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2019 budget approved, county in excellent financial condition

Posted on 12/12/2018
2019 budget approved, county in excellent financial condition

During Wednesday’s meeting, the Weld County Board of Commissioners approved the 2019 budget for operations and capital outlay totaling a gross amount of $315,256,967. The Board also extended the 20+ year practice of charging below the TABOR limit (which is 22.038 mills) for property taxes by agreeing to keep the mill levy at 15.038 mills.

The county is in excellent financial condition with no debt, no sales tax, one of the lowest mill levies among all Colorado counties, a significant cash reserve, and a fully funded pension plan. The major factors impacting the 2019 budget continue to be dominated by the oil and gas development in Weld County, population growth, state and federal budget issues, and service restructuring in Weld County government.

As has been the case for the last few years, growth and development activity directly, or indirectly, related to oil and gas exploration seems to be the main economic driver in the majority of positive economic activities in Weld County. The local and regional economy remain one of the strongest in the state. Unemployment rate for Weld County has stayed below or near 3.0% for the last year.

Highlights from the 2019 budget include:

 Assessed value increased 25.1%, or $2.315 billion primarily due to oil and gas.

 Decrease the mill levy by 0.762 mills to 15.038 mills resulting in a 7.0 mill temporary tax credit.

 Add 72.25 FTE in county departments to cope with growth and workload demands.

 Fund the oil and gas revenue fluctuation reserve in the contingency fund at $36.0 million.

 Perform wireless radio maintenance in-house for all agencies using Weld County Regional Communications Center.

 Implement a body-worn camera program in the Sheriff’s Office.

 Open a Southwest Weld Substation booking function to serve south county law enforcement agencies.

 Complete construction of the $45 million jail expansion.

 Pave portions of WCR 29 north of SH 14, complete safety improvements at the WCR 13/34 intersection, and design a connector road from WCR 50.5 to WCR 52, complete bridge 44/33A, and partner with the City of Greeley on improvements for East 8th Street from US 85 Bypass to WCR 47.

 State increased categorical eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from 130% to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, which will result in a growth in the caseload and benefit payments paid.