Aspen city council talks 2016 budget |

Aspen city council talks 2016 budget

Budget season began Monday with Aspen City Council’s first work session on the proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

The 2016 proposed budget requests a $1.56 million increase from last year’s budget to total $94.1 million, according to a memo to the council from City Manager Steve Barwick.

The proposal also highlights a desire to modernize electronic systems and improve internal workflow processes, renew focuses on transportation and parking issues and further support small lodges within the community, the memo said.

Traditionally, property tax collections within the city’s budget have been allocated to two major funds: the General Fund and the Asset Management Plan Fund, Assistant City Finance Director Pete Strecker said.

For 2016, the city proposes that 100 percent of the projected revenue from property tax collections be allocated to the Asset Management Plan Fund to support the cost of proposed construction of new civic office space.

As far as tax revenue, the city expects “moderate economic growth” in 2016 as well as a 4 percent increase in annual sales tax revenue over last year’s projected collections. This forecast falls just below the 4.6 percent average increase over the past 10 years, which have seen significant contraction and expansion. This growth pattern matters because of “the unpredictable nature of the weather,” which Aspen’s economic vitality depends on equally or more than regional and global economic conditions, the memo said.

The city will update the council on whether the initial expectations can be revised as well as solicit feedback on how to best use resources for Aspen residents and visitors while maintaining appropriate reserves.

City Council will continue budget talks in another work session tonight as well as Oct. 27.

The first budget resolution public hearing will be held Nov. 9.

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