Sales tax revenue up 170%

RBC I Sales tax revenue is up 170% compared to last year, according to RBC Sales and Use Tax director Deb Morlan. She explained that sales tax increases are coming from companies who ship goods into the county, particularly for project materials for ongoing or recently completed industrial activities. Morlan said she expects sales tax revenue to “increase quite a bit in the next three months.” In contrast, Use Tax revenue is down 58% since last year.

In both cases Morlan said the numbers are “skewed.” Sales taxes are up significantly due to a large project at the end of 2021 that brought in around $500K in revenue for the county. Use Taxes are down -58% because of another large project in the previous year. Motor vehicle taxes are up 19%. Morlan also highlighted that state legislation passed in March (HB 22-1117) will expand how lodging taxes can be used, including funding housing and childcare for the tourism-related workforce, enhancing visitor experiences and more.

ROAD and BRIDGE

Road and Bridge Director Scott Marsh asked about the potential to recoup expenses caused by the annual Rangely hill-climb event. According to Marsh the event throws gravel off the road, costing “several thousand dollars” to replace. Commissioner Ty Gates suggested checking in with Town of Rangely officials for more background information before proceeding.

Marsh announced that the landfill would be opening for Chevron starting Monday, May 16. He requested additional, temporary help at the landfill to deal with the increased workload. In the past Chevron has dumped drill cuttings at the landfill, though board members speculated this current round is related to “well cleanup recycling.”

FINANCIALS

Budget and Finance Director Janae Stanworth discussed fund balances and overall budget numbers for 2021. All departments came in under-budget from projected expenses, spending a combined total of approximately $27.7 million in 2021 compared to the budgeted amount of $28 million. Stanworth explained the gap in operating expenses is a result of understaffing and a lot of open positions that have not been filled. Overall, unassigned fund balances for 2022 are at $11.4 million of which approximately $8 million can be “moved around” for different uses and/or fund types. So far, board members and staff are budgeting money for upcoming Meeker airport projects, new radios and a few other projects.

Stanworth also discussed an allocation of “Secure Rural Schools Title 1” funding from the USDA/Forest Service which is being split between the School District (58%) and the Road and Bridge department (42%). Stanworth did not specify a dollar amount.

REGULAR MEETING

Regular business items Tuesday included a dedication of the grandstands at the RBC Fairgrounds to the memory of Bryce Purkey in appreciation of his years of service to Range Call, the county fair, Lions Club and multiple kids programs. Commissioner Gates said “He did do a lot of great things for our community … I think this is a great recognition for Bryce.”

The board changed the official posting location of BOCC Tentative Agendas from the RBC Courthouse south entrance to the bulletin board located on the west side of the building facing Sixth Street. Agendas will be visible in a newly installed sign structure.

Contract agreements for software upgrades and other services were approved, including:

  • $46.9K for cloud-based accounting software from Tyler Technologies
  • $26K for cloud-based “Cleargov” budgeting software
  • $24.9K for cloud-based “Pubworks” tracking software for the Road and Bridge department.

Software upgrades will facilitate a more centralized system for all county departments and negate the need for server replacements. Agreements include three years of funding from the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Federal Recovery Funds (SLFRF).

The board also finalized negotiations with the Eastern Rio Blanco County Health Service District Pioneers Medical Center, concerning the operation of senior citizen transportation service “the Meeker Streaker.” Commissioner Gates said the agreement would require the county to hire its own driver when using the vehicle for event transportation.

The board also transferred saved funds from the Meeker Airport’s annual entitlement fund allocation to the Rangely Airport. Both airports get $155K per year in entitlement funds, which the county transfers back and forth to get the best “bang for the buck” and facilitate projects that will be funded 90% by the FAA, 5% by the state, and 5% by the county. This year $451K will go from the Meeker to Rangely airport entitlement fund to fund the Rangely Airport Wildlife Fence Project.


By LUCAS TURNER | lucas@ht1885.com

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