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Budget ready for adoption

County commissioners ready information for approval

Gary E. Salazar

— Not a single resident showed up Monday night for a public hearing for Routt County’s $30.8 million 2002 proposed budget.

“Boy, the whole crowd is here,” Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said as he entered an empty hearing room.

Instead of taking public comment, the commissioners spent an hour ensuring the proposed budget, which is a 5 percent increase from last year, is ready for approval.

The Board of Commissioners will adopt the budget at 10 a.m. Dec. 11 during its regular meeting.

According to the proposed budget, about $27.7 million will be generated in revenue. The county will dip into its $23 million reserve to pick up the balance of the budget.

County officials expect to collect about $9.2 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 by 2 mills.

County officials anticipate property owners will pay $117 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.

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

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

After the property taxes, the county is unsure how much revenue will be generated from local sales tax and county fees.

The county is estimating a 6 percent decrease, or $4.1 million, from sales tax, which depends on tourism.

The county is expecting a decline because it is not known how many tourists will travel during ski season because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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 recession.

Because of the terrorist acts, the budget also contains changes for Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

The budget calls for the airport to receive an additional five employees for security purposes, which is anticipated to cost $335,000.

Airport fees are also budgeted to increase to $489,000. The increases include security, $282,000; fuel, $60,000; terminal rent, $52,000; landing fees, $40,000; and various leases and residential rental income, $29,000.

Another highlight is the Routt County Communication Depart-

ment will get $1.1 million to replace its radio system, which is about 20 years old. The county will also add staff, $65,000, to stabilize a department that has been plagued with employee turnover.

Also included in the budget are a number of road projects, which total $1.2 million.

A significant project is $320,000 budgeted to improve safety at the intersection of County Road 14 and C.R. 14A. Work done at the intersection is to include lowering the hill to improve an intersection where a number of accidents occur yearly.

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 judicial facility for the county. The county is expected to ask voters to fund the project next year.


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