County ready to adopt budget

Significant changes related to Sept. 11 attacks

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— The Routt County Board of Commissioners is expected to adopt a $30.8 million budget for 2002 today.

On Monday afternoon, commissioners discussed the proposed budget for the last time.

"The budget is ready to be adopted," said Dan Strnad, county finance director.

The budget is a 5-percent increase from last year. County officials are anticipating revenues will account for $27.7 million of the budget. The county will use funds from its $23.3 million reserve to make up for the rest of the budget.

County officials expect to collect about $8.6 million in taxes from county property that is valued at $665 million. Because the county underwent a revaluation this year, the county's mill levy will decrease.

County officials anticipate property owners will pay $119 per $100,000 of assessed property value. For example, a resident who owns a $300,000 home will pay $351 in county taxes.

The expected mill levy is lower than last year, which was $145 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Commercial property owners will pay $377 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Because the mill levy decreased does not necessarily mean county taxpayers will pay less in taxes.

Property that increased in value more than the countywide average 26-percent increase will likely pay more in taxes.

After the property taxes, the county is not sure how much revenue will be generated from local sales tax and county fees. The county is estimating $4.1 million in sales-tax revenue, a 6-percent decrease.

The county is anticipating a decline because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the impact the tragedy has had on airline travel.

Fees are also projected to decrease. County officials are estimating fees will generate $4.3 million, which is $300,000 less than last year. County officials are projecting building permits for residential developments to decrease because of the current economic recession.

Significant changes in the proposed budget are related to the terrorist attacks.

Yampa Valley Regional Airport had to step up its security because of new Federal Aviation Administration mandates. The airport is to receive five additional employees for security purposes, which is anticipated to cost $335,000.

Because of the security mandates, the airport is increasing its fees to $489,000.

Airline carriers will pay $282,000 for the increased security. The fees also include fuel, $60,000; terminal rent, $52,000; landing fees, $40,000; and various leases and residential rental income, $29,000.

The Routt County Communication Department will get $1.1 million to replace its radio system, which is about 20 years old. The county will spend about $65,000 to add to its staff that has been plagued with employee turnover.

Also included in the budget are a number of road projects totaling $1.2 million. The county intends to improve safety at the intersection of County Road 14 and C.R. 14A, which is anticipated to cost $320,000.

Other projects include paving about four miles each of portions of C.R. 33 and C.R. 129. Improvements are also scheduled to be made on portions of county roads 15, 16, 17, 36 and 64.

The budget also includes $300,000 for the preliminary design of a new county judicial facility. The county is expected to ask voters to fund the project next year.

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