Basalt council restores childcare, other priorities in budget | AspenTimes.com

Basalt council restores childcare, other priorities in budget

When the Basalt Town Council approved a general fund budget of $15.38 million Tuesday night, it was some of the smaller numbers deep in the guts of the document that were particularly important to some members.

The contribution to child care services was restored to $75,000, matching this year's amount. A draft budget by the staff had suggested cutting the contribution to $30,000 next year. Some of the funds will be used as grants to help Basalt families cover their child care expenses.

The contribution to WeCycle, the Roaring Fork Valley's bike share program, settled at $45,000 — less than the $75,000 it received last year but more than the $30,000 initially suggested in the draft. That contribution was also near and dear to the hearts of several council members.

Other special projects and the funding amounts included $94,000 for a climate action plan, $80,000 for special events and $10,000 for a valleywide affordable-housing study.

The 2018 budget is balanced and restores a reserve of 33 percent of the unrestricted general fund — the town's piggybank to fund operations in case of unforeseen problems.

The $15.38 million breaks down to $3.94 million for operations, $3.83 million for capital projects, personnel expenditures of $3.81 million and debt service of $3.8 million.

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The TABOR amendment to the Colorado Constitution requires debt service to be disclosed in the budget, so that swells the overall amount. The actual amount of expenditures anticipated for next year is $10.18 million, according to Judi Tippetts, assistant town manager and finance director.

That is a projected increase of $647,761, or about 10 percent over estimated final expenditures for this year, Tippetts said. The expenditures for 2017 are expected to come in around $9,535,798.

One of the biggest changes in expenditures is street repair and projects. The town budgeted $1.98 million for projects in 2018 compared with $871,000 this year.

Big capital outlays include $425,000 for East Valley Road in Willits, $330,000 for Two Rivers Road, and $300,000 for concrete replacement in the roundabout on Willits Lane. Another $40,000 will be spent on Midland Spur.

One of the biggest reductions in the budget is under the legislative category, which includes discretionary and economic development funds used by the council. Last year's total legislative was $1.03 million. That is budgeted to decrease to $675,840 next year.

Two reasons for the decrease were contributions of $250,000 for the affordable-housing project in Willits Town Center and $175,000 to the Roaring Fork Apartments being constructed by RealAmerica, Tippetts said via email.

The council approved the first reading of the budget Tuesday. A second reading is required and will be completed Dec. 12.

scondon@aspentimes.com