EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - Following adoption of the 2013 county budget and mill levy on Dec. 11, the Eagle County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday certified the property tax mill levies for all taxing entities. While the county has no ability to change mill levies other than its own, per Colorado statute every county must compile mill levy information for all taxing authorities within its boundaries and provide that information to the state. Mill levy certification is the final step in the county's annual budget process.
During the budget approval last week the commissioners noted the projected continued decline in county revenues. While sales tax collections improved in 2012, property tax revenues represented close to a 24 percent reduction from 2011 and are anticipated to decline by an additional 20 percent in 2014 and 2015. Other revenues such as interest and fees are expected to remain flat.
"While we are seeing the start of a slow economic recovery, we are continuing to budget conservatively," said Commissioner Sara Fisher.-
In response to the revenue projections, General Fund operating expenditures will be approximately $30 million for 2013, representing a $2.3 million decrease from 2012. Across all funds, expenditures are budgeted at $86.6 million and revenues are budgeted at $90.5 million for 2013, down from $88 million and $92 million respectively in 2012.
"All levels of the organization worked together to develop this fiscally sound and sustainable budget," Commissioner Peter Runyon. "Our elected offices and departments are to be commended for achieving these reductions."
The county began preparing for the current decline in revenues in 2009 and has decreased its General Fund expenditures every year since. Over the same period, General Fund reserves have increased from $15.4 million to $18.6 million. In addition, the county's combined property tax mill levy has remained unchanged at 8.499 since 2004.
"We are committed to living within our means while continuing to provide quality services to our community in 2013 and beyond," said Commissioner Jon Stavney.
County staffing levels have also been reduced over the last four years, with full-time equivalents in the General Fund down 25 percent from a high of 312 in 2008 to 235 in 2013. Total full-time equivalents in all funds are 430 in 2012 and will remain flat in 2013. As approved, the 2013 budget includes a three percent merit pool to be distributed based on employee performance.
The county's 2013 budget and mill levies for all taxing entities are available online at www.eaglecounty.us. Video from Tuesday's meeting, as well as from the Dec. 4 public budget presentation and the Dec. 11 budget adoption hearing, can be viewed at www.ecotv18.com.