December 8, 2022
Boulder County adopts $593.5 million budget for 2023
Boulder County, Colo. -- At a public meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 6), the Boulder County Commissioners adopted a budget of $593.5 million for 2023. The public meeting was the culmination of the county’s budget process, which included a public comment period and public hearing.
During Tuesday’s public meeting, Budget Manager Jillian Dieterich, County Administrator Jana Petersen, and the Board of County Commissioners provided an overview of the key aspects and decisions reflected in the adopted budget. The budget resolutions and a recording of the public meeting are available on the county’s website.
“Boulder County’s 2023 budget allocates the resources needed to maintain the county’s current level of operations, safeguard its reserves, and provide for investment in infrastructure and transportation,” said Commissioner Claire Levy. “The county had unexpected expenses this year as a result of the Marshall Fire and the Dec. 30, 2021, wind damage to mobile home parks and, as such, has had to develop a budget within that reality. Boulder County continues to deliver a high standard of services across a broad range from land stewardship to family and children’s services that serve the residents of Boulder County. To retain our talented and dedicated employees, our 2023 budget was built around providing competitive compensation so we can continue to deliver that high standard of service.”
“The voters continue to amaze me by their generosity and care for Boulder County,” said Commissioner Marta Loachamin. “This year was no exception and the passing of the 1B Emergency Services Ballot Measure was significant to provide a future facility for Rocky Mountain Rescue Group volunteers and fund other needs. This has been a tough year for Marshall Fire survivors and Boulder County residents as we have additionally faced issues of labor shortages, COVID-19, rising inflation, and daily costs incrementing. The American Rescue Plan Act funding and allocations we were able to allocate this year will continue to provide relief for those most impacted by COVID-19, and I am hopeful that some of the local grants connected to those funds will continue to help programming and resourcing gaps for our community members.”
“The Wildfire Mitigation Ballot Measure was put on the ballot in November because we live in different times,” said Commissioner Matt Jones. “Fires are burning more ferociously and in different places than we thought possible. In the mountains, we are trying to increase the pace and scale of existing wildfire mitigation efforts to protect homes, forests and drinking water supplies. In the plains, there’s a new reality after the Marshall Fire. We need to work with people to make their homes more resistant to wildfire and mitigate nearby natural lands. During all of my years volunteering as a wildland firefighter, I never thought my town would lose 550 homes to wildfire – but it did. I want to thank the voters for passing the Wildfire Mitigation and Emergency Services Ballot Measures as well as the transportation tax so we have the funding to do our best to meet your needs.”
2022 Budget vs. 2023 Budget
The adopted budget of $593.5 million for 2023 is larger than the $549.9 million 2022 budget. The increase in the budget is not due to increased revenue from unrestricted sources, such as general use property tax (see below), but instead a result of externally restricted sources (for example, American Rescue Plan Act funds) and voter-approved revenue sources, which must be spent on specific activities and programs.
Revenue highlights for the 2023 Budget:
- The Commissioners certified a 2023 mill levy for the county of 24.746 mills (compared to 24.250 mills in 2022), which is projected to generate property tax revenues of $229.4 million (up from $228.5 million in 2022). Property tax revenue is distributed as follows (from 2022 data):
- School districts (54%)
- Boulder County (26%)
- Cities and towns (11%)
- Fire, water, and special districts (9%)
- Sales and Use Tax revenues, which are limited to expenditures explicitly approved by Boulder County voters, are projected to increase in 2023 by six percent over projected 2022 numbers. This increase is attributed to a stable economy and statutes that require remote sellers to now remit tax to the county. In addition, the voter-approved Wildfire Mitigation and Emergency Services Sales and Use Tax rates will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023 and are expected to generate an additional $19 million in revenue.
Overview and Highlights
While much of the 2023 budget addresses ongoing program and operating expenditures for Boulder County, the following are notable additions or one-time expenditures:
- The 2023 budget funds capital projects and purchases across various funds. Of note is continued funding for construction of the Alternative Sentencing Facility in the amount of $12.4 million and an additional $1.4 million to implement a software solution to manage the facility and the clients served there, $2.5 million for replacement or upgraded equipment at the Recycling Center, and $1.2 million for vehicle replacements to keep the county’s fleet current and to minimize related maintenance costs.
- $15 million has been appropriated for continued spending of Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in 2023. ARPA funds must be spent on activities and programs related to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit boco.org/ARPA for details.
- The Road & Bridge Fund budget contains $16.7 million for the maintenance and rehabilitation of county roads and bridges as well as $20.4 million for continued work on dedicated transportation sales tax projects.
- New full time equivalent staff (FTEs) were kept to a minimum for 2023, however the budget does include an additional 30 new FTEs, ten of which are funded by property taxes. Seven new positions in the Sheriff’s Office are required to address new statutory mandates, three new positions in Public Works will staff the new Southeast Lafayette HUB facility, and nine new positions are funded by voter-approved sales and use taxes to support the county’s Sustainability, Parks and Open Space and Offender Management programs, among others.
- In light of record inflation experienced in 2022 and the volatility of the local job market, a salary and benefits package for county employees includes continued funding for flat rate pay increases of $200 a month for all employees, a 5% general increase, and 2% discretionary pool for each office and department.
By state statute, the Board of County Commissioners must approve an annual budget by Dec. 15 for the next calendar year.
Now that the budget has been formally adopted, the Office of Financial Management will prepare a summary of the adopted budget, which will be available in the new year. A full budget book publication will be available by spring 2023 at boco.org/budget.