Basalt’s new budget proposal soars | AspenTimes.com

Basalt’s new budget proposal soars

BASALT ” The Basalt town government plans on spending about 39 percent more in 2008 than this year, according to its proposed budget.

The proposal anticipates expenditures of nearly $8 million next year compared to $5.75 million this year.

The higher cost of doing business is reflected in the budgets of nearly all the departments. A handful of capital expenditures and personnel decisions account for about half of the spending increase.

The engineering department’s budget soared from $159,329 this year to $848,172 next year. Most of that increase will be eaten up by a project on Two Rivers Road. Town Manager Bill Efting said $400,000 has been set aside to clean up the recycling area west of Lions Park and to make improvements to Two Rivers Road.

The recycling bins will be hidden behind a new berm, and traffic will be shifted away slightly from the recycling area on Two Rivers Road. In addition, sidewalks and curb-and-gutter will be added to the road from the recycling area west to its intersection with Homestead Road.

The budget of the streets department will increase by $321,000 to cover a variety of special projects, the budget proposal showed. Among the expenditures is $100,000 for traffic calming on East Valley Road in Willits.

Recommended Stories For You

The planning department’s budget is proposed to increase from $530,771 this year to $768,948 in 2008. A big chunk of the increase is forecast to be $175,000 for work on the zoning and subdivision code.

The police department will add one patrol officer in January and another in June. That will increase the ranks to 10 sworn officers ” the chief, two sergeants, a school resource officer and six patrol officers, said Police Chief Keith Ikeda. The department also has two community safety officers and one administrative director.

Ikeda said the increase in patrol officers is needed because of the number and changing types of calls for service. The increase will allow greater coverage around the clock.

“Our calls for service in six years have more than doubled,” he said. “We’re starting to see an increase in the number of crimes that require a two-officer response,” he said.

Those calls include crimes of violence, disorderly conduct and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The police department’s budget is projected to increase from $1,065,717 this year to $1,290,397 next year.

The Basalt Town Council has held work sessions on the budget this fall and is scheduled to finalize the plan this month.

Basalt anticipates $6.87 million in revenues in 2008. Nearly 72 percent of that will come from taxes. Basalt, like all towns in the Roaring Fork Valley, relies heavily on sales tax revenues.

The proposed budget requires dipping into reserves for $1.12 million. That will leave the town with a reserve balance of $2.84 million.

Scott Condon’t e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.