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County budget process in full swing

 

Last updated 10/18/2022 at 4:23pm | View PDF

Good day, everyone. As I hope you all know, general election ballots have been mailed out and should be hitting your mailboxes this week. Many of you have probably already received them. Please remember to vote or register to vote if you haven't already and are eligible. This week, on top of asking all to vote, I want to remind our community of the pending 2023 budget meetings which will be finalized on Dec. 6.

At a recent Commissioner's Board meeting, our El Paso County finance director went over a $473 million preliminary balanced budget proposal that includes $200 million in unrestricted general fund expenditures, $38 million for the Department of Public Works, and $84 million for Human Services. This preliminary (draft) balanced budget also addresses various critical needs of the county, including increased service demands, population growth, and unfunded mandates from the legislature and governor. The 2023 preliminary budget prioritizes additional investments in:

- Road Infrastructure – $11.9 million additional is dedicated to keeping our roads safe and maintained. This allocation includes a one-time $10 million funding increase for roads to strategically address high-priority projects and $1.9 million for gravel road maintenance. This brings the Road and Bridge budget to $38 million.

- Public Safety – $89 million of the unrestricted general fund is allocated to public safety to keep our community safe. The public safety allocation is 44% of the total unrestricted general fund. In addition, $38 million of public safety expenditures will be funded from the County's 0.23% restricted public safety tax.

- Veteran Services – $84,000 is allocated for a Veteran's Appeals Specialist to assist Veterans in navigating the VA's process and enhance support for over 100,000 veterans in El Paso County.

- Park Maintenance – $160,000 for the maintenance and to enhance El Paso County parks in eastern El Paso County so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of our parks.

- Facility Enhancements – $1 million has been allocated to strengthen the county's facilities to continue providing services and making the facilities more accessible to the community.

- Homeless Camp Cleanup – $150,000 is allocated for cleaning up homeless camps throughout El Paso County to help make our community safer, healthier, and cleaner.

Members of the public may attend and comment on the budget during any of the below meetings. The meetings are held at 9 a.m., in the Commissioners Hearing Room at Centennial Hall, 200 South Cascade Avenue. The remaining 2023 El Paso County Budget hearing schedule is as follows:

- 2023 Original Adopted Budget Hearing 3 – October 20, 2022

Department/Offices Critical Needs Presentations

- 2023 Original Adopted Budget Hearing 4 – November 15, 2022

BoCC Direction on the 2023 Original Adopted Budget

- 2023 Budget Hearing – December 6, 2022

Final Adoption of 2023 Budget

I always highlight Budget Hearing 4 as the one where residents might have the most effective input other than directly contacting commissioners throughout the process, as it is the day where we go line by line on the budget spreadsheet. Often, last minute changes to increase or decrease a line item happens at this meeting. During a previous year, additional funds were provided to roads maintenance, and during another year we increased funding to code enforcement cleanup efforts. I hope all have a great week, and remember to provide your budget feedback and to vote. God bless.

 

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