Snowmass adopts ‘conservative’ budget |

Snowmass adopts ‘conservative’ budget

Madeleine Osberger
Snowmass Village correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” A nearly $30 million budget for 2009 that is being called “conservative” in both spending and collections won approval from the Snowmass Village Town Council this week.

Elected officials spent nearly seven hours dissecting the budget earlier this month to firm up a preliminary plan that reflects flat sales tax collections and a 5 percent drop in revenues from the Real Estate Transfer Tax, or RETT. If Snowmass needs to tighten the purse strings even further, the town has two contingency budgets that it could implement come late January and then again at the end of the ski season.

Among the budget decisions, the town will delay road improvements totaling $488,000 until next spring.

Also pushed off were the construction of new parking spaces at Town Hall, which could save up to $20,000 from next year’s budget, and construction of a $50,000 Dumpster shed for Faraway Road.

“The 2009 budget reflects the existing budget philosophy of balancing operating revenues with operating expenditures, supporting one-time expenditures with one-time funds, using the most restricted funds first, having a capital reserve plan and setting aside 15 percent of operating revenues,” according to a staff memo.

The town’s general fund (one-third of which is funded by sales taxes) is the main source of operating revenue for Snowmass Village, the memo notes. Revenues for 2009 are projected to exceed expenditures by $146,373.

General fund operating revenues are budgeted to increase over this year’s revised budget by $610,896 as the result of transfers from RETT revenues and road funds. Expenditures are budgeted to rise by $1,665,941 due primarily to payments for the new Town Hall (which will nearly double from 2008 costs), as well as increases in utility, fuel and personnel costs.

Previously noted cuts to the 2009 budget include:

– A $22,000 payment from the general fund to boost the caliber of acts for the summertime Thursday night concert series on Fanny Hill.

– This winter, the town’s bus route 8 will terminate at the Crossings and will not continue farther up the hill. Residents in the area up to Stirrup Lane will instead be offered dial-a-ride service ($1 per way with a half-hour advance notice recommended).

– A $50,000 matching grant requested by the Arts Advisory Board will not be funded.

– A proposed skating rink at the Rodeo Grounds has been iced.

The town has, however, added $29,000 for winter trails plowing and $15,000 in pay to make a mechanic position more attractive.

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