News from Jefferson County
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Update on Water Damage
At staff briefings on March 29, the Facilities and Construction Management Division updated the commissioners on the progress of the repairs and cleanup from water damage that occurred on
Thursday, February 3 at the Jefferson County Administrative and Courts Facility located at 100 Jefferson County Parkway in Golden.
The incident began around 6 p.m. when staff in the County Attorney's area on the fifth floor reported leaking water. Shortly thereafter, the fire alarm sounded. The source was then identified and shut off around 6:35 p.m. The actual cause is still under investigation, but the flooding came from a two inch waterline in the mechanical penthouse above the County Attorney's area.
More than 6,750 gallons of water flowed onto the administrative side of the building and seeped from the fifth through the first floor, and caused damage to approximately 35,000 square feet of office space. This resulted in 65 county employees being relocated, but staff was able to restore all business functions by noon on Monday, February 7.
|Second floor after the water damage |
The public may have been impacted the most by the damage to the second floor. Portions of the Treasurer's Office, Recording and the Public Trustee's Office were too damaged to be used and had to be temporarily relocated. The Public Trustee's Office has been able to continue conducting business in the undamaged portion of its suite and most of the other offices are currently sharing space with the Clerk and Recorder's Elections Office.
|Second floor after the cleanup |
One of the key factors that prevented further damage was the quick response from county staff and the mitigation contractors. Computers, files and furniture were covered or moved and the water was extracted as soon as possible. However, some materials were too saturated to be dried and needed to be replaced. This included drywall, carpet, ceiling tiles and some furniture and electronics.
Since repairs are still going on, the final total is not in, but estimates right now have the damage at $1.4 million. After the $50,000 deductible, the county does anticipate insurance to cover most if not all of the costs incurred from the water damage.
Jeffco Commissioners Re-evaluate CIP:
Will Proceed with Only the Most Critical Infrastructure Needs
On Tuesday, April 5, the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners (BCC) modified its recommended 2011 Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) and will proceed with only the most critical needs. In addition to tabling several projects, the board has cancelled the issuing of an additional $11 million in public debt through Certificates of Participation (COPs).
"With tight revenues projected to continue into the future, prioritizing and addressing the most urgent infrastructure needs is one of the highest priorities of the board," said Commissioner Don Rosier.
All programs on the CIP were reviewed at the April 5 Staff Briefing. "As a result, we put some major projects on hold and took some off the list. Completing all projects on that list would exceed the amount of money we have to spend by millions," Commissioner Faye Griffin explained. "Instead we pared down the list by almost $60 million."
"This is a big change," Commissioner John Odom commented. "We are changing directions and not moving forward with many projects. There is a new fiscal restraint with the Board of County Commissioners."
Off the list is the purchase of a vacant Target building on West Colfax Avenue and an office building on Parfet Street in Lakewood. Both were considered for Public Health, and the Target building was being proposed to house combined Sheriff's Office services.
Also removed was the proposed service hub at West 44th Avenue and North Wadsworth Boulevard in Wheat Ridge. Instead, the commissioners will explore relocating Arvada Public Health Clinics and Arvada and Lakewood Motor Vehicle offices into a building to be built on county owned land adjacent to the Head Start/Russell Elementary School building saving on rental costs and increasing accessibility for residents.
The commissioners will go forward with the project to replace the central plant and mechanical systems at the 26-year-old detention center, and increase space for the crime lab and evidence vault. However, new buildings for the Community Corrections or Work Release programs have been placed on indefinite hold.
"It is imperative to address outdated infrastructure in the detention center," Rosier said. "The mechanical systems in the jail have already doubled their projected life span, and replacement systems would operate more efficiently and economically."
Odom, who also serves on the Community Corrections Board, said, "Community Corrections is a cost effective alternative to incarceration. It costs on average $37,000 a year per inmate at the jail, compared to $7,000 at a community corrections facility. A new facility on the Jeffco campus would not suit the needs of the users especially when it comes to transportation as many of them work or volunteer very close to the current location."
The commissioners will wait on selling the New York Building in Lakewood, where Community Corrections is now housed, instead working with the current contractor, ICCS, to determine the best solution to future facility needs.
Put on hold for the present is the building of a sheriff mountain substation on land purchased for that purpose between Evergreen and Conifer.
Money to finance the CIP projects will come from 2009 Certificates of Participation that were issued after the last payment was made on the Administration and Courts Facility, freeing up $7 million a year in bond payments for the 18-year-old building. Some of the funds are already being spent on energy upgrades on the county campus and county libraries, and purchasing automatic book sorters for libraries.
How Did the 2010 Budget Turn Out?
So what were Jefferson County's final expenditures and revenues for 2010? The Budget Management Division
discussed with the commissioners the figures at Staff Briefings on March 29. Revenues were up and expenses were below budget.
In 2010, the county received 104.2 percent of its anticipated revenues. The county's projected amended revenue was $488.4 million, but it received $508.8 million. Part of this variance was due to a sales tax error discovered by the state, which collects sales taxes for counties. The county received a one-time additional $12 million in sales taxes and open space sales taxes. Some of the open space portion will be shared back to the county's municipalities.
The county's expenditures came in lower than anticipated. The amended revenue was $571.6 million, but the county only expended $512.2 million or 89.6 percent. Most of the decrease is due to the conservative approach the county and its departments and offices are taking with their budgets to maintain the county's long-term fiscal health.
It's also important to note that the above totals include inter-fund transfers. These are charges between funds that are used to account for goods or services provided by one department or agency to other departments or agencies of the county on a cost reimbursement basis. These internal or inter-fund transaction balances are netted or eliminated from the county's financial totals, but must still be accounted for. After removing inter-fund transfers, the county's actual revenues were $408.8 million and expenditures were $416.8 million.
Since expenditures were more than revenues, to balance the budget the county used unrestricted fund balance for one-time expenditure purposes. Fund balance is the difference between incoming monies and outflow of expenditures and represents available resources. Using this does not impact any restrictions or designations of fund balance related to bond covenants, grant requirements or the county's 10 percent working capital reserve policy. Since the gap between revenues and expenditures was less than projected, fund balance was only used for approximately $3 million of one-time expenditures in 2010.
Also discussed at staff briefings were the 2010 supplemental appropriations or "carry-forwards." Sometimes a project will start in one fiscal year but not be completed until the following fiscal year or a bill for the past year is received late. When this happens, funds that were budgeted for the project in the previous year have to be appropriated to the following year's budget. Only funds appropriated for capital projects, capital asset purchases, grant programs or other one-time initiatives are eligible for consideration.
An example of this is the planned repairs to the parking structure at the Administrative and Courts Facility. The project is necessary to make safety repairs to the parking garage and was initiated in 2010. However, construction was stalled due to weather and the project was continued to 2011. The funds set aside for this project last year will be carried forward to the 2011 budget.
The carry-forwards were approved at the BCC's April 5 hearing.
To learn more about the county's budget, visit http://jeffco.us/budget/.
More Vacancies Filled on Volunteer Boards
Jefferson County has several commissions and advisory boards filled with volunteers from the Jeffco community. However, these volunteer positions do expire and members need to be reappointed or new members selected. At its March 29 hearing, the Board of County Commissioners approved the appointments and reappointments to eight of its volunteer boards.
Board of Review
Jim Thelen was appointed as a member and Karen Roman was reappointed as an alternate. The Board of Review hears appeals and makes special exceptions to the Building Code in quasi-judicial hearings and may suggest amendments to the Building Code.
Citizen Review Panel
Frank Adamek, JoAnn Johnston and Carrie Kollar were all reappointed to the Citizen Review Panel. This commission conducts hearings to ascertain the legitimacy of complaints against Human Services programs and submits recommendations to the Director of Human Services.
Community Services Advisory Board
Current member Paula Corbin was reappointed. The Community Services Advisory Board makes recommendations to the BCC regarding matters related to human services for low and moderate income residents and recommends recipients for federal funds made available to Jefferson County from the Community Services Block Grant and similar grants. This board also serves as a liaison for the BCC and the Human Services Division to the Jefferson County community on issues related to human services.
Jeanette Thrower was reappointed to the Cultural Council that is responsible for submitting an annual plan to distribute revenues to scientific and cultural facilities in accordance with statutes.
David Pemberton was reappointed to the Developmental Disabilities Board. This board oversees the operations of the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center, which educates and trains the developmentally disabled of Jefferson County.
Jefferson County Historical Commission
The Historical Commission promotes the preservation and use of historical resources and historic sites through educational activities, publications and research projects. Cheryl Wise was selected to fill a vacant spot when a former commission member resigned.
Library Board of Trustees
The BCC selected Catherine Hildreth to replace Kathy Hartman who resigned. The Jefferson County Library Board of Trustees is a governing board serving the citizens of Jefferson County. The board establishes governing policies, employs the executive director, recommends the budget and dispenses funds, acquires and oversees libraries and library assets, and participates in strategic planning and library advocacy.
Tri-County Workforce Board
Terri F. Wager was reappointed and Amy Sherman was appointed to serve on the Tri-County Workforce Board. This board provides quality assurance and recommended policy guidance for the Workforce Investment Act programs operated by the county. The board is responsible for identifying the region's workforce development needs and for the creation of a comprehensive strategy and policy framework to meet the workforce development needs of employers.
If you are interested in learning more about Jeffco's volunteer boards or to learn how to get involved, click here.
2011 Community Development Action Plan OK'd
At its March 29, meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved the 2011 Community Development Action Plan. The one-year plan lists projects recommended by the Community Development Advisory Board to be carried out through grant funding.
The projects are funded by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the HOME Investment Partnership program. Each agency selected for project funding must sign an agreement with the county that is consistent with the grant award amount outlined in the action plan. Recommended projects are selected through a competitive application process.
The projects are also selected to help meet the top priorities identified in the Five Year Strategic Plan of Jeffco's Human Services Community Development Division. Those priorities include:
- Provide housing for the homeless population
- Provide affordable rental housing
- Provide homeownership opportunities and assistance
- Provide services for the population, including, services for special populations and for low to moderate-income populations
- Address public facilities
- Provide economic development opportunities
Some of the projects on the approved 2011 Action Plan include:
- Giving approximately 90 individual's first-time homebuyer counseling and/or default loan counseling
- Two multi-family properties will receive much needed upgrades ensuring good living conditions for these residents
- Approximately 55 potentially homeless individuals will be provided with short-term emergency housing, rental and utility assistance and eviction prevention counseling
- Approximately nine low to moderate income home owners will receive home rehabilitation services improving the living conditions and allowing them to stay in their homes
- Approximately 200 households will be provided with rental assistance or utility assistance
- Approximately 20 first-time homebuyers will be assisted with down payment and closing cost assistance
To learn more about the Community Development Division, visit http://jeffco.us/commdev/index.htm.
View BCC Meetings
Did you know Jefferson County records each County Commissioners Hearing for rebroadcast on its web site? You can also find recordings of other county meetings, videos of events and Jeffco's video program, Jefferson County Insights. To learn more, click here.