How is the City funded?
In the 2021 budget, approximately 59% of revenues in the City's General Fund (operating budget) come from sales taxes and another 12% of revenues come from use taxes. Most residents are surprised to learn that only about 3% of revenues come from property taxes. For a detailed look at revenues, see page 38 of the 2021 Budget.
If property tax revenues only comprise 3% of overall revenues, where does my property tax go?
For every dollar you spend on property tax, 3 cents is remitted to the City of Wheat Ridge for the provision of government services. Here's the breakdown of a dollar spent of property tax by Wheat Ridge residents:
$0.53 – Jeffco Public Schools
$0.27 – Jefferson County
$0.17 – Special Districts such as water/sewer and fire districts
In other words, a home priced at $500,000 pays about $50 per year to the City.
How much do I pay in sales tax in Wheat Ridge?
Of every dollar you spend in Wheat Ridge, you pay a total of 8 cents in sales tax. Of that 8 cents, 3.5 cents is remitted to the City. It's that 3.5% in sales tax that provides the majority of funding for City services. Here is a breakdown of the $0.08 spent in sales tax per dollar:
The City's base sales tax rate is 3%. The additional 0.5% is reserved to pay for the 2E Bond through a temporary sales tax increase approved by voters in the 2016 election that went into effect on January 1, 2017. This temporary increase was funded to pay for infrastructure projects in the City. Learn about the 2E Bond projects.
How much does it cost to run the City?
The City's primary operating fund is referred to as the General Fund. It accounts for the revenues and expenditures associated with most City services. It varies from year to year, but in general, it costs approximately 40 million dollars to provide government services in Wheat Ridge. See page 41 for a summary of expenditures in the 2021 budget. To explore the line items in detail, see pages 233-287. This year, expenditure percentages by department are as follows:
Besides the General Fund, what other funds are included in the City's budget?
In some cases, the City is required to establish a separate fund to manage the revenues and expenditures associated with certain programs. For example, it is required that revenues and expenditures in the Open Space program are managed out of a separate fund. The City's budget contains nine funds in addition to the General Fund. To learn more about each fund, please review the 2021 Budget beginning on page 173. The nine additional funds are as follows:
1. Capital Improvement Program
2. Bond Fund (2E)
3. Public Art Fund
4. Police Investigation Fund
5. Open Space Fund
6. Municipal Court Fund
7. Conservation Trust Fund
8. Equipment Replacement Fund
9. Crime Prevention Fund
How can I have my say in the 2022 budget?
In addition to asking your questions, submitting ideas and leaving comments here on this website, there are a number of ways to provide input on the 2022 budget. The 2022 budget will be available for review online on Monday, September 13.
1. Attend a City Council meeting and provide input under "Public's Right to Speak" near the beginning of the meeting. Members of the public can provide input at any meeting, but special opportunities for budget-specific input will be provided at the July 26 and August 23 Council meetings. To provide comment, you can attend the meeting in person or on Zoom, or provide written comments on Wheat Ridge Speaks. Learn how to participate in a City Council Meeting.
2. Participate in the City Council Budget Study Session at 6:30 p.m. Monday, September 20. You will be able to provide public comment in person at Council Chambers (provided COVID-19 health guidelines allow) or on Zoom.
3. Log onto Wheat Ridge Speaks to provide written public comment for the September 20 Budget Study Session. The site will be available starting on Friday, September 17 and Noon through Monday, September 20 at Noon.