Moffat County Commissioners see $8 million increase in 2016 budget |

Moffat County Commissioners see $8 million increase in 2016 budget

Patrick Kelly

The Moffat County Commissioners formally adopted the county's 2016 budget Tuesday at their weekly meeting.

The 2016 Moffat County budget, including The Memorial Hospital's portion, comes in $87,349,201 — $8 million more than the 2015 budget.

Mindy Curtis, Moffat County Finance Department director, said the main reason for the increase is due to TMH's portion of the budget.

The hospital is a component unit of the county and its expenses are up approximately $6 million from 2015. In 2016, TMH anticipates 95 of its revenue, about $41.93 million, to come from charges for services.

Removing TMH, the remaining county expenses are approximately $43.62 million, an increase of $2 million from 2015.

"This increase for the county is due to rising health and welfare costs, the addition of the Moffat County Local Marketing District, capital projects and miscellaneous increases from various funds," said Curtis at Tuesday's meeting.

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Revenue is slightly less than expenses at $43.61 million, but that figure is down more nearly $4 million from 2015's revenue of $47.45 million.

According to the budget, a decrease of assessed valuation in 2015 resulted in $217,663 less in property tax revenue, which is currently at 2008 levels.

"In 2017, we are anticipating another $193,000 decrease and another decrease in 2018 of $91,000," Curtis said.

Total anticipated property tax revenue loss from 2013 to 2018 is estimated at $686,036.

Property tax revenue is limited to 5.5 percent growth each year, making economic recovery slow.

To counter this, Commissioner John Kinkaid suggested a ballot measure in 2016 to "de-Bruce" the budget and allow more than 5.5 percent growth annually.

"I just think it's wise to prepare for the future and this would be a good part of a recovery plan from the economic downturn we are experiencing," he said.

Curtis said based on current revenue trends, the county's personnel, operating and capital expenses might have to be reduced in future budgets.

Commissioner Chuck Grobe said what the commissioners did with the budget this year focused on maintaining the county's reserve fund, which they keep at 30 percent of operating costs.

"What we have done this year has increased the 2019 projection from 1, 2 percent up to 9 percent, and we need that number to be about 30 percent," he said, adding that the budget will be a more frequent topic in the next three years instead of a seasonal occurrence.