Prowers County Budget Passed for 2014


 Court House Windmill-2

The Prowers County Commissioners held a public hearing on the 2014 county budget this past Thursday, December 12 and approved resolutions for the budget amounting to $17,844,998 as well as a mill levy of 27.17 mills for assessable property within the county amounting to $3,339,233, based on an assessment of $122,901,471.  The county’s budget decreased slightly from 2013 which was $18,792,000. 

The General Fund for 2014 is $6,481,259; the Department of Social Services Fund is next highest at $3,975,025, followed by the Road & Bridge Fund at $2,918,938.  The Sales & Use Tax Fund is next highest on the list of estimated expenditures at $1,650,000 and the Public Health Agency Fund is a close $1,603,314.  

The Commissioners said they faced a tighter budget this year, based on declining revenues to the county from a static sales tax including a decrease in property tax values.  Commissioner Chairman, Joe Marble stated, “We’ve seen a decline in agricultural production in our county through this drought over the past several years.  The impact has been felt through an almost total lack of a corn crop, a decrease in ag equipment sales and with no feed or seed, there’s less taxes that can come back to us.”  Commissioner Schnabel echoed that observation, stating, “We’re seeing a type of domino effect where one segment of the economy is dependent on agriculture revenue, and when that begins to decline, it impacts other areas of the economy, not just in the county, but statewide.”  Marble added that the decline in hay production will also result in lost revenues, mostly because farmers didn’t have the water they needed last year to irrigate their fields.  He said that for some farmers, it may be one or two years before they see a turn-around on that property.  Schnabel added that the lack of current moisture in the land will have an impact on the winter wheat crop for this year.   

Marble said not every expenditure can be predicted, referencing the added cost to the county this past year of conducting the November General Election.  He said that because of changes made at the state level, the county had to spend an extra $70,000 on computer hardware.  He mentioned an $80,000 price tag required for upgrades to the radio system used by the Prowers County Sheriff’s Office.  Another cost from that department stemmed from the county being sent prison inmates from around Colorado as that’s an additional financial burden that’s passed along to county residents by the actions at state level.  

Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade said that although this was her first budget as a commissioner, she had been involved with budgets in her prior profession.  Buxton-Andrade said the budget was a comprehensive effort that took extreme coordination to balance out.  She said the department heads were able to assist in the process, especially in the Department of Social Services as they had the expertise to recapture funds back from the services that are mandated, and are reimbursed as much as possible from the state government.   

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyFeaturedGranadaHollyHot TopicsLamarProwers CountyWiley


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