Jefferson County, Colorado

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Jefferson County is the fourth-largest county, and one of 64 counties, in Colorado. The county seat is Golden, which is home to the Coors Brewing Co.[1] Nearly 537,000 people live in Jefferson County, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated in 2009.[2] The county is known as the "Gateway to the Rockies" thanks to its location near the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.[3]

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngA-
Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying P
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Public records Y
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Local taxes
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Transparency grading process


See also: Evaluation of Colorado county websites

This site was evaluated in Dec. 2012.

The good

  • Budget
    • Budget information[4] is available, going back to 2006. Each budget shows prior-year revenues and expenses, but includes no graphs to illustrate how these have changed from year to year. The checkbook register[5] is available.
  • Meetings
    • Meetings are listed,[6] with a calendar listing agendas and meeting minutes. Videos[7] also are available, as are RSS feeds for agendas[8] and minutes.[9]
  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials are listed.[10] All 10 officials have individual phone numbers listed, but only half have personal email addresses listed. Voting records are available, but they are not easily accessible.
    • Voting records are recorded on the site.[11][12]
  • Administrative officials
    • Some administrative officials are listed, depending on the division. Each division is accessible through a dedicated phone number.[13]
    • An email for the county administrator is available in the bottom left hand side.[14]
  • Planning
    • Building permits are searchable[15] and a building permit checklist[16] is available. Editable PDF versions of permit applications also are online.[17]
  • Audits
    • Federally required single audit reports are available on an annual basis.[18]
  • Contracts
    • Information about new contracts -- including the contractor, the purpose of the contract and the amount -- is posted monthly.[19]
  • Public records
    • The name and contact information for the person charged with fulfilling open records requests is listed.[20]
    • The county hosts a "Transparent Jeffco" project to promote transparency in the county.[21]
  • Lobbying
    • Lobbyists hired, total spent and legislative agendas are published.[22]
  • Taxes
    • Property taxes and sales tax information is available.[23]

The bad

Elected Officials

Jefferson County has 10 elected officials. The public trustee is appointed by the governor for a four-year term. The commissioners are elected at-large to four-year, staggered terms and are charged with setting policy.[10]

Jefferson County Elected Officials Salaries (2010)[24]
Name Office 2010 Salary
Jim Everson Assessor $87,300
Pam Anderson Clerk & Recorder $87,300
Faye Griffin Commissioner, District 1 $87,300
John Odom Commissioner, District 2 $87,300
Donald Rosier Commissioner, District 3 $87,300
John Graham Coroner $87,300
Scott Storey District Attorney $169,764.34
Margaret T. Chapman Public Trustee $71,499.93
Ted Mink Sheriff $111,100.08
Diana A. Eskew Surveyor $5,500.08
Tim Kauffman Treasurer $87,300

Budget

The proposed budget for 2012 totals $489.3 million, from $476.9 million in 2011. More than half of the budget goes to salaries and benefits. The Sheriff's department spends more money than any other department, with its $89.6 million accounting for 18% of county expenses. Development and Transportation accounts for $70.8 million, and Human Services spends $72.2 million. The latter two departments have decreased their spending from the previous years, while the sheriff's department has increased.[25]

2012 proposed budget (Abridged) [26]
Department General Fund Special Revenue Funds Enterprise & Component Funds Debt Service Funds Capital Projects Funds Internal Service Funds Total -- All Funds
Administrative Services $9,910,751 - - - - $36,348,968 $46,259,719
Assessor $4,802,618 - - - - - $4,802,618
Board of County Commissioners $806,640 - - - - - $806,640
Clerk and Recorder $13,940,047 - - - - - $13,940,047
Coroner 1,774,440 - - - - - $1,774,440
County Administrator $3,411,195 - - - - $29,621,516 $33,032,711
County Attorney $4,854,339 - - - - - $4,854,339
Development & Transportation $12,327,320 $37,846,646 $11,924,435 $4,028,538 $4,709,394 - $70,836,333
District Attorney 19,259,666 - - - - - $19,259,666
Human Services $7,521,235 $64,719,824 - - - - $72,241,059
Jefferson County Parks $2,452,358 $27,333,567 - $12,934,490 - - $42,720,415
Library - - $28,007,789 - - - $28,007,789
Public Health - - $13,894,653 - - - $13,894,653
Public Trustee - $1,201,037 - - - - $1,201,037
Sheriff $62,956,819 $26,737,671 - - - - $89,694,490
Surveyor $9,991 - - - - - $9,991
Treasurer 1,900,814 - - - - - $1,900,814

Lobbying

See also: Colorado government sector lobbying


From 2004 to 2010, the county spent $770,000 on lobbying firms, as shown below.[27] The county does not disclose any of this taxpayer-funded activity on its website.

Intergovernmental Lobbying Spending by Jefferson County, Colorado 2004 - 2010[27]
Lobbyist Year Amount
Brownstein, Hyatt, et. al. 2010 $120,000
Ferguson Group 2009 $110,000
Ferguson Group 2008 $120,000
Ferguson Group 2007 $120,000
Ferguson Group 2006 $120,000
Ferguson Group 2005 $100,000
Ferguson Group 2004 $80,000

Transparency & public records

The pro-transparency group Colorado Spending Transparency hailed the Jeffco Transparency Initiative, saying it "sets the standard for government transparency in Colorado."[28]

Taxes

Residents pay property taxes, sales taxes, an auto ownership tax and other taxes. The county also brings in money through fees, permits, fines, rents and investment earnings. Half of tax revenue comes from property taxes, 10 percent comes from sales taxes, and taxes account for about two-thirds of county revenue. Changes in revenue sources from 2010 to 2011 were modest.[25]

External links

References