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Budget season begins for Archuleta County government

The days are still warm and the grass still green, but budget season is underway for Archuleta County government.

Last Thursday, elected officials and county department heads were given budget instructions, budget preparation guidelines and a budget calendar.

And early instructions indicate that the county is looking to reduce its overall budget.

Included in a budget guidelines memo from Greg Schulte, county administrator and budget officer, is a statement noting, “Operating budgets submitted for 2013 should include a 5% reduction from the authorized 2012 operating budget.”

Staffing levels, however, are currently authorized to be at the same level as 2012 (total payroll and benefits for the county are slated to total $7,999,544 in 2012 across all departments, according to Schulte).

“The economic condition of Archuleta County continues to be fragile,” Schulte wrote in the guidelines memo. “We must continue to budget conservatively.”

Also included in the budget are instructions related to internal controls and performance measures.

Departments are to update narratives for the 2013 budget document, including the department’s mission statement as developed in each department’s Internal Control Policy, description of core services, and 2013 goals and 2012 accomplishments.

Another task is for all departments to identify three performance indicators (with one being customer feedback) that are aligned with the department or elected office’s desired results. The instructions note that the indicators should include data collection and reporting methodologies.

Key dates on the 2013 Budget Calendar are as follows:

• Aug. 25 — State statute deadline for the, “Assessor to certify to all taxing entities and to the Division of Local Government the total new assessed and actual values,” for real and personal property.

• Sept. 7 — Budget narrative and 2013 goals due to finance department from department heads and elected officials.

• Oct. 11 — State statute deadline to publish a notice of when the proposed budget is to be considered for adoption, where the proposed budget is available for inspection by the public, and where objections to the proposed budget may be filed before the final adoption.

Oct. 11 is scheduled for the public hearing and presentation of the 2013 proposed budget to the Board of County Commissioners.

• Nov. 1 — State statute deadline for submitting applications to the Division for an increased levy pursuant to state statute, and deadline for applications for exclusion of assessed valuation attributable to new primary oil or gas production from the 5.5 percent limit pursuant to statute.

• Oct. 22-Nov. 9 — Budget hearings with the Board of County Commissioners.

• Dec. 10 — Statute deadline for the assessor to make changes in assessed valuation.

• Dec. 13 — Public hearing on the adoption of the budget, adoption of the 2013 fee schedule and certification of mill levies for Archuleta County.

The budget must be adopted by Dec. 15, as per statute.

• Dec. 31 — Archuleta County 2013 Budget ready for distribution and posting on the county’s website.

randi@pagosasun.com

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