $536,886 from 2020. Human Services (+$789,867), Jail Fund (+$258,968), and Public Health (+$183,698) also saw large increases in available funds for 2021.

In the Capital Funds Project, Moffat County will lose roughly $688,498 in available funds, decreasing from about $1.62 million in 2020 to $927,500 for 2021.

With a number of departments can expect decreases in the 2021 budget, the county says it is looking for ways to increase revenue. Curtis, in her presentation to commissioners, highlighted four possible strategies to increase revenue in 2021.

  • Provide proactive and positive influence for impacts and issues known to both the state and federal level to support Moffat County’s natural resources and access to public lands.
  • Cooperation with other governments, districts and entities that have similar needs or vision in order to foster economic development and quality of life in Moffat County.
  • Use restricted revenues, such as Conservation Trust (lottery dollars that must be used on parks and recreation), to enhance recreational opportunities and attract potential residents.
  • Use existing county resources, assets, employees and dollars, to further the economic future of Moffat County while emphasizing and enhancing growth and diversification for the local economy.

Aside from the department ebbs and flows, Curtis said that the county has made budget realignment adjustments to continue the cost of living adjustments for employees.

For 2021, the adjustment that can be afforded will be 1%, Curtis said. This is the fourth cost of living adjustment to county employees since 2013. In 2013, the adjustment was 3% for employees. In 2017, the adjustment was 2%, while employees saw an adjustment of 3% in 2020.

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