County budget highlighted by road work

$5 million in reserve funding to be used

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The 2014 Douglas County preliminary budget shows no increases in taxes or fees and an anticipated revenue stream that falls $5 million short of anticipated expenditures — a difference that will be accounted for out of the county’s reserves.

This year’s expenditures, currently anticipated to be $241.8 million, are highlighted by $51 million slated for public safety, $43.7 million on capital improvements and infrastructure, $32.8 million on health and human services and $29.2 million on public works. The four categories account for 65 percent of all expenditures.

Specific big-ticket items are led by the $13.4 million planned to be spent on concrete and asphalt projects, as well as other aging infrastructure maintenance, most of which will occur in Highlands Ranch, said county budget manager Martha Marshall.

Other items of note include $3 million in match funding for the C-470 expansion project; $2.3 million for the U.S. 85 connector project near Titan Road; $2 million for the final phase of the justice center expansion project; $1.3 million for the Lone Tree Light Rail partnership with RTD and the City of Lone Tree to help complete the southeast extension and fund three new stations; and $1 million for the East-West Regional Trail Extension, a multi-agency and jurisdiction project that plans to construct the final eight miles of trail to connect Lone Tree and Parker.

The bulk of the anticipated $236.8 million in revenue will come from property taxes, $104.5 million; sales and use tax, $47.7 million; intergovernmental business, $35.6 million; and services, $32.1 million, according to finance director Andrew Copeland.

“(The commissioners) made it clear that the budget should reflect fiscal conservatism and that it shouldn’t include raising or growing government, raising taxes or fees and that we should try to be efficient, effective and stay focused on being good stewards of other people’s monies, but also make sure what we do spend is furthering the board’s goals on behalf of the community in a manner that actually helps solve problems,” said Douglas County manager Doug DeBord.

“The budget that we are talking about reflects many of those values.”

Keeping with the spirit of fiscal conservatism, there are no plans to add any full-time, county-funded positions at this time, DeBord added. Instead the county will invest in technology, look at using temporary help as needed and contract out larger projects to take advantage of some of the expertise that exists in the private sector.

The preliminary budget was presented to the commissioners Oct. 22 and will now be discussed at three separate meetings between the county’s finance staff and the board prior to Nov. 25. The budget, as it stands now, does not include any previously budgeted items that will be reappropriated for 2014. Those items will be included in the final proposed budget, which will be ready for adoption Dec. 10.

The preliminary budget may be viewed at www.douglas.co.us