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December 10, 2015

Boulder County Commissioners adopt 2016 budget

Flood repair and recovery expenses continue to dominate expenditure requests in annual budget

County, Colo. –
The Boulder County
Commissioners have adopted a budget of $426.6 million for 2016, down from an
adopted budget of $438.8 million in 2015.

recovery projects continue to account for a substantial portion of the budget, with
flood-related expenditures expected to total $41.2 million in 2016. Anticipated
revenues for these expenses have been allocated primarily to the Road &
Bridge Fund, the General Fund, and the Disaster Recovery Fund.

Last year’s
Ballot Issue 1A, the Flood Recovery Sales and Use Tax, is expected to yield
nearly $9.3 million in 2016. The passage of 1A enables the county to continue
to rebuild its damaged roads, bridges, trails, and other infrastructure in a timely
manner. Total flood recovery spending is still on track to equal $217 million
over a period of five or more years.

Revenue highlights for the 2016 budget:

  • Property tax collections
    will go up varied amounts in 2016 for all taxing entities due to a 19% increase
    in assessed property values in 2015 (evaluated in odd years). However, Boulder
    County is restricted by the
    5.5% Property Tax Revenue Limit which constrains the
    amount of increase in general operating taxes that the county can collect.
  • Sales and Use Tax
    revenues, which are limited to expenditures explicitly approved by Boulder
    County voters, are projected to increase in 2016 by four percent over projected
    2015 numbers. This increase is attributed to the continuing strong growth in the
    local economy.
  • $34.3 million in flood
    recovery reimbursements and grants from state and federal agencies in response
    to the 2013 Flood are projected for next year. These reimbursements, which are
    finally starting to flow back to Boulder County for repairs completed in
    2013-15, will be applied to outstanding floor recovery balances.


  • The Boulder County
    Recycling Center will receive a much-needed upgrade to bring it up-to-date with current market-driven demands. The commissioners have allocated $2.5
    million in 2016 ($500,000 of which will come from the City of Boulder to accommodate their voter-approved Zero Waste programs) to
    install a fiber baler and cardboard screen, expand the pre-sort station, make
    improvements to existing infrastructure such as concrete, electrical, fire
    sprinklers and HVAC, and add a film plastic air system, and achieve a higher capture rate of cardboard. All improvements are intended to help increase the facility’s processing
    capacity and keep more material out of the landfill.
  • The budget also includes
    $1.3 million in capital improvement projects at the Criminal Justice Center at
    6th and Canyon in Boulder that will benefit the Clerk of the Courts
    and the Community Justice Services’ BEST program, both of which have been operating under cramped or ineffective working conditions. Two smaller projects were also approved to improve outdated facilities at the jail.
  • The Sheriff’s Office
    will receive $378,472 for a body-worn camera system that is intended to enhance
    deputy safety, improve accountability, reduce liability, and help with public and
    media perceptions after a critical incident.
  • The 2016 budget also
    includes an expenditure in the amount of $100,000 to begin a 10-year countywide
    facilities evaluation to determine where outdated facilities exist and where growth
    in our resident population will put pressure on existing facilities over the
    next decade.
  • Transportation outlays,
    in addition to funding in the Road & Bridge Fund to pay for flood recovery
    repairs and the dedicated transportation sales tax projects, include $19.6
    million for the maintenance and rehabilitation of county roads and bridges,
    including $1.3 million to repave the Linden Road “loop” as part of the commissioners’ annual commitment to addressing community subdivision roads.
    This year’s budget will also carry over $780,000 from the subdivision road
    rehabilitation partnership incentive fund.
  • The overall personnel
    package for 2016 includes the addition of 12.4 FTEs: 1.4 term and 11 permanent.
    Although several additional FTE requests were made by elected officials and
    departments, only those requests that were subsidized in whole or in part by an independent funding source (such as a
    grant) or a regulatory requirement were approved.

Commissioners certify county mill levy/property tax rate

The Commissioners certified a 2016 mill levy for the county of 22.624
mills (down from 24.794 in 2015), which is projected to generate property tax
revenues of $153,625,755 (up from $141,821,638 in 2015 due to the substantial increase
in this years' assessed property values). The adopted levy includes a temporary
mill levy credit in the amount of
2.181 mil.

Boulder County's collection of property taxes represents roughly 28 percent of a
property owner’s total average property tax bill. Other taxing entities that receive property tax revenues include
(from 2015 data): school districts (54%), cities and towns (11%), and “other”
fire, water and special districts (7%).

By state statute, the Board of County Commissioners must approve an annual
budget by Dec. 15 for the next calendar year. >>