Draft Moffat County budget eliminates museum funding, slashes library allocation | SteamboatToday.com

Draft Moffat County budget eliminates museum funding, slashes library allocation

Jim Patterson and Sasha Nelson
Craig Press

Funding for the Museum of Northwest Colorado has been eliminated in Moffat County’s draft 2019 budget. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)

CRAIG — A draft of Moffat County’s 2019 budget eliminates funding for the Museum of Northwest Colorado and slashes the allotment for Moffat County Libraries by 76 percent — from about $475,000 in operating funds in 2018 to $113,901 for the coming year.

The draft budget will be discussed during a public hearing at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 West Victory Way.

Moffat County Commissioner Ray Beck stressed the draft will undergo revisions — partly based on public comment received during the Oct. 15 hearing — before its final adoption Dec. 15.

“They’re looking at significant cuts that will impact their budgets going forward,” Beck said. “At this point, core functions and services will be significantly impacted.”

If the budget is adopted as is, funding for the library and museum will rely on voters’ decisions on Ballot Issue 1A, which proposes a 2.85 percent mill levy dedicated to funding both public institutions.

If approved, 1A would raise about $1.1 million per year, which could be used only for the library and museum. It would be disbursed to the two entities according to a 64-36 ratio, with the library receiving about $700,000 annually and the museum about $400,000.

It would cost residential property owners about $20.50 and business owners about $82.65 annually on every $100,000 in assessed value.

During a Monday interview, all three county commissioners and Moffat County Finance Director Mindy Curtis discussed their commitment to “priority-based budgeting,” a process that has allowed them to make $10.7 million in reductions in the past three years.

“We support the library and the museum, but we have to budget for the economy we’re in,” Beck said.

While commissioners deem the library and museum invaluable community assets, Beck said, they remain “lower priorities” in the county’s financial hierarchy.

“Public safety is our No. 1 concern,” Commissioner Don Cook said. “Police, road and bridge, human services — those things have to come first.”

Beck said commissioners will do what is best for the county’s overall financial health, regardless of the outcome of 1A.

“We’re going to balance the budget based on what we know now,” Cook agreed.

Read the full story at CraigDailyPress.com

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