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Commissioners approve 2010 budget

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners is two steps closer to welcoming the new year, following approval of its 2010 budget Dec. 15, and a mill levy certification during a Dec. 22 special meeting.

Following are breakdowns for significant sources of revenue, funds, and mill levies.

Revenue projections

With an uncertain economy providing income, county staff has projected increases in some revenue streams, with decreases in others.

• “Property tax revenues are projected to increase by 17 percent, or $1.1 million, due to the higher property assessed valuations,” County Administrator Greg Schulte said when presenting the budget.

The increase will bring in additional revenue of just over $800,000 this year due to the two-year lag time in property value assessments.

Schulte said officials are viewing this as one-time money and indicated in an e-mail that it will not be directed toward operations.

• County staff based the 2010 budget on another 3-percent sales tax decrease, to $2,980,000. Sales tax revenue is split with the town, and the county’s portion is split between the General and Road Capitol Improvement funds.

This is an 11-percent decrease from 2007.

• The building permit fee waiver policy adopted by the BoCC means building permits will cost 50-percent of the regular amount in 2010, up from 2009’s complete fee waiver. The fees will return to their full amount in January 2011.

• “One of the things that we’re doing this year (2009) is we’re seeing a more accurate application of state statute. The treasurer is collecting more fees, as they are required to,” Schulte said.

Treasurer’s fees are expected to remain static for 2010. Fees collected in 2009 totaled about $600,000, up from $240,000 in 2008.

• Fees collected through the clerk’s office are expected to decrease 10 percent in 2010, with expected revenue of $225,000.

“We think that’s a result of the weak local housing market,” Schulte said.

• County staff has budgeted $850,000 received for payment in lieu of taxes (PILT), but hopes to see more. In 2009, the county budgeted for $820,000, but received $870,000.

“We’re going to hopefully be conservative again in 2010 and budget $850,000,” Schulte said.

Fund breakdowns

Despite expected decreases in revenue collected, all county funds are projected to end with positive balances.

The projected numbers are as follows, by fund:

• The General Fund will start 2010 with $711,027 and will break essentially even with $9,722,400 in revenues and $9,742,401 in expenditures. There is $404,351 socked away for reserves, leaving an ending available resource of $336,676.

In presenting the budget for adoption, Schulte explained that the fund will be able to break even, due to reductions in training and leasing vehicles versus outright purchases.

Also, no money was allocated to add to the fund reserves. The BoCC adopted a reserve policy in March 2009, putting $300,000 into reserves each year until 2012.

The BoCC approved an additional 693 hours of part-time work for the treasurer’s office, in addition to the 693 currently budgeted, meaning the treasurer will be funded for two-thirds of an FTE (full time equivalent), which is 2080 hours.

The commissioners also appropriated $10,000 for economic development, which could go toward the Archuleta Economic Development Association (AEDA) or a replacement organization if one is created, Schulte said in the e-mail.

• The 1A Fund will start with $2,096,961 and will see both revenues and expenditures of $1,500,000, ending the year with the same balance as at the start.

On Sept. 15, the BoCC held a public hearing for the allocation of the $1.5 million projected for the 1A Fund in 2010.

Allocation for Road Maintenance stayed the same as in the 2009 budget at 60 percent, or $900,000.

The amount allocated for Information Technology/Training increased from 10 percent in 2009 to 15 percent, or $225,000 in 2010.

The 1A Parks and Recreation and Facilities funding each saw decreases from 15 percent in 2009 to 12.5 percent, or $187,500, in 2010.

• The Road Capitol Improvement Fund will start the year with $2,229,071, with revenues of $1,687,000, expenditures of $3,422,377, and $3,828 designated for reserves. The fund will end the year with $489,866.

Included in the expenditures for the fund are four equipment purchases.

Most of the unappropriated $493,694 (ending available and reserves) will be directed toward major gravel projects, Schulte explained.

•The Solid Waste Fund will begin the year with $59,184. Expected revenues are $586,250 and expenditures are $585,259. With $974 designated for reserves, the fund will end the year with a balance of $59,201.

The October proposed budget projected a $24,000 operational deficit, which Schulte noted was lessened to $18,000 during the departmental budget hearings. However, a sharing of personnel with the Road and Bridge Department and a dumping fee increase should help to alleviate the deficit.

One staff member from Solid Waste will be assigned to the Road and Bridge Department for 15 percent of his time, 300 hours, which equates to about $7,000.

Solid Waste will also increase the dumping fee by 25 cents, to $13.50.

• Archuleta County is proposing a takeover of management of the Archuleta County Housing Authority, previously run by Housing Solutions, Inc., out of Durango, and of the Housing Authority voucher program, beginning Jan. 1.

The voucher program, currently run through HSI, helps subsidize the rent for low income seniors and disabled people, explained Rick Bellis, director of county development.

Bellis also said the program hopes to expand in the future to help subsidize mortgages to help move people from rentals to their own homes.

The takeover will create one new position to run the voucher program, and the BoCC will appoint the Housing Authority board of directors.

Commissioner Clifford Lucero said moving the operation back to Archuleta County will mean a substantial savings for the county and will create local jobs.

The Housing Authority will begin with a debt of $2,262, bring in $130,927 in revenue and expend $120,284, ending the year with $8,381.

• The Road and Bridge Fund will start with $37,857, take in $2,282,300 in revenues and spend $2,209,904 while designating $10,269 for reserves. It will end the year with $99,984.

The Highway User’s Tax, which Road and Bridge receives, is budgeted to decrease 1 percent in 2010; however, revenue is expected to increase due to legislation passed in March 2009, which increases fees on vehicle registrations.

• The Department of Human Services Fund will start 2010 with $219,354, realize $2,218,627 in revenues and $2,205,925 in expenditures , with $107 designated for reserves, leaving an ending balance of $231,949.

DHS will also recruit to fill a new position in 2010 — a full-time deputy county attorney for roughly the same $60,000 it has paid for part-time legal services in the past. If the recruitment is successful, the new attorney will start work in April.

• The Airport Fund will begin 2010 with $134,671, bring in $952,251, spend $961,160 and end the year with $126,762.

• The E911 Fund will start with $117,831, see $132,000 in revenues, $133,000 in expenditures, and end the year with $126,762.

• Archuleta Combined Dispatch starts 2010 with $500, expects $618,900 in revenues, $618,100 in expenditures and will end the year with $1,300.

• The Fair Board Fund will start the year with $1,250, bring in $59,000 and expend $59,750, leaving the fund with $500 at year’s end.

• The Tourism Fund will start and end the year with $1,101, with revenues and expenditures of $76,000.

• The Community Service Fund will start and end the year with $3,762, with revenues and expenditures of $13,200.

• The Jail Commissary Fund will also stay even over the year, starting and ending with $21,779, with $10,100 in revenues and expenditures.

• The Capital Improvement Fund will start and end the year with a zero balance, with revenues and expenditures of $8,313.

• The Conservation Trust Fund will start the year with $330,220, with 100,000 in revenues, $30,000 in expenditures, ending the year with $400,220.

• The Employee Benefit Trust Fund will start the year with a balance of $357,832 and expects $1,213,051 in revenues with $1,100,100 in expenditures, leaving a year-end balance of $470,783.

Mill levy certification

The BoCC certified the mill levy in their Dec. 22 special meeting as follows:

• With an assessed valuation of $391,507,808, Archuleta School District 50 Jt. will collect $9,201,608 with a levy of 23.508 mills.

Because the Ignacio and Bayfield school districts overlap into small areas of Archuleta County, the Ignacio School District 11 Jt. will receive $112,152 with a mill levy of 3.574 and the Bayfield School District 10 Jt. will collect $13,430 with a levy of 15.814 mills.

• Archuleta County, with an assessed valuation of $423,737,130, will collect $6,724,859 with 15.870 mills levied. Of that, 12.298 mills and $5,211,299 falls under general revenue, while 3.540 mills and $1,500,000 falls under taxpayer-approved exempt funds (the 1A Fund).

The Road and Bridge fund, with the same assessed valuation, will collect $717,500 with 1.693 mills levied.

Public Welfare, also with the same valuation, will collect $297,200 with a levy of 1.701 mills.

• The Town of Pagosa Springs, with an assessed valuation of $69,928,916, will collect $109,928 with a levy of 1.572 mills.

• Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District 1, with an assessed valuation of $161,449,577, will collect $1,834,713 with a levy of 11.364.

PAWSD District 2 (4.811 mills) has an assessed valuation of $136,508,286 and will collect $656,741.

• The Pagosa Fire Protection District will collect $1,858,729 (5.098 mills) and an assessed valuation of $364,599,647.

• Alpha Rockridge Metro District will collect $105,587 with 10.012 mills; Aspen Springs Metro District will collect $301,559 with 14.693 mills; Loma Linda Metro District will collect $79,638 with 10.030 mills; Piedra Park Metro District will collect $24,833 with 7.404 mills.

Los Pinos Fire District will collect $155,453 with 5.020 mills; San Juan River Village Metro District will collect $62,431 with 8.882 mills; San Juan Water Conservancy District will collect $102,648 with 0.316 mills; Southwestern Water Conservation District will collect $84,747 with 0.200 mills.

Town of Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District will collect $100,431 with 2.016 mills; Upper San Juan Library District will collect $636,029 with 1.504 mills; and Upper San Juan Health Service District will collect $1,626,657 with 4.155 mills.

randi@pagosasun.com