2019 revenues total $559,529,300. Of that, approximately 51 percent (or $230,282,600) come from property taxes. Other sources of revenue include:
- Intergovernmental charges (16.0%)
- Sales tax (11.8%)
- Charges for services, fines & forfeitures, licenses and permits (8.4%),
- Auto-ownership and fuel tax (7.6%)
- Miscellaneous income (3.0%)
- Investment income (1.7%)
- Proceeds from dispositions (0.6%) and miscellaneous income (3.0%)
In addition, the county allocated $26.9 million from its reserves (saving account) to balance the 2019 budget.
For every dollar the county collects from property taxes, only 24 cents go to support County services. The other 76 cents go to support public schools, special districts and cities.
County property taxes go to support the following:
- Public Safety, including law enforcement and the district attorney (28%)
- Health and Human Services (16%)
- Development and Transportation, including Road & Bridge (16%)
- Culture and Recreation (16%)
- Internal Services, including IT, facilities, fleet, etc. (16%)
- Elected Officials (5%)
- Governance (including accounting, budget, human resources, county attorney, etc. (3%)
Since 2014, Jefferson County has been drawing down its reserve to address unintended consequences of the TABOR revenue limitation and support critical projects and one-time needs. The balance in county reserves has now reached a minimum threshold and the county must adjust expenditures accordingly to present a balanced budget.
The Mission for Jefferson County is “to promote the safety, health and well-being of the Jefferson County community and the stewardship of its resources” and this mission serves to help guide priorities. The county currently spends approximately 66% on safety, 8% on health and well-being, and 26% on stewardship.
For every dollar the county collects from property taxes, only 24 cents remain with the county to provide services. The remaining 76 cents go to public schools, special districts and cities. Even though the economy is growing and property values continue to increase, the amount of property tax revenue the county is allowed to collect is constrained by TABOR and is not adequate to support the growing demand for services.
The ballot language limits the amount of additional revenue retained in 2020 to $16.1 million — or just enough to address the projected budget deficit. The cost to the average homeowner (of a $400,000 home) will be about $4.50 per month, or about 2.7 percent of their total average property tax bill. From 2021 — 2026, the cost may go up or down incrementally, depending on assessed valuations and county budget needs.
The increase on the total average tax bill for 2020 is about 2.7% or about $4.50 per month. Even if the county were to receive the entire $31M, that amount would be about $9 per month or 5.5% of the total tax bill. Claims that your tax bill will go up by 18% are not accurate.
- Processing and reusing old asphalt in road repairs and maintenance has saved the county approximately $351,000 in one year alone.
- Implementing lighting upgrades, water-saving measures, heating and ventilation efficiencies, and installation of solar photovoltaic systems at several sites is now saving the county approximately $478,000 a year.
- Developing a centrally managed fleet program is maximizing the use of existing vehicles and reducing the costs of maintenance and replacements. This has saved $640K so far and this number is expected to grow.
Jefferson County has a long track record of working to minimize the burden on taxpayers while still delivering a responsible level of service.
From 2000 through 2014, the Board of County Commissioners voluntarily reduced the County’s mill levy and only asked for the money they needed to fund the budget. This effectively reduced the amount of property tax residents needed to pay during that time. Since then, they have been required to reduce the mill levy to conform to TABOR revenue restrictions.
In 2018, the Board of County Commissioners voted to eliminate the county’s portion of its business personal property tax (BPPT) payable to the general fund. This action was taken to relieve some of the tax burden on businesses (especially small businesses) by eliminating an expense that had to be paid, regardless of the level of profits the businesses bring in. This initiative also helped to strengthen the county’s competitive advantage in attracting and expanding primary employers, encourages economic growth and supports the county’s business-friendly environment.
The current ballot initiative includes a sunset provision, requiring the TABOR waiver to be renewed by a vote of Jeffco residents after seven years. This gives Jeffco residents a way to monitor and evaluate future budgets and hold the Commissioners accountable to spend tax dollars responsibly.
- Actual Value x Assessment Rate = Assessed Value
- Assessed Value x Mill Levy = Taxes
Example Using a $300,000 Residence and 100 Mills Levy
- $300,000 X 7.2% = $21,600
- $21,600 X 0.100 = $2,160.00 total taxes
If the total mill levy is 100 mills and using the residential assessment rate of 7.2% and a non-residential assessment rate of 29%, annual taxes would be:
- For residential property – $7.20 per $1,000 of value.
- For non-residential property – $29 per $1,000 of value.
Please note: taxes for like-valued properties will vary based on the specific mill levy for the tax district where the property is located.
A mill levy is a property tax that is based on the assessed value of county property. The rate of this tax is expressed in mills. One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.
In 1992, when TABOR was enacted, the mill levy was set at 25.548. Over time, voters approved additional increases and the county’s authorized rate grew to 26.978. The Library mill and Developmentally Developed mill are both debruced and are deducted from the maximum authorized rate. Only the mills for the following County funds fall under the TABOR cap and are address in Ballot Issue 1A: the General fund, Road & Bridge fund, Social Services fund, Capital Expenditures fund and the Contingency fund.
The maximum, voter-approved mill levy controlled by the county for these funds is 21.478. However, since 2015, the count has had to lower the mill levy below the maximum allowable amount in order to meet TABOR revenue restrictions.
In 2019, this reduction totaled 3.239 mills, setting the county mill levy at 18.239 mills.
|Fund||Official Mills||Temporary Adjustment||2019 Mill Levy|
|Capital Expenditures Fund||1.912||-1.341||0.571|
|Road & Bridge Fund||3.28||-2.07||1.21|
|Social Services Fund||1.71||-0.477||1.233|
These reductions have made it hard to balance the county’s budget and support the growing demand for county services.