Over the next several weeks you will see information regarding the 2021 Budget. The following image is a simple infographic of some of the projected changes in revenue that are expected for the county for 2021.
Watch your mailbox over the next few weeks, there will be a flyer sent out to all Rio Blanco County residents containing similar information to that below.
A letter from the commissioners:
Dear Citizens of Rio Blanco County,
This year has been interesting to say the least, and we're proud of the citizens of Rio Blanco County. We have all made adjustments and have had to make some difficult decisions, but our communities have handled this global pandemic with grace, and for that we are thankful.
Unfortunately, a larger threat to our economy existed long before COVID-19 and will continue to affect us for years to come. For many years Rio Blanco County tax collecting entities have been fortunate to receive abundant tax dollars from the fossil-fuel industry. Nearly 85% of the county’s tax base is from oil and gas; however, we are now facing the first-time reality that our future may look very different. A combination of the global price of energy and damaging state legislation have been threatening our tax base for the past few years. After much anticipation of the negative effects of these realities we can’t control, we’re finally seeing the anticipated deficits to the county budget. The typical ‘boom and bust’ cycle that we are so grown accustomed to may not look the same as it has in the past. Operators have had to turn to more profitable fields and to more fossil-fuel friendly areas of the United States. We have massive resources in Rio Blanco County, yes, but so do other states in the US with far less regulation and a lower overall cost of production. Even if the cost of energy rebounds, many Colorado operators will have moved on largely due to regulatory issues. With these challenges coming our way starting in as early as 2021, we are faced with difficult decisions regarding the budget of the county.
Our role as county government is to serve those that live within the county boundaries. This role takes many forms from maintaining roads, to offering human and public health services, to advocating for legislation that affects our citizens while maintaining a balanced budget. The commissioners of Rio Blanco County, past and present, strive to offer the best to our residents while making choices that are reflective of the current population, needs of the residents, and the overall budget. As we move forward with 2021 budget decisions, we have no choice but to consider consolidating what we can and cutting other costs in order to continue serving our citizens in the most efficient, effective, and responsible way possible. The decisions that we will be making will not be taken lightly, knowing that they will likely affect our neighbors, friends, and family. Although dipping into our reserve funds sounds easier, we plan to do what is best to protect Rio Blanco County’s future by taking steps in the right direction as soon as possible.
We have asked each department to look seriously at their spending and consider ways to operate smarter and more efficiently with less. We will be working closely with each department to make up the budget deficits that we anticipate in 2021 and also to set us up for success into the future, as this is not a short term problem. We will be using our website (www.rbc.us) and social media platforms to inform the public as much as possible throughout the process; however, please remember that our regular and budget meetings are public and you are always welcome to participate.
Gary Moyer, Jeff Rector, Si Woodruff