Aspen City Council poised to OK $64 million budget |

Aspen City Council poised to OK $64 million budget

Janet Urquhart

A $64 million budget outlining Aspen’s anticipated operations and capital projects in 2001 will go to the City Council for approval tonight.

The spending plan is up considerably from the $47.8 million budget the city established for 2000 – mostly due to affordable housing projects the city will have in the works next year and construction of a new recreational complex at Iselin Park, according to Tabatha Miller, city finance director.

The 2001 operating budget – essentially the funds that run city operations – totals $26.2 million, just a 4 percent increase over 2000 operating expenses.

The capital budget for 2001 totals $32.9 million, up 45 percent from this year’s $18.7 million capital budget. Most of next year’s capital expenses – some $19 million – are the result of affordable housing projects, including the expansion of Truscott Place, continuing construction of the Seventh and Main project and planning costs for several other future projects, Miller said.

Other capital expenses in the 2001 budget include about $5 million in parks expenditures, including the $3.34 million repayment to the housing fund for Bass Park; about $1.4 million the City Council agreed to spend from its general fund on the planned Iselin Park facilities and a new pro shop at the golf course; $1.4 million for the purchase of the existing Aspen Youth Center; $300,000 in street improvements; $240,000 to replace the power plant bridge; and $650,000 for transportation upgrades at Truscott Place – mostly a new intersection at Highway 82.

The operating budget reflects a 5 percent across-the-board pay hike for city employees. The city’s payroll, with about 230 full-time staff members, totals about $13 million, including salaries and benefits.

During budget deliberations this fall, the council agreed to six new staff positions that will cost $239,366 to fund next year. Two positions, a purchasing officer and a marketing position for the golf/recreation program, are expected to pay for themselves, and two positions are existing temporary positions that would continue to be funded in 2001.

Next year’s budget also anticipates $44.3 million in revenue, including $14.5 million in sales tax proceeds; $14.5 million from the city’s so-called enterprise funds – the golf course, water and electric utilities, the parking department and the like; and $15.2 million from department revenues, interest income, leases and other fees.

In addition, the city is expecting $29 million in revenues from other sources, including bond revenue, housing sales and loans expected to be repaid to city coffers.

A 5.3-mill levy, which is down slightly, will generate close to $3.2 million in property tax revenues.

The city’s debt expenses next year total $4.8 million, down slightly from 2000.

The city will carry $28.6 million into next year as a beginning balance and projects an ending balance at about this time next year of $38.6 million, according to the city’s calculations.

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