Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Adams County Commissioners Adopt 2011 Budget

The Adams County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the 2011 county budget in public hearing on Dec. 15, 2010. The $447.9 million budget represents a 7.6 percent decrease from the original 2010 budget. This decrease is primarily the result of fewer large projects. Last year’s budget included funding for the new Government Center and the Pecos Street grade separation project. The 2011 budget also reflects the significant decrease in federal stimulus funding that the county has been receiving through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Adopting the budget is one of the most critical responsibilities of the Board of County Commissioners,” said Chairman Alice J. Nichol. “The 2011 budget is balanced and represents the funding necessary for increased social services, Government Center financing and road and bridge projects.”

The approved 2011 budget includes a net reduction of 2.25 positions from the approved 2010 budget. All eliminated positions were already vacant. Although there was a reduction in positions, four new positions were added for maintenance of the new Government Center, which will be paid for with county sales taxes. The District Attorney’s Office will upgrade a parttime position to fulltime with a Victim and Law Enforcement (VALE) grant. The county approved a one time merit-based employee allocation to help with the increasing costs of medical insurance and retirement contributions and to keep employees motivated as the county addresses lower revenues by doing more with less.

“Our priority was to maintain service levels and avoid layoffs and furloughs,” said Commissioner W. R. “Skip” Fischer. “By prudent budgeting and not backfilling positions, we were able to accomplish our goal.”
Significant budget items include $1.7 million in facility projects, including parking lot maintenance, lighting retrofits and $876,000 for a remodel of the Western Service Center. The remodel project will accommodate the consolidation of several operations in Westminster that currently use leased space. Nearly $1.3 million was budgeted for information technology projects. The Human Services Department’s budget was increased by $32 million, the largest increase in the county, primarily due to higher food assistance payments.

The county budgeted $7.65 million for road and bridge projects, including $2.2 million for the Pecos Street grade separation project. Other road and bridge projects for 2011 include nearly $4.7 million in regular maintenance of county roads, streets and bridges.

“We are able to cover the financing of the Government Center, along with key transportation projects, in large part from the county’s dedicated sales tax revenue stream,” said Commissioner Larry W. Pace. “It is encouraging that sales tax revenues have shown noticeable improvement over the past six months.”
The county's 2011 budget is comprised of 20 separate funds that pay for numerous public services. The county will also use voter-approved sales tax revenues for transportation and open space projects. Like last year, property tax revenues are expected to decline again in 2011 with a net decrease of 0.37 percent compared to 2010. Adams County is anticipating lower property taxes in 2012 as well. In response to the projected decrease in property taxes, the county will be working in 2011 to reduce its fleet costs by 10 percent and freeze the rehiring of vacant positions subject to mission-critical needs.

In accordance with state statutes, the budget is adopted in December for the upcoming calendar year. Budget books will be available online after the first of the year at

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