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Commissioners Adopt 2014 County Budget

The Fremont County Commissioners have formally adopted a 2014 county budget that anticipates spending more money than the county collects in revenue.   The board approved three resolutions at their December 9th regular meeting to adopt the budget, levying the property taxes to support expenditures in the budget, and a resolution that appropriates the necessary money needed to finance the various funds contained in the entire budget.

District 3 Commissioner Ed Norden said citizens should not be confused by the final 2014 budget amount of just over $40 million.    Norden said only a portion of those expenditures represent property taxes and sales tax revenue collected by the county.    He said the largest portion comes to the county in federal funding including 80 percent of the Department of Human Services $7.9 million budget.   Norden also noted that the bulk of the county’s Department of Transportation fund comes from the Colorado Highway Users Tax Fund which is gasoline tax revenues returned to the county.   Other outside revenues include lottery money in the Conservation Trust Fund, $1 million from the Federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, lease revenue from the Department of Corrections for leased jail beds for parolees in the Sheriff’s budget, plus fuel sales revenue and Colorado Aeronautics grants at the Fremont County Airport.

Commission Chair Debbie Bell said a detailed copy of the budget can be inspected by citizens on the Fremont County web page at www.fremontco.com.    County Finance Director Sunny Bryant said there are still some anticipated changes that will have to be amended in the Sheriff’s budget due to the 1¢ sales tax increase approved by local voters in November.   She said that while the Sheriff’s budget does reflect the anticipated revenue of $2.8 million from the sales tax approval there are specific line item expenditures of the money that will need to be amended.

Bryant also told the Commissioners that the resolution levying property taxes for the county budget also reflects a change since the budget hearing in November.   Bryant said she received a final countywide assessed valuation figure in recent days showing another $415,000 decrease in assessed value in the county.   That means Fremont County’s assessed valuation decreased a total of $3.85 million during the 2013 reassessment year.   The final countywide valuation figure for 2014 tax collections is $432,853,000.   Bryant said the extra $415,000 decrease in assessed value means that total property tax collections to county government next year will drop by another $5,106.   That means the total property tax bill next year for county government will be $5,592,000, representing 14% of the county’s $40 million budget.

In other business at the December 9th board meeting the Commissioners:

  • Reappointed Lloyd Harwood and newly appointed Micah Cantley to three year terms on the Fremont County Tourism Council.  Harwood manages the American Best Value Inn in Cañon City while Cantley is the Guest Services Manager with the Royal Gorge Route Railroad;
  • Approved a request from Lissa Pinello of Biker Town along Highway 115 in Penrose to waive a requirement for hard surfacing of the parking lot as part of their site development plan at Biker Town.   Pinello explained the retail business has closed and the building will be converted to a medical marijuana grow operation thus will not have any retail traffic and parking requirements;
  • Approved the planned early closure of the Fremont County Administration Building at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 19th, so county employees can take part in the annual Christmas party;
  • Scheduled a special board meeting for 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18th for the purpose of certifying a list of mill levies for all entities in the county that collect property taxes.