On Sept. 14, County Administrator, Robbie LeValley, kicked off the 2018 budget development process with a presentation to the county’s department heads and County Commissioners Doug Atchley and Don Suppes.
LeValley began the presentation with a look at the county’s current financial situation:
• Sales tax has increased over the last year. The sales tax trend appears to be sustaining upward.
• Property tax will decrease due to the Gallagher amendment and new baseline with Tabor amendment.*
• Federal Mineral Leasing dollars and Severance dollars are flat and will impact both the Road and Bridge and General Fund.
• Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) is trending upward. In 2016 the PILT funds were used to help fund the broadband infrastructure.
• Insurance costs for county employees will increase 8.5% for 2018 (dramatically lower than last year’s increase).
* Debbie Griffith, County Assessor, explained the tax assessment implications of the Gallagher Amendment. Griffith described how tax revenue is not aligned with rising Delta County home prices because the Gallagher amendment requires residential property tax to represent no more than 45% of county revenues. The county’s assessment ratio was dropped this year to ensure that threshold isn’t breached resulting in a loss of revenue to the county. Griffith also noted that if home prices drop, the assessment ratio couldn’t go back up without a vote of the people.
LeValley touched on the 2016 audit pointing out reserves in five of the 17 funds that comprise the county’s budget. She noted that significant funds are held in reserve “in case something happens.”
LeValley told department heads that capital might be tight in 2018 because the county is committed to capital improvements at Blake Field Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration has promised more that seven million dollars to the project but, the county must match almost 10% of the funding, an estimated $612,000. “We normally budget approximately $1,200,000 to $1,500,000 for all capital,” said LeValley.
LeValley concluded the meeting with a timeline:
1. Budgets from all department heads were due 9-22.
2. Draft review, 9-25 to Oct 6.
3. Initial budget projections to Commissioners, Oct. 2.
4. County Commissioner hearings Oct. 24-26.
5. Public hearing Nov. 27
6. Budget adoption, Dec. 11.
To see the entire Power Point presentation: 2018 Delta County Budget