Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy

County approves 2018 budget


December 21, 2017

Boulder County Commissioners approved a $426.9 million budget last week for the 2018 fiscal year.

The budget includes a decrease in property tax of 2.117 mills to make the total county property tax at 22.726 mills for 2018.

Commissioners estimate property tax revenue to come in at $178,590,811 — up from $165,014,873 in 2017 — based on increases in property values which enabled them to make the cut.

“With rising property values you can collect the same amount of money with a lower mill levy,” Commissioner Deb Gardner said. “So it’s mostly a consequence of property values increasing. We were able to lower the levy, and part of it was that we have to lower the levy because we have to stay under the revenue cap of 5.5 percent.”

The commissioners’ budget also includes a four percent increase in sales and use tax revenues over the current year’s budget estimates.

Another change to the budget included the Sheriff's department, where funding was made available for four new sergeants and one mental health clinical supervisor.

“Over the past 30 years, the jail capacity has increased dramatically while the mental health needs of inmates has spiked sharply upward,” said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle in a statement. “We have added capacity by double bunking and in-filling in order to grow from 287 beds when the jail was first built to 560 beds today, but we have fallen behind on staffing.

“The staffing shortfall has led to a reliance on overtime to manage the housing and movement of these inmates, resulting in an overworked staff and burnout. The hiring of these additional staff will help bring the span of supervision into more realistic proportions, reduce overtime, and increase the effective supervision of the jail.”

In November, voters in the Burgundy Park subdivision voted for a 16.597 Public Improvement District mill levy that was added to the 2018 budget as a zero line item since the PID won’t go into effect until 2019.

Gardner said that Nederland and several other subdivisions also have PID’s in the works and that the county hopes there will be more in the future. Gardner added that specific match amounts would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“That’s the solution that we’ve been hoping for going forward,” Gardner said. “It’s that each subdivision would organize themselves to tax themselves an amount, the county would contribute an amount, and the county would be able to work on those roads … I think this is the success model we would like to see going forward.”

Also of note, the 2018 budget includes;

  • $36.2 million in recovery reimbursements and grants from state and federal agencies in response to the 2013 flood.
  • The 2018 capital expenditure fund budget of $10.8 million addresses space needs and building conditions. This includes $2.6 million to continue the multi-phase justice center improvement plan and $3 million for a jail modernization project.
  • The 2018 budget reflects the fifth full year of recovery work from the 2013 flood. The total flood recovery budget is $42.3 million across all county funds, representing an increase of more than $5.5 million from the 2017 budget.
  • In addition to funding for flood recovery repairs, the Road & Bridge Fund budget contains $17.3 million for the maintenance and rehabilitation of county roads and bridges as well as $4.8 million for dedicated transportation sales tax projects.
  • The salary and benefits package for county employees includes a 1.8 percent unfunded range movement, market adjustments to salaries in selected job classifications, and a merit pool funded at 3 percent.
  • The 2018 budget will re-appropriate a total of $9.4 million in unexpended 2017 capital budgets for projects such as jail improvements design work ($200,000), flood recovery grants ($6 million), transportation infrastructure ($1 million), and capital grants awarded to non-profits through the Worthy Cause program ($2.2 million).

The full budget can be found by clicking here.


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