Routt County approves 2022 budget
The Routt County Council of Commissioners approved the 2022 budget on Tuesday, anticipating a spending increase of $ 18 million from last year.
The increase in spending comes as the county sees revenues far exceed what they have been budgeted for this year.
Excluding property taxes, other income, such as sales taxes, is expected to increase by 34%. The budget also reflects the money the county has received through various federal COVID-19 relief measures.
“I think it is important that we recognize that it is evident that this budget recognizes a significant increase in revenue over what we have had in the past,” Commissioner Tim Corrigan said before voting to approve the budget Tuesday. “These funds are largely dedicated funds, such as upgrades to the airport.”
Tuesday’s approval was largely procedural, as much of the budget assembly work has been going on for months, and the final budget brief outlining the details was presented last month.
The largest item in the 2022 budget allocates $ 14.1 million to fully fund the construction of the new health and social services building near the downtown Steamboat Springs campus.
Overall, Routt County plans to spend just over $ 87 million next year while maintaining a reserve fund of nearly $ 53 million. The county’s largest expense is on staff, accounting for 37% of the total.
This includes $ 2.5 million set aside to address changes outlined in a staff salary survey examining pay equity in positions across the county and around $ 400,000 for better benefits that start on day one, which county officials say will ease the hiring problems.
One thing that is not outlined in the budget is how commissioners will spend roughly $ 5 million in American Rescue Plan Act stimulus dollars. Rather than deciding what these expenses are during the traditional budget process, Commissioners choose to take their time and involve the community in deciding how they will be spent.
A survey sent to residents in October showed finding affordable housing, improving broadband infrastructure and increasing educator salaries topped the list of spending ideas.
A decision on how to spend this money should not be made until the end of 2024, with the money to be spent by the end of 2026.
In November, Corrigan said commissioners would likely not make a decision on that money in the “very near future.”
“We’re going to spend some time figuring this out,” Corrigan said.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email [email protected]