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Routt County 2014 Proposed Budget Document

Routt County 2014 Proposed Budget Document

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Published by mlschrantz
Routt County, Colorado, 2014 proposed budget
Routt County, Colorado, 2014 proposed budget

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Published by: mlschrantz on Nov 21, 2013
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136 6th Street, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 Web: 
December 3, 2012
The mission of Routt County is to efficiently deliver a balance of public  services and infrastructure to provide a safe and healthy place to live  for present and future generations.
2014 Budget Overview
The 2014 Routt County budget projects $60,856,000 in revenues and $71,104,000 in expenses resulting in $10,248,000 of expenses over revenues, and after removing $518,000 of noncash expenses such as depreciation, the use of reserves is $9,730,000. The 2014 budget as compared to the 2013 budget includes a $15,472,000 or 34% increase in revenues and a $22,308,000 or 46% increase in expenses. The 2014 budget is separated into governmental activities and business type activities as follows.
Governmental Activities
include the County’s basic services such as Property Tax Administration,
Public Safety, Human Services, Community Services, Road and Bridge and Administration. Revenues are anticipated to increase $1,070,000 or 3% to $38,221,000, expenses are anticipated to increase $7,124,000 or 18% to $47,148,000 and results in expenses over revenues of $8,927,000. The decrease in reserves results mainly from planned Road and Bridge infrastructure replacement projects and from two interfund loans made by the Road and Bridge Fund to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport for capital  projects.
The County’s base property tax revenue, which funds governmental activities, is anticipated to increase
$456,000 or 3.4% and is limited to this increase by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR). Sales tax from all sources is anticipated to increase $311,000 or 6% based on 2013 collections.
The modest growth experienced in the County’s two largest revenue sources property
 tax and sales tax remains tentative given the significant amount of uncertainty in the economy. In 2014, a 2% cost of living increase for all employees and
the partial reinstatement of the County’s Step
Compensation Plan were approved. The resulting increase in compensation is $888,000 or 7%. The compensation increase is being funded by the increase in property and sales tax revenues and by a decrease in health insurance costs. Health insurance expense decreased $300,000 or 10% due to actual costs being lower than premiums for
several years and the County’s ability to fund an adequate reserve by the end of 2013 for its partially sel
f-funded insurance plan started in 2011. The County budgeted $1.5 million or $750,000 in 2014 and $750,000 in 2015 for overlay and rehabilitation improvements on County Road (CR) 14 Phase IV. Phase IV work covers the portion of CR 14 from Yellow Jacket Pass north to Colorado Highway 131. The original cost estimate for CR 14 Phase IV reconstruction was $13 million and funding of this magnitude is not available so the County is starting on Phase IV in 2014 and 2015 with the hope to continue major improvements in the future. In 2014, the planned replacement of Road and Bride infrastructure includes two major bridges partially funded by federal grants, 21 miles of overlay and 24 miles of roads will be chip and sealed. Total infrastructure expense is $8.7 million
and is primarily funded by the Road and Bridge fund’s reserves
. Real estate values are slowly trending upward for single family homes and condominiums and foreclosures have decreased; however,
the County’s
assessed valuation is anticipated to decrease approximately 12% in 2014. The decrease in
the County’s
assessed valuation since 2010 is approximately 31%. For 2014, the County was able to absorb the 12% decrease in assessed valuation and the 3.4% increase in  property taxes allowed by TABOR because of its available TABOR mill levy credit. Based on the
County’s 2014 assessed valuation, the County’s assessed valuation could decrease by an additional
13%  before a reduction in property tax revenue is required due to the TABOR mill levy limitation. The County is being impacted by a number of negative economic indicators such as low consumer confidence, the
high unemployment of 5.2%, the high national unemployment rate of 7.3%, an average of 497 families on food assistance for the first nine months of 2013, an increase of 8% from 2012, the European financial situation, the ongoing and looming Federal budget battle, the continued  budget sequestration with deeper spending cuts scheduled in 2014 and the large Federal deficit.
Business Type Activities
include the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, the Regional Building Department, the Phippsburg Water and Sanitation System, and the Milner Sanitation System. Revenues are anticipated to increase $14,396,000 or 175% to $22,640,000, expenses are anticipated to increase $15,178,000 or 173% to $23,961,000 and results in expense over revenues of $1,321,000. After removing noncash expenses such as depreciation, reserves decrease $803,000. The business type activities are fundamentally financially self-sufficient by charging fees for services and receiving grants from state and federal governments. Business type activities are being impacted by the same negative economic indicators as governmental activities. Yampa Valley Regional Airport has experienced a significant decrease in enplanements resulting from the recession which also negatively impacts landing, car rental and parking fees. The 2014  budgeted operating loss is $326,000 for YVRA. The County and the Steamboat Ski Resort along with local other stakeholders plan to reduce operating losses in the future. In 2014, the approved 2% cost of living increase for all employees and the partial reinstatement of the
County’s Step C
ompensation Plan increased compensation expense by $169,000 or 7%. Operations expense increased $1,412,000 or 55% to $3,974,000 in 2014 due to the contribution from YVRA to the Town of Hayden for the construction of a water tank storage system. Financing for this contribution will come from a $1.5 million interfund loan from the Road and Bridge Fund. The most significant change budgeted in 2014 is an increase in capital expense of $13,402,000 or 455% to $16,345,000. Capital expenditures increased primarily due a $15.1 million runway rehabilitation and service road project at YVRA. This project will be funded 100% by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants and passenger facility charges, but YVRA will receive a $2 million interfund loan from the Road and Bridge Fund to cover the timing difference between when funds are expended and when FAA funds are received by YVRA. The interfund loan is planned to be paid off in 2015.
The County continues to analyze the budget wherever possible to effectively increase revenues and decrease costs. Since 2009, the County h
as made significant changes to “
 the negative impacts of a 31% decrease in assessed property values and a 37 % decrease sales tax. In response, the County cut employee salaries 10% to 5%, implemented a reduction in workforce, suspended the Step Compensation Plan, delayed performing a compensation market survey, cut operating expenses and extended the replacement life of equipment and infrastructure. Right now, the long-term forecast projects a balanced budget. The 2014 budget is a snapshot in time  based on both known factors and certain assumptions. This financial plan will need to be revised by the County to respond to changing economic conditions. As new financial information becomes available, management will respond in an appropriate manner to
maintain the County’s overall financial well being.

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