County projects $163k budget surplus in 2019 |

County projects $163k budget surplus in 2019

Earlier this month Grand County’s Accounting Department released the county’s final budget determination for 2019.

The final budget determination is a final draft of the county’s proposed 2019 budget, which county officials hope to see approved sometime in early December. For 2019 the county projects total revenues of roughly $44.7 million.

“I think the finances for the county are strong,” Curtis Lange, county finance director, said. “We are on sound footing now and I expect we will continue that way.”

The projected total revenue figure for 2019 is roughly half a million dollars less than 2018 total revenue projections the county made in October, at $45.2 million. That projection falls almost $1 million short of the county’s originally projected total revenue for 2018, which was initially anticipated at $46.1 million. Revenues since 2017, including projected revenues for 2019, are well above the county’s total revenue in 2016 though, which topped out at $38.4 million.

Lange said the county’s 2019 revenue figure continues a gradual upward trend occurring over the last several years. Lange noted that county revenues in 2017 and 2018 jumped upwards due to the implementation of the new .3 percent sales tax in 2017 and to a one-time influx of funds from the YMCA related to a court battle that was resolved in late 2016.

County budget officials anticipate a budget surplus of $162,643 in 2019. That figure is slightly less than the county’s current end of year surplus projection for 2018, at roughly $400,000 and well below the $4.2 million surplus the county saw in the peak revenue year of 2017. According to Lange though the projected surplus of $162,643 is within the normal range the county projects for a given year.

At the individual department level budgets for 2019 varied, with some departments seeing projected increases while others are projected to see decreases.

Expenses for Grand County’s EMS department are projected to increase by nearly half-a-million dollars next year above the county’s end of year 2018 projections climbing from $3,927,551 to $4,402,969. Looking at the bottom line for budget projections for EMS in 2019 the county anticipates a budget surplus for the department of $108,746, which represents a marked improvement over the county’s end of year 2018 projections for EMS that anticipated a budget deficit of roughly $500,000.

Grand County’s Sheriff’s Office is expected to see a slight decrease in expenditures in 2019. The county is currently projecting department expenditures of $6.97 million for 2018 while projecting expenditures of $6.86 million in 2019. Expenses for the Grand County Jail, part of the larger Sheriff’s Department, are expected to increase in 2019 by around $150,000 next year, climbing from the end of year 2018 expense projection of $1,881,671 to $2,010,288 in 2019.

Expenses related to regular wages at the county jail, which account for roughly half of total expenditures, are projected to increase by nearly $200,000 going from $905,537 for 2018 to $1,103,449 next year. At the same time overtime expenses for the jail are projected to decrease by almost half next year dropping from $70,870 for 2018 to $40,000 in 2019.

Grand County’s Coroner’s Office is projected to see one of the largest budget increases in 2019. Total expenses for the Coroner’s Office are projected to increase by roughly 38 percent next year to $303,796 in 2019, up from the county’s end of 2018 budget projection of $220,168. The Coroner’s Office projected budget expenses for 2019 are nearly double the office’s total expenses in 2016, which topped out at $154,888.

The county’s Public Health Department is also projected to see a budget increase in 2019. Expenses for Public Health are projected to rise by $81,499 going from 2018’s end of year projection of $1,191,692 to $1,273,191 in 2019 budget projections. Public Health’s revenues are also projected in increase in 2019 as well though by $114,376.

Expenses for Grand County’s Road & Bridge Department are projected to increase over 2018’s end of year projections by roughly $500,000. County officials are currently projecting $7,499,532 in expenses for the department by year’s end with $8,019,482 in expenses budget for 2019. That figure still falls over $2 million below initial budget projections for 2018, made late in 2017, which anticipated $10,861,679 in expenses related to Road & Bridge.

County revenues related to Open Lands Rivers and Trails, also known as Ballot Measure 1A, which was approved by Grand County voters in 2016, are expected to increase for the second consecutive year in 2019. When the .3 percent sales tax related to Open Lands Rivers and Trails went into effect in 2017 it generated $1,280,008 in revenue. In 2018 county officials expect the measure to generate $1,400,000 in revenue. In 2019 the county projects revenues of $1,525,458 related to 1A.

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