Jefferson County has a reputation as a wonderful place to live, visit and conduct business. However, the quality services the county provides to residents and local businesses come at a cost. Despite General Fund reductions in 2020 and 2021, the county is facing up to an additional $20 million in cuts in the General Fund in 2023.
Without support from our voters for additional funding, these cuts will reduce programs and services and the county will not be able to deliver those programs and services in the way in which our community is accustomed.
This is not a new challenge or discussion with our community. A ballot measure was brought to voters in 2019 and since that measure did not pass, the county is still facing a reduction in spending in the General Fund, which means cuts to essential programs and services that our community relies on.
As a result, many critical infrastructure projects in facilities and transportation will be further postponed, which adds to the already existing backlog of projects which is quickly approaching $400 million. This additional spending reduction of up to $20 million in 2023 may mean staffing reductions leading to reduced levels of service to a broad spectrum of areas, ranging from public safety to snowplowing, the continued degradation of roads and bridges and likely longer wait times to process licenses and permits. While specific impacts are still being identified and prioritized, these are just a few examples of the potential impacts these reductions may cause for our community.
And, because when Jefferson County reaches the TABOR revenue cap, any additional funding must be turned away. This means other counties may benefit from the use of these additional dollars to support their communities, where Jefferson County cannot. For example, in 2021, the county was unable to accept state grant dollars to support critical wildfire mitigation efforts. Another example of this challenge arises when the county earns additional interest on its bank accounts. Because the TABOR revenue cap applies to those interest earnings as well, those additional amounts must also be refunded from the General Fund.
On our Funding Challenges page on www.jeffco.us, you can find more details on why this funding challenge is happening. You can take our budget survey to let us know about your priorities and ideas for the budgetand what county services are important to you.
We also like to invite you to attend one our Community Budget Forums in April and May. These in-person events will provide more information, allow attendees to participate in small group discussions and let our commissioners hear about how you’d like to see the county address these issues. Find all dates and locations for these events on the Funding Challenges page on jeffco.us.
To learn more about the Jefferson County Commissioners, visit www.jeffco.us, contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or individually at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. The Jeffco Board of County Commissioners’ public hearings are held at 8 a.m. on most Tuesdays. See our Meetings & Agendas page for details.