In partnership with the Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners approved up to $3.75 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for staffing and retention in the Sheriff’s Office Detention Services Division. As part of the countywide plan to slow the rate of spending in the General Fund, the 2020 Adopted Budget identified $3.2 million of ongoing spending reductions in the Sheriff’s Office. Much of this was achieved through reduction of staffing levels in the Detentions Division, which resulted in the closing of several modules in the detentions facility. Since 2020, commissioners have set aside $3.75 million in General Fund reserves in both 2021 and 2022 to help support the hiring of these critical positions.
The ARPA dollars are available once the Sheriff’s Office expends its budget savings. If budget savings have been fully exhausted and funds are still needed to continue the efforts to adequately staff the detention facility, then ARPA funds and General Fund reserves set aside for this purpose may be leveraged up through 2024.
“While the county continues to face budget challenges in the General Fund, we determined it was best to use this one-time ARPA funding to help staff the detention facility through 2024,” said Board of County Commissioners Chair Andy Kerr. “We felt it was important to secure these funds so we have the resources we need in this tough environment and we understand the importance of staffing and retaining good people in these roles in our much-needed detention facility.”
The largest portion of the Sheriff’s Office budget is supported by the General Fund, which is the county’s main operating fund. The General Fund is primarily funded by property taxes and supports more than 50 percent of county services, even though the General Fund makes up only about one-third of the entire county budget in terms of dollars spent.
Despite efforts to slow the rate of spending in the General Fund under TABOR, the county’s public safety budget has regularly increased for the past several years, reflecting that funding public safety is a continued priority for the Board of County Commissioners.
Although the county has received $113 million in federal ARPA funding, current forecasts indicate a continued General Fund shortfall in future years. Beginning in 2023, the county is facing up to an additional $20 million in cuts in the General Fund. Every year, the county must adopt a balanced budget per Colorado Statute, and a variety of factors, such as rising costs and inflation, and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR, have a direct impact on the funding available for Jefferson County to maintain current service levels.
Visit the American Rescue Plan Act page to get more on the Jefferson County ARPA Program. To learn more about the county’s budget and funding challenges, visit the 2022 Funding Challenges page. Visit the Sheriff’s Office website for more on their services or to become a part of their team.