Department of Human Services
Rio Blanco County DHS provides services and programs for child support enforcement, child welfare, aid to the needy and disabled, food assistance, old age pension and various others. Projected revenues are up 3% to $3.79M and budgeted expenditures are down 3.3% to $3.91M. Significant revenue increases come from Property Taxes (+$376K) and ownership taxes (+$11.6K) while intergovernmental (the department’s largest revenue stream) is projected to decline by $278K. Budget increases are attributed to wage allocation through county administration (attorney), increases to contracts with Garfield County, and the need for additional staff including on-call workers, lead eligibility workers and a technician.
The Sheriff’s Office Budget is down 11% to $2.7M representing a decrease of $340K to total expenditures from 2023. Notable decreases listed are under Sheriff’s Office wages (-$206K) and related expenses ($116K). Similar cuts were made under the dispatch category for personnel-related costs such as life and dental insurance, workers’ compensation, retirement, FICA and Medicare and others totaling approximately $15.8K. Additional cuts were made across a wide variety of expenditure items which department staff attributed to:
– utilization of supplemental income for budgeted expenses including the use of grants and donations
– creative/efficient use of resources such as utilizing on-call deputies to manage overtime costs
– considering the potential savings of hiring a radio technician versus hiring a contractor
– and cost-saving measures like adjustments to the budget based on actual expenses and income
The sheriff’s office also anticipates a large increase to revenues (+$65%) mostly from projected property tax increases which are projected at $467K, up from $258K estimated in 2023 and only $86K in 2022.
The Public Health Department’s operations include immunizations, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Child Safety, emerging infectious diseases laboratory response network, emergency preparedness and environmental health. Projected revenues are down significantly at $300K for 2024, a 48.6% decrease. Expenditures reflect a similar trend totalling $468K, down 28.7% (graph). Budget discussions reviewed each program individually, highlighting a budget shifting to staff development, insurance costs and increased costs for medical supplies like strep testing equipment. The board and staff discussed concerns over the State Health Department threatening to withdraw funding for various programs due to RBC’s decision to stop providing COVID vaccines. Revenue decreases are listed under “charges for services” with some level of shortage being potentially offset by a 451% increase of property tax allocations versus 2023 proposed budget allocations ($83K). One major expenditure cut is to “purchased services” down 43% (-$121K).
During the IT budget discussion RBC paralegal Vicky Edwards asked how many people were engaging with budget discussions noting that some residents requested they be held at night. IT director Trevor Nielsen said at the time that no one had yet called into the meetings and said YouTube recordings were getting three or four views each. As of print time, the seven total meeting recordings have been viewed an average of 39 times each.
Overall expenditures for the IT department are up 45.6% from 2023 with increases proposed under supplies (up 216%) at $201K, professional services (up 34%) at $201K, purchased services (up 10%) at $80K, and training and development (up 50%) at $75K. These increases compared to the previous year pertain to a variety of improvement projects requested by other departments such as new ID systems, specialized network connections, computer replacements and more. A large portion of increases relate to general equipment replacement of network devices, and a variety of security upgrades deemed most urgent for continued secure communications and protection of sensitive county information/networks.
Senior Nutrition and Transportation
Discussion revolved around a need to increase efficiency and decrease costs associated with meal purchasing for services like Meals on Wheels, and drivers for the White River Roundup senior transportation. Overall expenditures are decreasing by 1.8% ($8.7K) to $451K.
The facilities department handles day-to-day maintenance/upkeep and capital improvements for county buildings, tower sites and associated grounds and is specifically responsible for daily activities not managed by other departments. Expenditures are up 15% at $1.24M, continuing a 2-year trend of expenditure increases for the department. Increases are represented across a wide range of categories including general salaries/wages (+28%), supplies(+11.5%), utilities(+9.6%) and future allocations for repairs and maintenance (+24.5%) Overall revenues for the department are down 15% compared to 2023. Facilities director Eric Jaqcuez also covered airport operations noting specific needs for projects and activities at both and required budget allocations. Examples include safety inspections, a boiler system and terminal building, utility costs, fuel farm insurance and others. Projected costs for Meeker Airport are around $120,000, while Rangely Airport is around $130,000.
Use Tax Fund and Administration
The Use Tax fund is primarily funded through construction/building use tax, motor vehicle use tax, and grants and is allocated to various departments and projects throughout the year. Projected revenues are slightly down (-0.5%) and expenditures are set to decrease by 7.8%. Notable changes to overall use tax allocations fall under categories such as Purchased Services (-9.9%), Fleet Management Charges (+8.8%), and Interfund Services (+40%).
Sales tax revenues are projected to increase by 7% continuing a trend of slight but sustained increases to sales tax revenue for the county. Sales tax is overseen by the “Use Tax Admin” department which works to correct misallocated sales tax revenue caused by addressing changes and other minutia. In 2022 the department redirected approximately $300K in misallocated funds to county revenues, indicating an improvement in misallocations overall compared to 2022 numbers ($600K).
You can access the county’s latest proposed budget accessible as of Oct. 16, 2023, at https://rbc.us/160/Budget-Finance by clicking “View Most Recent Budget” at the bottom of the page.