Boulder Rural uses a comprehensive budget preparation, review, and approval process:

  • The budget cycle for Boulder Rural starts in May of each year.
  • We plan our expenditures 10 years into the future, accounting for inflation, anticipated cost increases, capital purchases, and personnel expenses.
  • Most of the district’s revenue comes from property taxes, approximately $3. Million.
  • The balance of our funding comes from specific ownership taxes, grants, fees for inspections and permits, interest earned on savings, and wildland fire callouts.

If you would like to examine a copy of the budget or have questions, please contact Deputy Chief Jeff Webb at 303-530-9575 x 103 to set up an appointment.

2018 budget meeting dates include:

  • Initial draft presentation to the board – September 25, 2017 at the normally scheduled board meeting
  • Document update with the budget committee – October 10, 2017 at 10 AM
  • Board of Directors budget hearing – October 23, 2017 at the normally scheduled board meeting
  • Final budget adoption – November 27, 2017 at the normally scheduled board meeting
  • *Special work sessions may be added as necessary


If you would like to see our budgets submitted to the state, they are available here:

If you would like to see the audit reports filed with the state of Colorado, they are available here:


Detailed Explanation

Where does Boulder Rural’s revenue come from?

Boulder Rural derives its income from the property taxes paid to the district by its residents. Boulder Rural does not receive any revenue from the City of Boulder or from any sales taxing authority. The total (market) value of each property in the county is determined by the Boulder County Assessor’s office. The total value of each residential property is reduced to its assessed value by the criteria established by the Gallagher Amendment, a law passed by referendum in 1982 (see the Gallagher Amendment description below). Since 2005, the Gallagher Amendment percentage has been 7.96%, meaning that the assessed value of a residential property in the District is 7.96% of its total value. So, if you own a $400,000 property in Boulder County, its assessed value is $31,840. In 2018, this assessment multiplier is going to be reduced from 7.96% to 7.2%. This will reduce the assessed valuation of a $400,000 property to $28,800.

What is the Gallagher Amendment and what does it accomplish?

In 1982, the voters of Colorado approved an amendment to the Colorado Constitution, which included the “Gallagher Amendment.” One of the intents of this amendment was to stabilize residential real property’s share of the property tax base at 45% of all property taxes. Since 1985, in every odd year, all the assessors in the state have computed the residential and the non-residential assessments in their respective counties. The numbers are added up and the Gallagher percentage is computed to set the residential real estate share at 45% of the total. That percentage is used for the next two years as the Assessment Rate in the computation of your property taxes.

Over the years, the result of this amendment has been to reduce the ratio between the assessed value of a residential property and its market value. In 1982, before the Gallagher Amendment, residential real estate was assessed at approximately 30% of market value. In 1983, as a result of the Gallagher Amendment, that percentage dropped to 21%. By 2001, the assessment rate had dropped to 9.15% of market value; in 2003, it dropped to 7.958%; and in 2005, for the first time in its history, it rose very slightly to about 7.960%. For 2018, the Gallagher Amendment will reduce the assessed valuation multiplier to 7.2%.

How is the amount of Boulder Rural’s revenue determined?

The amount of tax each property owner pays to each taxing entity (e.g., Boulder Rural) is determined by multiplying the property’s assessed value by the mill levy for that entity. Boulder Rural’s mill levy has been 15.747 since 2016. Therefore, the owner of a $400,000 home will have paid annually $31,840 × 15.747 ÷ 1,000 = $501.38 in property taxes to Boulder Rural. In 2018, the owner of that same $400,000 house will pay $453.51.

How much does it cost to run a fire department?

Boulder Rural’s expenditures are separated into four categories in our budgeting process. They are Personnel, Administration, Operations, and Capital. The personnel category includes salaries, benefits, and other personnel costs. The administration category includes professional fees (bookkeeping, auditing, legal); office expenses, and IT support. The operations category includes the costs of running a fire department (apparel, repairs and maintenance, fire stations, and training). The capital category includes the cost of major purchases such as vehicles, radios, and safety and medical equipment.

As you can see from the chart below, the largest of these four categories is personnel. Administration and operations costs are straightforward and predictable. Capital expenditures go up and down with major expenditures, such as the fire engine purchased in 2009.


We have two Chief Officers in the department: the Fire Chief and the Deputy Chief. We have had 12 responding firefighters on our payroll since 2007: three captains, three engineer paramedics, and six EMT firefighters. Three of the EMT firefighters respond on the fire engine and three respond on the ambulance. In 2008, we added an inspector to the payroll. In 2009, we added a part-time public education coordinator to the payroll. In 2012, we added a full-time administrative assistant to the payroll, bringing the total number of employees to 17. The chart below shows the three subcategories of our personnel expenses. It demonstrates how our benefit expenses have increased over the years, principally as a result of increasing medical and dental insurance costs.