News Release

Larimer County Releases Proposed 2014 Budget

Department: Board of County Commissioners
Release Date: Oct 15, 2013

Contact:

Linda Hoffmann, County Manager, (970) 498-7004, lhoffmann@larimer.org
Bob Keister, Larimer County Budget Director, (970) 498-7017, bkeister@larimer.org
Board of County Commissioners, (970) 498-7010, BOCC@larimer.org
FROM: Deni La Rue, Community Information Manager, (970) 498-7150, dlarue@larimer.org

 

Larimer County, Colorado – Based on the Board of County Commissioners’ priorities and direction, Larimer County Manager Linda Hoffmann released the Proposed Larimer County 2014 Budget today.
The Net Operating Budget, $226,378,505 proposed for 2014, represents a 6.8% decrease from the proposed 2013 revised budget of $242,839,023. The Proposed 2014 Total County Budget is $314,836,446, a 10.8% drop from the Proposed Revised 2013 Total Budget of $352,984,737.
 
The 2013 Operating and Total Budgets were revised due to several factors. The County Commissioners allocated $12-million to the 2013 budget to support response and recovery from September’s catastrophic flood event and ongoing recovery efforts for the High Park Fire are also reflected in the Revised 2013 Budget. Also adding to the revised budget: additional revenues from grants, sales taxes, and new building and permit fees;  unspent funds from 2012 were added to the 2013 budget for Sheriff’s Office projects; and, construction projects planned by Road and Bridge in 2013 were delayed and are now projected to occur in the next two years.
 
The 2014 Proposed Operating Budget follows guidelines established by the County Commissioners. It strives to maintain current levels of funding and service for most county services. Unlike the 2013 budget, few capital improvement projects are included. Many County services continue to be funded in whole or in part by fees and grants. Some notable examples include the landfill, building permit services, restaurant inspections, community corrections programs, human services needs, and County parks. Two dedicated sales taxes that currently support county Natural Resources/Open Space programs and The Ranch may expire in 2018 and 2019. Property tax revenues that make up the bulk of the County's General Fund are projected to increase by 1.8%.
 
Hoffmann's recommendations include four investment proposals including an additional staff member in Veterans Services and contributions to several projects proposed by the District Attorney. Some restructuring of undesignated General Fund reserves is also proposed to establish savings accounts for software upgrades and replacements, existing County facilities major maintenance, future disasters, and other purposes. Additional investments in the County's strategic leadership team and training are also proposed to increase government transparency for the community, manage disaster recovery efforts, and streamline administrative functions.                
 
                                                                           
Other Budget Considerations
 
- The Adopted 2013 budget represented near across-the-board reductions because in November 2011, voters rejected a proposal to extend an existing sales tax that supports operation of the county-wide jail.
That sales tax will expire at the end of 2014. Projections for future budget years indicate that in 2015 when the jail sales tax is lost, and before property tax revenues rise from the 2015 reappraisal, the County will be operating in a deficit. Sufficient reserves must be available to bridge that gap in order to avoid deep cuts in department budgets and services. No sales tax revenue goes into the County’s General Fund.
 
- The primary source of revenue for the County’s General Fund is property tax. Most of the property tax collected by the County is distributed to other entities, most notably school districts, with portions also going to municipalities and special districts. The County’s share is approximately 25% of the total property tax collected. In recent years, Larimer County has seen a steady increase in the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for municipal urban renewal projects. As the use of tax increment financing expands, growth of the County’s primary source of discretionary revenue could be jeopardized.
 
PUBLIC INPUT
The public is invited to comment on the budget and there are several ways to do that: attend a hearing; watch a hearing on cable television or streamed on the Internet; Email or call in comments via Internet and telephone to the live TV hearings; send in written comments. Here are details:
Fort Collins Hearing – Monday, November 18, 2013 – 6:30p.m. on cable TV channels 14 in Fort Collins and 16 in Berthoud.  The hearing takes place in Fort Collins at 200 West Oak St., 1st floor Hearing Room. Viewers can call-in comments at 970-498-7016, and email in questions at BOCC@larimer.org and listen to the Internet stream at: http://larimer.org/bcc/broadcast.cfm.  The public is encouraged to attend. 
Estes Park Hearing – Thursday, November 21, 2013 – 6:30p.m. – on cable TV channel 12 in Estes Park. The hearing takes place at the Estes Park Municipal Bldg., Board Chambers, 170 MacGregor Ave. Viewers can email in questions or comments during the hearing at BOCC@larimer.org. The public is encouraged to attend.
Other methods to get budget input to the Board of County Commissioners:
 
 
Copies of the 2014 Proposed Budget are available at the Larimer County Budget Office, 200 West Oak Street, Fort Collins, Colorado (phone 498-7017). Copies are also sent to local public libraries, local radio & television stations and local newspapers. The Budget Adoption Hearing is set for Thursday, December 19 at 2p.m. in the 1st floor hearing Room at 200 West Oak St., Fort Collins.
 
You can view the Proposed Budget at: http://larimer.org/budget/2014budget.
 
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