County adopts ‘conservative, responsible’ budget for 2011

Rio Blanco County board chairman Ken Parsons introduced RBC budget director Chris Singleton. Parsons and fellow commissioners Joe Collins and Kai Turner later adopted the county's budget for 2011.

Rangely trustees ask for increase in some fees

Rio Blanco County board chairman Ken Parsons introduced RBC budget director Chris Singleton. Parsons and fellow commissioners Joe Collins and Kai Turner later adopted the county's budget for 2011.
RBC I After months of preparations, Rio Blanco County and other local taxing entities, including the town of Rangely, adopted budgets for 2011.
RBC budget director Chris Singleton gave an overview of the proposed budget to a full room Monday in the County Administration Building in Meeker, before it was adopted by the commissioners.
“This plan will change, it changed four times last week,” Singleton said at the beginning of her presentation.
Commissioners Joe Collins, Ken Parsons and Kai Turner, adopted a budget expecting $48,384,849 in revenue and expenditures of $41,768,116.
Singleton said sales and use taxes began to decline in 2009 and most other revenue sources followed in 2010. Rio Blanco County’s assessed valuation of $1.16 billion in 2009 was down to $1.12 billion in 2010, meaning less revenue in 2011.
“This (2011) is a reevaluation year and we expect the assessed valuation to go down a little more,” Commissioner Turner said after the meeting. “All in all, Rio Blanco County is in pretty darn good shape because past and present commissioners were conservative and fiscally responsible.”
“Our budget director and department heads worked hard and well together, keeping operating costs flat and actually reduced them,” Turner said. “We took advantage of some attrition and the sheriff’s department took five positions not filled in 2010 out of their budget for 2011.”
The budget did not include any direct distributions from Federal Mineral Leasing or new Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grants.
“The state is looking at a $1 billion shortfall next year,” Turner said. “We are fighting hard to get our share of Federal Mineral Leasing and Severance Tax but the state has been using more of those funds to balance their budget.”
“Our biggest concern for next year is what the state may do with revenue sources the town relies on for infrastructure improvements and to a degree, general operating expenditures,” Peter Brixius, manger for the town of Rangely said.
The town trustees adopted a budget to expend $3,415,149 in 2011. The trustees also adopted bugets for the three enterprise funds (gas, water and wastewater) the town manages.
Brixius said the water and wastewater funds have limited cash reserves, “with aging infrastructure.” The town will ask citizens for an increase in water and wastewater fees in 2011. The cost per thousand gallons of water for residents will increase from $2.77 to $3.25 and the base monthly fee will increase from $12.09 to 13.30. Residential wastewater base rate will increase from $25.35 to $26.62 per month, once implemented.
Because of economic times, for the second year in a row, Rio Blanco County employees will not receive a cost of living increase, neither will employees of the town of Rangely.