County ends 2022 with $36 million, $7 million more than 2021

JOANN KALENAK, DCCR SENIOR BLOGGER — Delta County’s main operations fund started the 2023 fiscal year with slightly less in reserves than last year, but overall cash assets grew by $7 million, according to the 2022 county audit.

Local auditor Pete Blair told Commissioners in a public meeting late last month that 2022 actual expenditures were .73% less than budgeted but actual revenues were 35.39% more than anticipated. Higher collections in sales tax revenue, well above budgeted amounts, have contributed to some of the revenue increase.

”The numbers look good now, but they won’t be so good next year,” said County Commissioner Don Suppes referring to two major construction projects currently in the works: a jailhouse expansion and extensive remodeling of the historic Carnegie Building into new Sheriff department offices.

The county’s American Rescue Fund, a federal government grant program started in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to grow ending with almost $6 million in 2022. The audit listed the use of these funds for unspecified “capital acquisition.” No further clarification was offered by Blair or county administration.

PILT Funds (Payment in Leu of Taxes) also jumped an additional one million after the county obtained supplemental American Rescue funding through its participation in the PILT program. PILT are moneys paid by the federal government to compensate counties with large tracks of public land where property tax cannot be collected. These funds are unrestricted in use as outlined in the PILT Act (Chapter 69, Title 31 of the U.S. Code). American Rescue Funds, however, are somewhat restricted.

Back the Badge is the county’s newest income generator after residents voted to increase sales taxes to pay for improved law enforcement in a 2020 ballot initiative. That account ended 2022 with $2.3 million, $1.3 million more than its ending balance in 2021.

Major capital asset events during the 2022 fiscal year included the following:

  • Major road construction improvements.
  • Land Acquisition
  • Miners Trail
  • New Library 6th Street, Delta
  • $2,900,913 in heavy equipment and vehicle purchases.