County anticipates $1.2M budget surplus for 2018 |

County anticipates $1.2M budget surplus for 2018

Grand County commissioners learned Tuesday that 2018 will bring the county a million-dollar budget surplus.

County Finance Director Curtis Lange, as part of a preliminary budget determination session, told commissioners that the county should anticipate a budget surplus totaling $1,200,298 in 2018. Helping secure that surplus will be a one-time-only property tax abatement, totaling roughly $959,000, that the county will receive next year. The abatement is due to lost property taxes related to the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch property, which was formally declared tax exempt in 2014.

The abatement alone was not the determining factor in the budget surplus for 2018, however. Lange told the commissioners that if the tax abatement is removed from the budget, the county would still anticipate a surplus of $241,000 in 2018.

The abatement will inject significant funding resources into several different budget items for the county.

While the general fund will receive the bulk of the abatement, $712,000, Grand County EMS is set to receive $127,000 from the abatement. The remainder of the abatement funds are broken down between retirement, $69,000, human services, $31,000, and road and bridge, $20,000.

Despite next year’s influx of funding from the tax abatement, county officials are being cautious about how they spend the funds, and explicitly view the abatement revenue as a one-time-only occurrence, and not a dedicated revenue stream.

During discussions related to the budget, the topic of potential raises for county employees was brought up by the commissioners.

County Manager Lee Staab explained he plans to revisit the issue next week after further reviewing the county’s budget.

“I am trying to make this independent of the YMCA dollars,” Staab said.

Commissioner Kris Manguso agreed: “It is not just this year, (Staab) has to make sure it is sustainable next year.”

During his presentation to the commissioners, Lange showed that the county anticipates revenues of roughly $42.6 million next year and total expenditures of $41.4 million. The county’s summary budget breaks costs down into four main areas: personnel costs, operating costs, non-operating costs and capital costs.

Personnel costs were represented as the single largest area of expense for the county, totaling $18,885,458 for the coming year. Operating costs were not far behind at an anticipated $16,639,476. Grand County’s capital costs for 2018 are anticipated at roughly $4.3 million while non-operating costs came in at just over $1.5 million.

Local citizens still have an opportunity to request a rebuttal hearing regarding the county’s budget proposals. Those requests must be received by county officials no later than Oct. 27. If a rebuttal hearing is necessary it will be scheduled for Nov. 7. According to county officials, if no rebuttal hearing is needed the final budget hearing for 2018’s budget will occur Dec. 5. The Board of Commissioners is required to approve a budget for the coming year by the end of December.

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