Boulder County adopts $422.5 million budget for 2017

Barb Halpin, Boulder.  Boulder County continues to be under the influence of the Statutorial 5.5% Limit governing property tax, meaning that Boulder County will set a property tax mill levy that takes in no more than a 5.5% increase in general operating property taxes over the past year. The 2017 budget includes a Temporary Mill levy Credit, as allowed by State law, of 0.784 mills.

 
Sales and Use Tax revenues, which are limited to expenditures explicitly approved by Boulder County voters, are projected to increase in 2017 by 3% over projected 2016 numbers (from estimated 2016 sales/use tax revenues of $51,231,606 to 2017 budgeted sales/use tax revenues of $52,768,555). This increase is attributed to the continuing strong growth in the local economy.

 
$45.5 million in flood recovery reimbursements and grants from state and federal agencies in response to the 2013 Flood are projected to flow to the county next year. These reimbursements will be applied to outstanding flood recovery balances.

 
A total of 14.0 FTEs have been added to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Jail Division in response to a recent study which identified that the current staffing is insufficient to handle the pressures created by crowding and changing inmate characteristics at the Boulder County Jail.

 
The Resilience Leadership program is being expanded to enroll 60 new leaders and to expand the program to the rest of the county – not just flood impacted areas. Following the 2013 Flood, a Resilience Leadership program was established to connect community leaders with outside agencies in order to foster new relationships within, and between, the involved communities and create greater resiliency towards future disasters.

 
The 2017 Capital Expenditure Fund budget of $11.3 million addresses space needs and building conditions, and includes $4 million to continue the multi-phase Justice Center Improvement Plan to demolish existing inadequate space and construct a new addition to consolidate space for the District Attorney’s Office.

 
Capital Outlay appropriations include a new elections and voting system with related software, and funding for the planning and implementation for a new financial system.

 
The 2017 budget reflects the fourth full year of recovery work from the 2013 Flood. The total flood recovery budget for 2017 is $36.8 million across all county funds, representing a decrease of more than $27.7 million from the 2016 budget. The commissioners also approved extensions for 27.75 existing term FTE’s which were set to expire at the end of 2016 that perform duties primarily related to flood recovery efforts.

 
In addition to funding for flood recovery repairs, the Road & Bridge Fund budget contains $18.6 million for the maintenance and rehabilitation of county roads and bridges as well as $5.6 million for dedicated transportation sales tax projects.

 
An additional 9.25 FTE’s have been added to the 2017 budget: 2.0 term and 7.25 permanent, including a Cultural Responsiveness and Inclusion Specialist and two positions funded through the Open Space sales and use tax.

 
The salary and benefits package for county employees includes a 1.8% fully-funded range movement, market adjustments to salaries in selected job classifications, and a merit pool funded at 3%.

 
The 2017 budget will re-appropriate a total of $26.3 million in unexpended 2016 capital budgets for projects such as open space acquisitions and improvements ($2.4 million), flood recovery grants ($15.1 million), transportation infrastructure ($4.4 million), upgrades to the Recycling Center facility ($2.6 million), and capital grants awarded to non-profits through the Worthy Cause program ($1.3 million).

 
The Commissioners certified a 2017 mill levy for the county of 24.064 mills, which is projected to generate property tax revenues of $165,014,873 (up from $155,177,134 in 2016). The adopted levy includes a temporary mill levy credit in the amount of 0.784 mills.

 
Boulder County’s collection of property taxes represents roughly 26% of a property owner’s total average property tax bill. Other taxing entities that receive property tax revenues include (from 2016 data): school districts (55%), cities and towns (12%), and “other” fire, water and special districts (7%).

 
By state statute, the Board of County Commissioners must approve an annual budget by December 15, 2016 for the next calendar year.

 
Additional details about the 2017 Budget are available at: www.bouldercounty.org/gov/budget/pages/countybudget.aspx