Douglas County budget on target for 2013

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The hammers are swinging again in Douglas County. The county released its 2013 preliminary budget, showing anticipated revenues are expected to increase by about 3 percent, driven largely by new construction.

With a 133 percent increase in building permits for 2012, the county expects new construction to drive assessed values up by $57.8 million, said Martha Marshall, budget manager. Combined with an anticipated sales tax revenue increase of 10 percent, the economic indicators speak positive volumes for 2013, Marshall said.

“All sales, auto and use tax and building use taxes are up, that tells us people are spending money,” Marshall said. “They're buying cars, they're building. Normally that's an indicator of consumer confidence. That's driving the 2013 forecasts.”

The county issued its preliminary budget with anticipated revenues of $217 million and anticipated expenditures of $257 million, before appropriations. Appropriations are expected to increase the expenditures for anticipated road projects up to $43 million. Those transportation improvements on the table include the North Meadows extension, widening Interstate 25 between RidgeGate Parkway and County Line Road, and reconstructing U.S. 85 from Titan Road to Sedalia.

The other significant expenditure for 2013 includes ongoing investments in the Robert A. Christensen Justice Center, where $19.1 million is earmarked for improvements at the jail, Marshall said.

Improvements continue elsewhere, indicated by an upsurge in construction. Building permits through September were 13,917, compared with 5,951 at the same point last year, according to county records.

The total valuation of new construction through September was nearly $295 million, an increase of 88 percent from the previous year, according to the finance department. Unincorporated commercial construction comprised $91 million, an increase of $105 million.

The board of county commissioners reviewed the 2013 budget for public comment Nov. 6 and will review the budget for final adoption at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 11 in the commissioners' hearing room, 100 Third Street, Castle Rock. To view the budget online, visit www.douglas.co.us/finance.

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