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County adjusts 2011 budget

by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG — Huerfano County Commissioners voted to approve a resolution appropriating additional funds to defray expenses during 2011 that were in excess of what had been budgeted and received.
The county road and bridge department was budgeted in 2011 for $2,011,684, and spent $2,096,509, an excess of $84,825 in unanticipated expenditures. Most of that was due to an increase in fuel cost.
Payment in lieu of taxes or the PILT fund, also saw the need for an additional appropriation. In 2011 the county budgeted $169,250 for the PILT fund. There was an increase in the fund to $394,508, a $225,258 difference.
The PILT fund is federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable Federal lands within the boundaries of the county. There are 139,957 acres of Forest Service land in the county. The Bureau of Land Management holds 67,868 acres in Huerfano. The total amount of federal land holdings come to 207,825 acres in Huerfano County, land that is exempt from property taxes.
The Federal Forest Project fund was budgeted zero for 2011. The county received $17,500 in revenues for the purpose of additional expenses.
Additional expenses also showed up in the Emergency Services Fund. Originally budgeted at $537,139 for 2011, an increase of $1,541 in revenues was needed to cover the expenses of $538,680.
The Correctional Facility Enterprise also saw an increase in 2011 from $9,000 to $39,255, up $30,255.
The waste transfer fund covering the county’s waste transfer station was budgeted at $73,434 but expenditures of $86,887 were needed to keep the station operational, an increase of $13,453. The increase is due to a rise in fuel costs.
2012 will be the last year that the Waste Transfer Station will be listed as an enterprise fund in the county’s budget. According to the county administrator, 2013 may see the closure of the station if it doesn’t turn around in 2012. Colorado statutes allow the counties to carry a project as an enterprise for about five years.
On a 3-0 vote the county passed Resolution 11-35 to balance expenditures and revenues for the 2011 budget.
On that note, the county accepted both sealed bids from the two county newspapers to publish legals for the coming fiscal year. This move increases publishing costs to taxpayers 250% over the low bid. The HWJ bid 8 cents per line, the Signature bid 20 cents.

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