Note: The Board of County Commissioners will hold Department Budget Workshops on October 19 through November 5, 2020 at the Historic Courthouse, 555 Main Street, 3rd floor BOCC Hearing Room in Meeker, CO. On Tuesday, October 20, 2020 the Workshop will be held in Rangely, CO at the Rio Blanco County Annex Building, 17497 Hwy 64. If you need special accommodations please call (970) 878-9440 in advance of the workshops so that reasonable accommodations may be made. The start time for each day is listed below, department workshops will follow in order listed.
Note: Budget Workshops are for discussion purposes only and for the BOCC to provide direction to the Budget and Finance Director to prepare the 2021 budget. No decisions are made during the workshops and adjustments may occur before the formal budget adoption on December 15, 2020.
Monday October 19 starting at 8:30 am
Budget and Finance Director Janae Stanworth presented the proposed 2021 Budget to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). Stanworth recapped with the BOCC about the budget and upcoming budget deficit before addressing the specific departments.
Board of County Commissioners
In the proposed budget, the BOCC had not met the requested 5% reduction despite making several cuts in travel expenses, membership dues to various organizations and other expenses. The board discussed multiple ways to reach the 5% reduction. Commissioners Rector and Moyer volunteered to donate a portion of their salaries back to the county in order to reach the 5%. Ty Gates, who will join the BOCC in January, was in the audience and also agreed to make the donation back to the county. The BOCC felt it was important to look at the salary category (or tier) that the Commissioners are currently in as a possible way to reduce budget in the future. Because the state regulates all elected officials’ salaries, any requested changes in category/tier could not take effect until the next election cycle. The board indicated they’d continue discussion in 2021 regarding this change.
Budget & Finance
The Budget & Finance Department was able to meet their 5% reduction in spending, predominantly through personnel expenses. Director Stanworth took a voluntary reduction in salary. The position of DHS Accounting Technician will be consolidated into the Budget & Finance Department (from DHS) and the duties will be facilitated by the Director and the current Accounting Technician. Additionally, the Budget & Finance Department made significant cuts in travel, training, postage and publications to the newspaper. Stanworth presented to the BOCC her request to change payroll to 26 rather than 12 pay periods per year, explaining that accruals and overtime would be much easier to calculate using the 26 pay periods. The requested change will take additional time to facilitate, and there is not currently enough staff in the Budget and Finance Department to do so. Stanworth requested to allocate some time from the current BOCC/HR Administrative Assistant to help facilitate the additional work.
Department of Public Affairs
The proposed Department of Public Affairs (consolidated from departments of Economic Development, Natural Resources, and Public Information) was presented as a “bare-bones” budget. Stanworth indicated she built it as minimally as possible until the board decided exactly what duties the position would include. Commissioner Woodruff questioned the necessity of the position, with explanations from Commissioners Rector and Moyer regarding the duties the position should perform to fill any gaps created by the elimination of Natural Resources and Economic Development. The BOCC increased the proposed budget’s travel expenses to a total of $5,000, predominantly to attend NEPA and similar meetings and represent the County at the State and Regional levels. The BOCC increased the purchased services by $5,000 to allow for minimal broadband marketing in 2021.
Sales and Use Tax
The BOCC confirmed previous discussions regarding their plan to fund the Sales and Use Tax Administrator position at 30 hours per week until June 2021, at which time they will reassess the future of the Department. Deb Morlan, Sales and Use Tax Administrator, reminded the BOCC of the importance of the duties performed by her department. Stanworth reiterated that the proposed change is to consolidate the services provided by the Sales and Use Tax Department with additional duties, not to eliminate the services that are currently provided. No additional changes were asked of the department at this time.
Tuesday October 20 (Rangely) starting at 1:00 pm
No additional changes made to the proposed budget.
Facilities Manager Eric Jaquez indicated he reduced the Columbine Park budget to "bare-bones" in order to reach the 5% requested reduction. He reduced staff hours allocated to the Park as well as cut purchased services as well as supplies expenses. Jaquez indicated that he expects additional savings on utility costs due to the LED lights that were recently installed. There was discussion about future improvements and care, indicating a need for more firm commitments from CNCC (Colorado Northwestern Community College) before any major investments (such as an indoor arena that has been designed for the CNCC rodeo team) take place.
Wednesday October 21 starting at 8:30 am
Road & Bridge
The BOCC thanked and applauded the Road & Bridge Department for their hard work in making the requested 5% reduction in spending. Road & Bridge Director Dave Morlan stated that “there will be a reduction in county road services but we tried to make the cuts where the public will see the least amount of change.” The two biggest changes made to the Road & Bridge Department to achieve the 5% reduction came from adjustments to personnel (reduction in total staff hours) and cutting operational costs such as decreasing materials, aggregates, changes to the crack fill and chip seal programs. The chip seal program will move from a 5 to 7 year cycle. According to Morlan, “this area was the most flexible when it came to cuts.” Road & Bridge has already implemented some of the proposed staff changes, and “so far the changes are going well,” Morlan stated. The BOCC agreed that the department should keep some contingency funds available in case adjustments need to be made 2021.
Solid Waste Landfill
The Solid Waste Landfill was able to meet the requested 5% reduction in spending as well. For 2021 there are no capital improvement projects planned and supplies were decreased. Solid Waste Landfill will be sharing an employee with the Road & Bridge Department, a position that has historically been difficult to fill. In 2020 the landfill saw a significant increase in usage and revenue, with projections indicating that increased usage will continue for the next 5 years. At this point the landfill does not intend to raise rates in 2021 (rates were increased in 2020). The Solid Waste Landfill is set up as an Enterprise Fund and while it does collect revenues, that money cannot be used to offset budget shortfalls in other areas of the county budget.
Thursday October 22 starting at 8:30 am
Human Resources (postponed to Wednesday October 28)
Coroner (postponed to Wednesday October 28)
The BOCC requested no changes to the proposed District Attorney budget. The District Attorney serves Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco Counties, with Rio Blanco County responsible for 7.51% of the total District Attorney budget. The BOCC thanked the District Attorney for keeping the budget as lean as possible during these difficult times.
Monday October 26 starting at 8:30 am
County Surveyor budget discussion revolved mostly around additional cuts to the fleet management charges. Surveyor Leif Joy did not feel the additional cuts to this area would pose any problems to the services and functionality of the department.
The Planning Department was able to make significant cuts in their proposed 2021 budget. Decreases came from removing the part-time assistant from the budget (a position that is currently vacant) and changes Joy anticipates making to data tracking. Joy previously presented to the BOCC regarding creating an in-house database to replace EnerGov, a tracking software that is utilized by various county departments. Joy and Stanworth anticipate that this change will have a savings of approximately $17,000/year.
Changes to the proposed GIS/Mapping budget include decreasing Purchased Services by $16,000. Joy explained to the BOCC that currently this department is not using contract services like they have in the past because much of that work is done in-house. He feels confident that the County can continue to offer services and perform its duties with the decrease in budget.
Much of the Building Department’s budget decrease revolved around the use of the proposed Administrative Specialist (currently the hours proposed are a 50/50 split between Building and Public Affairs). LaDonna Eubanks felt it was necessary to have personnel to provide customer service for the Department when no one else is available but this person could be working on other duties/tasks at the same time. The Building Department decreased their fleet management charges by $11,500 and removed the part-time Building Inspector from the budget.
The Meeker Airport budget discussion focused primarily on the future planning of Capital Improvement Projects for the airport. Currently there are no projects scheduled for 2021, however there will need to be research done for a fuel system upgrade and a reseeding project in the near future. There were no changes to the proposed budget.
Tuesday October 27 starting at 8:30 am
The Museum was able to cut approximately 6% out of their budget, no additional changes were made
The Attorney’s office was able to make the requested cuts, and included the county attorney cutting his wages by 5%. An addition of 5% was cut from the contingency line item.
The Communications Department was able to make the requested 5% overall cut, and the BOCC directed Stanworth to add the requested $30,000 in the budget for VHF replacement for Cathedral and Lobo Towers.
Wednesday October 28 starting at 8:30 am
- Department of Human Services
- White River Round-Up
- Human Resources/Coroner
Thursday October 29 starting at 8:30 am
- Weed & Pest
- Clerk & Recorder
- Emergency Management
Friday October 30 starting at 8:30 am
- Sheriff's Office (Patrol, Jail & Dispatch)
- Facilities Management
Monday November 2 starting at 8:30 am
- CSU Extension
- Fair Board
- Conservation District
- Public Health
- Wrap Up