County OKs 2004 budget, supplementals

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Routt County commissioners approved what has been described as a tight but workable 2004 budget Monday with little discussion.

The county budget previously was discussed by the commissioners and presented for public comment.

What commissioners approved Monday was more or less the same budget that had been presented to the public at the end of November, but with a few loose ends tied up, said Routt County Financial Director Dan Strnad.

One somewhat substantial change to the $41.3 million budget was that estimated property taxes decreased by about $40,000 because of up-to-date, more accurate estimates, Strnad said.

Strnad and commissioners said they were happy the budget has come together.

"We got it done," Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.

Strnad said that Routt County has fared well compared with other Colorado counties facing tougher budget cuts, such as neighboring Moffat County.

"I think we did a lot, given what was facing us there," Strnad said. "I'm thankful that we could do what we could do there."

The county's budget is $5.1 million more than in 2003, an increase that can mostly be attributed to the construction of the court-ordered justice center.

Revenues also increased almost $5 million to about $39 million, but most of that increase is because of the $7 million in certificates of participation the county plans to issue for the construction of the justice center.

On Tuesday, commissioners approved several 2003 supplemental budget items.

Those approvals could have taken place during the year.

Commissioners approved the items Tuesday to be sure they're in compliance with the state rules they follow, Strnad said.

Those approvals include:

n A $90,000 federal grant for a down payment assistance program that will be administered through the Regional Affordable Living Foundation to help make homes more affordable to residents.

n About $15,000 in revenues from fees from about four foreclosures.

n About $3,500 in increases in 2003 compensation levels for the purchasing department that were not absorbed the 2003 budget.

n The county's contribution of $24,000 to bring the Beanpole Project, a statewide effort to get high-speed technology to rural communities, to South Routt County.

n More than $120,000 to complete the microwave communication system improvements.

n A terminal expansion project at Yampa Valley Regional Airport that used $846,000 in federal grant monies and about $100,000 in passenger facility charges.

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