Routt County Commissioners retain strategic budget consultant |

Routt County Commissioners retain strategic budget consultant

— The Routt County Board of Commissioners just completed its 2014 budget in December and already the board members are looking ahead to their first 2015 budget meeting in May. But first, they'll sit down with a strategic planning consultant to help ensure the funds they allocate hit the target.

The commissioners agreed this week to sign a $12,500 professional services contract with Julia Novak, of The Novak Consulting Group in Cincinnati, to facilitate their strategic planning retreat. Part of the impetus for engaging a consultant is that in late 2012, two of three seats on the Board of Commissioners turned over for the first time in a long time. The change came with the election of now Commission Chairman Tim Corrigan to succeed Nancy Stahoviak and the appointment of Steve Ivancie to fill out the term of state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush.

County Manager Tom Sullivan said the intent of engaging Novak is to make certain that the county is keeping its overarching principles in mind while budgeting in a way that will allow it to achieve some of its goals.

"One of them is Yampa Valley Regional Airport and assessing the impacts of the recession on the airport and the decline in enplanements," Sullivan said. "I'm hoping to get a commitment by the board to give us a task to work with (Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.) and local chambers (of commerce) and businesses to rebuild the services we have at the airport and regrow enplanements."

Another possible goal might be to continue to improve early childhood education through First Impressions, Sullivan said.

And he's eager to find out if the new Board of Commissioners is committed, in the long term, to what could be a more than $13 million reconstruction of Rout County Road 14, the road to Stagecoach south of Colorado Highway 131.

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Novak's winning bid on the consulting work was the second lowest of nine proposals received by the commissioners and includes travel expenses. The lowest price, $5,737, was submitted by Jviation, of Denver, which already is working with Routt County on its airport planning. But Sullivan said the commissioners thought that firm's Hilary Fletcher already knows them too well.

The other finalist was Managing Results, of Crested Butte (and Atlanta). The only local respondent to the request for proposals was among the three most expensive — Muntean Leadership Group proposed to do the job for $19,000.

"The commissioners decided we wanted to use a firm that has done local government strategic planning," Sullivan said. "In the past, we've used local folks and they did good work."

Novak is no stranger to Colorado, Sullivan said. Before launching her consulting business, she worked for the city of Fort Collins and has worked in La Plata County.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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