|By Analisa Romano, Greeley Tribune, Colo.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
But the budget also includes components of a plan that would help mitigate the volatility of the industry.
Commissioners last year introduced a five-year plan that would set aside as much as
Their points of interest are in infrastructure, technology and innovation, staff training and development, and economic development, as well as a fluctuating reserve to deal with the highs and lows of energy prices.
Oil and gas assessed values this year were up by 15 percent, bumping up the county's entire assessed value by 9.3 percent.
Oil and gas next year will account for 55 percent of all property tax revenue and
That is why the county next year will dedicate another
Commissioners said they had hoped to lower the mill levy for next year, but the county's up-front costs for flood repair prevented them from doing so.
Warden said the total for flood infrastructure repairs could come to
"It is very gratifying to sit here and pass this budget in (light) of the challenges we have faced" with the flood, said
"I think it's pretty phenomenal, where we are at in this county," she said.
In a budget report to county commissioners, Warden said next year's and future budgets must embrace an "era of change," which the strategic plan also aims to address.
He said technological advancements and other developments mean the county's workforce must be prepared for residents who expect a more transparent and readily accessible government.
As a result, the county will stop outsourcing information technology services and hire a new chief information officer to oversee technology advances and communications across the county, Warden said.
The 2014 budget includes a number of other highlights:
--Seven new positions with the county's
--Net costs for the county's dispatch center will increase by
--The county is also anticipating health insurance rates for employees to increase by 8 percent next year. All employees will get a 2.5 percent salary increase, as well as step increases for longevity and performance.
--The Public Works budget is up by more than
--The county will add
--Two more planning positions will be added to handle the workload for even more development countywide.
--A number of actions will be implemented that fall under innovation, technology or workforce development in the county's strategic plan, such as a countywide training program and a new training position and an electronic system for documents in the
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