Moffat County commissioners add library, museum funding to 2020 budget | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County commissioners add library, museum funding to 2020 budget

Moffat County commissioners vote on their proposed 2020 budget Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Clay Thorp/Staff

Moffat County’s Board of County Commissioners unveiled a proposed 2020 budget Tuesday bolstered by about a half-million-dollar increase in interest and sales tax revenues.

The proposed budget adds a total of about $2.2 million more compared to last year’s budget and reinstates much of the funding to the county’s library system and the Museum of Northwest Colorado that commissioners stripped last year.

In a budget presentation at their regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 15, Finance Director Mindy Curtis said the budget also includes a cost of living increase for county employees.

“It has been the commissioners’ goal, as mentioned in the 2019 budget, to reinstate the cost of living in order to compensate the county’s hardworking and dedicated employees,” Curtis said Tuesday. “The last cost of living was in the 2017 budget. For 2020 proposed budget, there is a 3% cost of living adjustment to the employees.”

According to the budget, the total proposed county budget will be about $109.4 million, or about $5.3 million or 4.64% lower than the 2019 budget. More than half that is the Memorial Regional Health hospital, with an operating budget that now sits at about $68.9 million — a decrease of some $7.5 million or 9.9%.

“The remaining Moffat County budget, without the Memorial hospital component unit, is $40,495,775, an increase of $2,240,192 or (5.86%) more than the 2019 budget,” Curtis said in the presentation.

There was an increase in revenues due to changes in the banking industry, some of which the county plans to use on their employees.

“The 2020 budget has increased $489,053 in interest revenue due to current banking changes,” Curtis said in her presentation. “This increase is used towards the employee cost of living adjustment as well as the increase in insurance premiums. The county is also experiencing an increase in sales tax and has budgeted an increase of 5% or $132,192 from the 2019 budget.”

For months, Craig residents Jayne Morley and Vicki Huyser have hounded commissioners and city councilors at each of their regular meetings, respectfully requesting commissioners reinstate the funding stripped from the Craig library and Museum of Northwest Colorado.

On Tuesday, they thanked the government officials for reinstating $150,000 for the Craig library and another $150,000 for the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

“It means a great deal to me you found it within your hearts and your intellectual wits to fund the libraries and museum,” Morley said in commissioners’ proposed budget public hearing Tuesday.

Huyser also expressed her approval.

“I just want to say thank you for doing your part in funding the library and museum,” she said Tuesday.

Commissioner Ray Beck said they’re trying to change the past as past budgets used employees to stay in the black.

“For whatever reasons, the budget has been balanced on the backs of our employees,” Beck said. “…Our county employees are our greatest asset and we wanted to show them that.”

Commissioner Don Cook pointed out county employees’ heath care costs are rising, so this he’s glad this year’s budget had some extra dough to pad rises in healthcare premiums.

“We were just lucky this year,” Cook said. “We have some income coming in this year to offset those costs.”

Beck warned things could change next year as they adapt to changing revenues and expenditures.  

“That certainly doesn’t mean it will be the same next year,” Beck said.

Commissioners passed the proposed budget unanimously after removing $6,500 in funds matched by the city of Craig to assist the Northwest Colorado Recreation Foundation in researching and developing a recreation center in Craig.

“I appreciate all the time and effort and guidance from our finance department,” Beck said.