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Date: October 2007

Open Space 2008 Budget

by Marilyn Mueller

Open Space’s procedure to prepare the budget on a five-year time line has proved to be a very good instrument, not only to plan for programs and capital constructions in a timely way but to stay within projected, (and later, actual) revenues. This method has been so impressive that the BCC is considering having all departments preparing their budgets with a five- year format.


After 6 years of an average 0.5% annual sales tax increase, revenues have increased thus far in 2007 by about 3%. The 2008 budget is based on a 2.5% increase plus a carry forward fund balance of $24.13 million. Because the revenue increase was so low in the early 2000’s, budgeting is approached very conservatively so that expenses plus debt obligations will not exceed revenues.

The accompanying table compares the actual 2006 expenditures with the 2007 budgeted expenditures and the 2008 budget. The revenue for 2007 includes: $4 million from GOCO for the Coors property on South Table Mountain; and $1.8 million received from the sale Bergen Land LLC land on the East side of C-470. The 2008 revenue includes another anticipated $1 million from GOCO.

There still is approximately $22 million remaining in unspent SOS Bond Funds, including earned interest. Up to $5 million of this is expected to be spent on acquisitions by year’s end.

The County receives around $1.26 million a year from the lottery. This money must be used for recreational type uses. For the past few years the majority of the funds have been used on the Fairgrounds and Boettcher Mansion. Open Space has been distributing $150,000 per year to recreation districts and appropriate Section 501(c)(3) organizations. Improvements to the Fairgrounds and Boettcher are almost complete and the Commissioners may assign more of these funds to Open Space.


The balance of the $200 million bond funds are to be paid back over the next 14 years. For the next few years servicing the bonds will take $13.21 million per year and then will decrease.

O&M costs include, $975,000 paid to other County departments for County Attorney, Facilities and Construction, Management and Information Technology Services, Human Resources, Purchasing, Accounting, Budget, Procurement, etc.

In spite of 25,000 acres of increased open space land since 1998, only 4 additional full time employees have been added to the Park Services staff. This has been made possible by using seasonal employees and the use of many volunteers. The number of volunteers averages 700 but at times, with special projects, has gone as high as 1200.

Budgeting for Joint Venture grants to cities and recreation districts remains at $2 million. 2007, 2008, and 2009 include $600,000 each year for partnering with R-1 on installing artificial turf on reconstructed fields at six high schools. R-1 is making agreements with the appropriate cities and recreation districts to make these fields available year-around for organized public use when the school is not using them.


At the present rate of expenditures, Open Space is spending about $3 million more per year than the revenue including grants, etc. The five-year projection shows the year end fund balance decreasing to about $13 million. The park development projects for 2008 include: Hildebrand Ranch, $1.5 million for a parking lot and improved stream crossing; White Ranch Park, $200 thousand to start a trail connection from White Ranch to Golden Gate State Park plus an improved upper entry road; Clear Creek Canyon: $750,000 for parking lots, trailhead improvements will come in later years. "(Consultants have indicated in a 2006 feasibility study that the overall project for Clear Creek Canyon would be close to $30 million, so partnerships grant opportunities and phasing of trail sections and amenities will be required.)"

The trails project for Bear Creek Canyon: budgeted at $1.26 million is shifted to start in 2009 and beyond. Consultants have indicated this is a $3.6 million project. That would need partnership and grant opportunities. Park Development is budgeted for an average of $2.0 million per year. Natural surface trails are budgeted at $250 thousand per year plus staff time.

Budget Item Actual
Revenue New Revenue 34,985,751 39,929,304 34,390,328
Cities Share (10,134,419) (9,765,825) (10,009,971)
New Revenue to JCOS 24,851,332 30,163,479 24,380,357
Forward Fund Balance 29,733,649 28,934,209 25,250,000
Total Available 54,584,981 59,097,688 49,630,357
Expenditures Acquisitions 113,898 112,540
Foothills Building 239,339 258,482
Operations & Management:
  Admimistration 1,475,808 1,994,683
  Acquisitions 404,703 538,992
  Planning & Development 865,211 1,026,744
  Rangers 690,685 831,186
  Park Services 3,850,914 3,894,889
  Citizen Outreach 328,959 385,508
  Weed and Pest Control 120,268 130,600
  Hiwan Homestead 308,492 385,508
  Nature Center 484,267 526,675
Total Operations & Maintenance 8,529,307 9,656,666 9,670,000
Leases, General 10,000 60,000
Bond Service 12,938,228 13,150,000 13,140,000
Park Development 2,070,000 2,640,000 2,900,000
Hard Surface Trails
In-Park Trails (soft) 40,000 250,000 250,000
Joint Ventures 1,710,000 2,000,000 2,000,000
Carry-forward JV 5,120,000
R-1/Turf Fields 600,000 600,000
Total JCOS Expenditures 25,650,772 33,847,688 28,560,000
Designated Reserve 1,120,000 1,180,000
Carry-forward Balance 28,934,209 24,130,000 21,070,357

Note: Until the bond funds are expended, acquisitions are not included in the budget. The 2008 O&M budget is not detailed as charges from other departments, that have not been established, affect the line items.

See also:

Jeffco Open Space Planning & Acquisition

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