Routt County adopts 2009 budget |
Brandon Gee

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Routt County adopts 2009 budget

The Routt County Board of Commissioners officially adopted a $64.5 million 2009 budget Monday. The 2009 budget is about $8 million smaller than the 2008 budget and includes several projected decreases in revenue tailored to a recessionary economy.

“We hope it’s not any worse than what we adjusted to already,” Commissioner Doug Monger said. “We’re going to be busy like everyone else monitoring these things.”

After about six months of consideration that included public work sessions and hearings, Monday’s resolution was mostly a formality.

“It is what it is,” Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

The county will use reserves in an effort to maintain infrastructure, its employee base and existing levels of service while facing a projected $2.9 million revenue shortfall in 2009. Overall, the county’s revenue streams are projected to decline $11 million, or 18 percent, in 2009.

Last month, county finance officials said the county will exhaust its Road and Bridge Department reserves by 2012 and its equipment pool funds by 2016 if such spending continues without economic recovery or significant cutbacks.

If sales tax collections come in worse than expected, the county commissioners could reopen the 2009 budget and direct such cutbacks sooner rather than later. Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush was hopeful it would not come to that and said the county was “quite conservative” in its revenue projections.

The county’s general fund budget is $27.8 million and includes $4.6 million for the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, $4.1 million for the Purchase of Development Rights Program, $2.6 million for the Building and Plant Department and $1.6 million for the Information Services Department. In other funds, the Road and Bridge Department will receive $11.6 million and Yampa Valley Regional Airport will receive $11.4 million.

Despite its hefty budget, the Road and Bridge Department will be hampered by daunting increases in the cost of materials. The cost of roadwork per mile is budgeted to increase 50 percent in 2009 compared with 2008, which translates into $840,000 more in maintenance costs in 2009.

The county also adopted a resolution Monday levying 2009 property taxes. The county’s net mill levy – which includes voter-approved taxes for museums, development disabilities services and the Purchase of Development Rights Program – is 13.163 mills, and the county is projected to collect $14.5 million in property taxes.