Grand County Board adopts 2016 budget | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County Board adopts 2016 budget

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

The Grand County Board of Commissioners has approved the county's 2016 budget.

The budget includes $32.8 million in revenues and $36.7 million in expenditures. The deficit of $3.9 million reflects a reduction of almost $1 million from 2015's projected deficit and signals a continued break from past practices of passing budgets with large deficits.

The county's 2016 end of year fund balance is budgeted to be $12.9 million.

Major line items in 2016 include $50,000 appropriated for the Granby Landfill, $1.2 million for the Highway 9 Safety Project and $16,000 for the Windy Gap Bypass Project.

An anticipated fall in property tax revenues caused commissioners to take a conservative tack on next year's budget by cutting discretionary capital expenditures.

"The county continues to support and improve infrastructure that is essential to economic growth, knowing that investment in capital projects will pay long term benefits," the commissioners' budget message states.

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"The county currently has several capital projects underway, and they will be completed as scheduled. The future benefit, both long term and short term, of proposed capital projects will be carefully reviewed, and they may be postponed, modified or not approved."

During the board's Dec. 8 meeting, Road and Bridge Assistant Superintendent Bill Clark raised concerns about the county's curtailment on spending.

Road and bridge maintains all of the county's fleet vehicles.

"They break down periodically," Clark said. "It's just very hard for us to just put a stop/hold on spending on repairs."

Assistant County Manager Ed Moyer said that any expenditure crucial to the operation of county departments would likely be approved if brought before the board.

Commissioner Kris Manguso agreed.

"You've got to buy the things you need to continue to operate," Manguso said. "We're just asking that you don't fill your supply closet, because that happens at the end of the year."

Commissioner Merrit Linke said it came down to the judgment of department leadership.

"We're just asking that you take a look at certain expenditures and try to hold off as much as possible until that tax base starts coming in and our cash flow problem is fixed," Linke said.

Linke was referring to the county's property tax collections in February.

The county budgeted for $10.2 million in property tax collections during 2016, a decrease from $10.3 million in 2015, according to the board's budget message.

The decrease reflects a curtailment in operations at the Henderson Mill, Grand County's largest property tax contributor.

Sales tax revenue and intergovernmental revenue are also budgeted to decrease in 2016, though those sources of revenue are generally budgeted conservatively.

From 2015 to 2016, the county is reducing its operating and capital expenditures, while personnel expenditures are increasing.

The county hopes to balance its budget by 2019 with an ending fund balance of $7.9 million, according to the budget message.

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