The Otero County Commissioners in Monday's regular meeting completed enactment of the 2015 Otero County Budget.

The Otero County Commissioners in Monday's regular meeting completed enactment of the 2015 Otero County Budget. The enactment included Resolution 2014-14: Adopt FY2015 Budget, Resolution 2014-15: Set FY2015 Mill Levies, Resolution 2014-16: Appropriate Sums of Money for FY 2015, and Resolution 2014-17: Adopt Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 54 (GASB 54). Mill levies remain the same. Final assessed valuation for Otero County is $133,233,624, representing a $2,350,779 (1.796 percent) increase over FY2014.

Otero County Administrator Jean Hinkle said the county was able to give a $60 a month cost of living increase to all county employees and a step 1 anniversary increase upon a satisfactory evaluation. The employees have been conservative when utilizing the Medical Trust Fund. The county has again adopted a conservative approach to the budget, but there was some increase in sales tax revenue. Hinkle encourages citizens to shop local to boost revenues for December, as they were down in November.

During the course of the year, the Administration Office completed the revision of the Otero County Personnel Handbook in June and continued to review and implement step and grade pay ranges and job descriptions. The Information Technology Department has been moved to a more central, secure location with room for expansion. Improvements were completed on the extension office in Rocky Ford and an out of fire district wildfire fund was researched.

The county has been pass-through for several grants, including Courthouse Security, Otero County Housing Authority (Manzanola Gardens), Tri-County Housing (Golden Maples Villa), State of Colorado Health and Environment (Drainage Best Management Practices), State of Colorado Public Health and Environment Pre-Loan Planning/Design Assistance Grant on behalf of Valley Water Company, Colorado Deparment of Transportation (Transportation Enhancement), Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health (Jail Based Behavioral Health Services) and a Colorado Office of Emergency Management (EMPG).

The county will continue its involvement in Otero County Landfill Inc. The third cell of the new EPA Sub-Title D compliant landfill site will be completed in the beginning of 2015 (clay lining). Capping and revegetation of Landfill Site #1 (old landfill) will continue through 2015. Commissioner Kevin Karney reported The expenses at the landfill as $832,604 and the revenues at $869,807, reflecting a positive return of about $37,000.

Estimated revenue for 2015 is $39,883,241 and estimated expenditures are $29,401,831. The difference is in fund balances, some required by statute. Some funds are restricted, some are committed and some are assigned, with unassigned funds as defined by GASB 54.

Emergency Manager Danny Chavez reported the Emergency Management Performance Grant has been enacted and will be paid 50 percent up front: the amount is $11,800.

Economic Developent Coordinator Danelle Berg reported on the Southern Colorado Economic Development District and has been appointed to the Executive Committee. Department of Human Services Chair Donna Rohde reported that training sessions for the new Child Abuse Hotline will be completed by the end of the year. All sessions have been video taped so that new hires may be brought up to date without scheduling additional sessions. County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy said online payment of license fees has been instituted in several counties and the director is working on including Otero.

Karney reported he has had an enjoyable experience working with our former sheriff, Chris Johnson, in his training sessions of the 28 new Colorado sheriffs at Highlands Ranch. His part was talking about harmonious relations between county commissioners and the sheriff's department. He congratulated Hinkle on successful completion of the 2015 budget, saying the county is very fortunate in our working and budgetary relations with various departments. Commissioner Jim Baldwin, who attended Department of Transportation meetings, is apprehensive about expenses for elaborate repair or restructuring of I-70 (at expense of the rest of the state).