CMC’s $63.4 million budget reflects slight increase |

CMC’s $63.4 million budget reflects slight increase

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The multi-county Colorado Mountain College district is prepared to spend about $800,000 more in the coming year than it did this year, despite a projected decline in property tax revenues – a trend that’s expected to continue for the next few years.

The CMC board of trustees is scheduled to adopt the $63.4 million fiscal year 2009-10 budget, up from $62.6 million this year, at its regular June meeting Monday in Aspen.

The meeting will take place in the art gallery. The budget is tentatively scheduled to be considered at 11:30 a.m.

For now, the CMC district, which includes campuses in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Rifle and Aspen, is not proposing budget cuts or a tuition increase, according to the draft budget, which is available for public viewing on the college’s website.

However, those and other options could very well be on the table come January if the revenue picture doesn’t improve, CMC President Stan Jensen has said.

“The economic landscape throughout the world and our district has changed dramatically in the past nine months,” he wrote in a budget statement.

“For budget year 2009-10, we anticipate the state funding will remain at the 2008-09 level,” Jensen said. “The local property tax funding should remain strong for the first half of the budget year, but then we anticipate it will take a sharp path of decline that may last for at least two or more years.”

The state of Colorado has also been considering cuts to higher education. That could result in a decrease in funding to CMC by as much as 10 to 20 percent.

As it stands, the college is budgeting for those dollars to remain about the same, at $6.7 million, for next year.

The budget projects a roughly $3.4 million drop in property taxes, which makes up 74 percent of CMC’s revenues. Much of that decline is related to the decline in taxes from natural gas drilling in western Garfield County.

Overall, general fund tax revenue is projected to be down from $39 million this year to $35.3 million next year. CMC’s mill levy will continue at 3.997, the same rate as for the last 16 years, according to the budget proposal.

Tuition revenue is projected to be slightly less than last year, from nearly $9 million this year to a little more than $8.6 million next year. Some of that drop is due to the loss of a contract with a prison to provide credit classes to inmates.

Tuition makes up 11 percent of the college’s revenue, while funding from the state provides another 11 percent, and miscellaneous revenues make up the remaining 4 percent.

The drop in revenue from taxes and tuition will be made up with a variety of fund transfers, including $1.1 million from the general fund reserve, according to the draft budget.

“The board of trustees has requested that the college retain a reserve fund of at least 25 percent of the General Fund operating budget to help offset possible future funding cuts from the state and possible reductions in future revenues from the mill levy on property assessments,” according to the budget statement. “Dollars have been set aside in the 2009-10 budget to maintain this level of reserve funding.

The budget can be viewed online at

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