County Commissioners Set 2020 Budget

Prowers County Courthouse



The Prowers County Commissioners passed a resolution setting the 2020 county budget at $31,811,431 this past Tuesday, December 10th following a public hearing. The mill levy was set at 27.17 mills upon each dollar of the total valuation for assessment of all taxable property in the county for 2020. That amount is $138,234,274 and the mill levy revenue is estimated to be $3,755,825 needed to balance the budget for general operation purposes.

The 2020 General Fund is $8,856,123; Road and Bridge Fund is $3,255,469; Department of Human Services Fund is $9,842,761; Public Health Agency Fund is $2,661,069; Hotline County Connection Center Fund is $1,499,683 and Capital Fund is $1,147,804.

The General Fund supports the Prowers and Northeast Prowers Soil Conservation Districts, Holly and Lamar Ambulance Districts, E911 Dispatch Center, Senior Centers in each community and both the Sand and Sage Fair and Holly Gateway Fair. The commissioner’s budget message stated that economic development is a priority issue such that they are budgeting $50,000 to support Prowers Economic Prosperity in 2020.

The commissioners received an update on Prowers Medical Center activities from interim Executive Director, Karen Bryant. “We’re researching financing options for the hospital’s Master Site Plan and the MRI project is still in the forefront,” she said, adding that plans now call for the new equipment to be built in-house instead of constructing a separate building. Temporary space is developing which will house an in-house laundry service for the hospital which will cut operating costs and provide continuity. The 2020 budget was approved during the hospital’s board meeting on December 9th.

Kelly Roesch and Megan Berg from the CSU Extension Office recapped the past quarter’s activities and looked to new programs. Berg said, “We had a good turnout for the Annie Project, designed to inform women on the farm about such areas as insurance, futures and succession plans. We plan to have another meeting just on that topic in January due to the interest that was showed.” She added she’s investigating possible overnight stays for youth groups next spring at Bent’s Fort.

Roesch said he plans to develop a best management practices fact sheet for hemp growers, based on the growing interest in the plant in southeast Colorado. “I recently visited with the manager of Diamond A farms in Rocky Ford and surveyed their 400 acre drip irrigation system. They were wrapping up their harvest this past November and it turned out a lot of the labor involved harvesting it by hand and machetes for storage in their onion shed.” He said CSU needs to develop a comprehensive document on hemp production, outlining what did work and what has not. He’s also visited with growers in McClave and Springfield. Commissioner Wendy Buxton Andrade suggested he contact Land Use Director, Michelle Hiigel to ensure future operations are within state or federal guidelines.

The commissioners spoke briefly with Lodging Tax Panel office manager, Carla Scranton, informing her of future changes for the Panel, based on the county’s new alliance with Vista Works. The marketing firm will start assuming most of the marketing tasks for county entertainment activities. The manner and amounts in which advertising funds allocated to annual and new events in the county will be altered with the new agreement with the company. Commissioner Ron Cook added that the county is seeking new board members and those candidates must have a firm alliance and relationship with tourism in the county, based on the Panel’s by-laws.

Three persons were named by the commissioners to the Southeastern Colorado Regional Emergency and Trauma Advisory Council, Leslie Day, Marge Campbell and Jeremy Burkhart.

By Russ Baldwin

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