BCC closes the 2012 budget

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Finalized 2012 Jeffco budget numbers were better than expected but will still drew on reserves.

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday saw the county’s “2012 Budget Status — Year End” report approved. The budget was first presented to the Board of County Commissioners by Budget Director Tina Caputo at its April 9 briefing, before being officially accepted and adopted a week later.

“We pretty much hit the nail on the head for revenue projections,” Caputo told the commissioners at the briefing.

Total county revenue for 2012 came in at $467.7 million, compared to the county’s projections of $473.3 million.

Caputo said continued softness in property tax revenue was offset by $2.1 million in higher-than-expected sales tax.

The ending figures also indicated thrift within county government as departments managed to save $5.7 million.

Postponed or canceled capital improvement projects also saved the 2012 ledgers $65.7 million.

Caputo identified the Library Department and The Clerk and Recorder as having particularly good years, staying well under budget.

The Sheriff’s Department had the unbudgeted costs of managing the Lower North Fork Fire, presidential candidate visits, a couple of high profile murders to investigate, and several large retirement payouts. Caputo said the Sheriff’s Department still managed to only go over budget by 1 percent.

In less positive news, multiple departments still ended up dipping into fund balances last year.

“We’re burning cash like crazy,” District 3 County Commissioner Donald Rosier said.

The Social Services Fund, for instance, was not depleted last year, because it is virtually empty already.

Out of the current $5.8 million in the fund, $5.1 million is designated as reserved or restricted money.

“This is a fund that is going to see challenges for the next few years,” Caputo said.

Overall, Caputo said most budget overages will be covered by General Fund contingency funding, leaving a $7.1 million fund transfer request to balance the 2012 books.

The commissioners have no break from budget considerations. District 2 Commissioner Casey Tighe reminded his peers that extra mid-year funding requests seemed to come before the board weekly, and that meetings to discuss the county’s 2014 budget were about to begin.

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