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Commissioners Adopt 2013 Fremont County Budget

The Fremont County Commissioners took final action at their December 11th regular meeting to adopt the county’s 2013 budget.   Because revenues are not keeping pace with expenses the county’s 2013 budget will again rely on reserve funds to bring it into balance.   Expenditures in the general fund portion of the county budget are targeted at $11,269,000.   A copy of the county’s 2013 budget can be reviewed in detail on the county’s web site at www.fremontco.com.

District 3 Commissioner Ed Norden said County Assessor Stacey Seifert has already told the Commissioners to expect one more downturn in assessed values in 2013 which is a reassessment year.   Property is reassessed every two years and the first real impact of the recession was observed in the 2011 reassessment year.   Seifert says she expects values to drop again before a possible recovery in the 2015 reassessment.    County Manager George Sugars said Fremont County’s assessed value is expected to increase by 1.25 percent in 2013 due to new construction, but that small increase could be wiped out during the reassessment next spring which will be reflected in the property taxes collected for the 2014 budget year.

District Attorney Thom LeDoux appeared before the Commissioners requesting consideration of a salary increase above the $130,000 annual minimum salary set by Colorado statute.   The Commissioners noted that state law requires that commissioners in the four counties of the 11th Judicial District set the DA’s salary before he takes office for his second term.   LeDoux said he believed the commissioners from the four counties had already mutually agreed to grant him a 1.8 percent annual salary increase in line with his 2013 budget increase agreed upon by the commissioners at an earlier meeting in Salida.  The three Fremont County Commissioners said that was not their sentiment and that based upon the legal opinion of County Attorney Brenda Jackson they believe whatever salary is set must remain fixed for all four years of his term.

Commission Chair Debbie Bell said she could not in good conscience consider increasing LeDoux’s salary above the $130,000 minimum while all other Fremont County employees go without a pay increase in 2013 for the fourth straight year.   Commissioner Norden agreed noting that state law provided LeDoux with a $10,000 annual increase in salary to get him to the $130,000 minimum.   The State of Colorado pays 80 percent of LeDoux’s salary.   The Commissioners voted unanimously to set LeDoux’s salary at the $130,000 minimum for each of the next four years.   Commissioner Norden added in the motion that the District Attorney could interpret the Fremont Commissioners’ vote as representing 25 percent of the vote of 12 commissioners in the 11th Judicial District or as a 55 percent vote representing that portion which Fremont County pays towards the total cost of the DA’s budget.

In other business at the December 11th meeting the Board of Commissioners:

  • Recognized Head Custodian Bobbie Miller as the County Employee of the Year;
  • Approved an application by Arkansas Valley Ambulance (AVA) for a $59,500 grant to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs which would be used to help purchase a piece of property along Highway 50 west of Texas Creek which would serve as a primary response point and offices for AVA;
  • Reappointed Mildred Wintz and Mike Madone to the Fremont County Heritage Commission;
  • Approved a three year extension on a Fremont Paving and Redi-Mix conditional use permit for a gravel pit just north of Florence where additional time is needed for reclamation;
  • Set a special meeting for the Board of Commissioners on January 3rd at 9:30 a.m. to appoint a new Fremont County Coroner to replace Dr. Dorothy Twellman who is retiring.