Commissioners approve $19.5 million in 2014 budgets for San Juan County
Dec 25, 2013 | 1621 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On December 23, San Juan County Commissioners approved a 2014 General Fund budget that totals $11.25 million.

Commissioners also approved budgets for the Roads, Health, Emergency Services, Road Capital, Landfill, Tort Liability, Library and Trust funds. In summary, budgets totaling $19.5 million were approved by the Commission.

In addition, the Commission has announced that instead of a separate appropriation, capital projects will be reviewed and approved on an as-needed basis.

The Commission made several adjustments to ensure that the 2013 budget remains balanced. County Auditor John Fellmeth reports that, after all is said and done and paid, actual expenditures from the 2013 General Fund may come in at about $1 million under the $12 million budget.

Fellmeth reports, “With normal expenditures for the remainder of the year, we will not come anywhere near spending the (2013) budget.”

Relatively small adjustments were made to the 2013 Health, Ambulance, Landfill and Library budgets to ensure that they will balance.

For the 2014 budget, the county is expecting that total expenditures will exceed total revenues by approximately $1.8 million. The difference will be made up through the various reserves funds held by the county.

Of the $1.8 million, $1.7 million will come in road funds, including the B Road fund and the Road Capital fund.

Officials state that a variety of factors, including the effects of the Federal Sequestration, have had an impact on San Juan County.

The biggest impact is on the road funds, hence the expected $1.7 million adjustment. The B Road fund has a $16 million fund balance.

Referring to budgetary issues surrounding county roads, Commissioners explained that there will be cuts in services because of the drop in revenue.

Poor-quality asphalt roads may need to go to a high-quality gravel roads.

Fellmeth explained, “Many of the changes are due to a reduction in payments from the federal government for programs that existed for several years, but that are simply going away.”

Commissioners said that the county aging programs saw Sequester cuts. In addition, payments from the federal government in leiu of taxes (PILT) were decreased.

They add that threatened cuts in federal mineral lease funds could have a significant impact on local government programs and services.

In June, Commissioners approved a “revenue-neutral” approach to property taxes, resulting in a decrease in property taxes for most taxpayers.

Commissioners explain that the estimated $300,000 impact on the budget was dealt with through a number of methods, including eliminating a full time position in the county government and two fulltime positions in the road department.

In addition, the county has been more conservative on capital expenditures. Commissioner Lyman added, “San Juan County still has room for more cuts while focusing more on providing essential services.”
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