Snowmass Village reviews $37 million budget for 2019 | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass Village reviews $37 million budget for 2019

Mount Daly and the ski slopes of Snowmass gleam Sunday from the vantage point of the climb up onto the ridge on the former Droste property.

Budget season is underway in Snowmass Village, where the name of the game is to overestimate expenses and undervalue revenue to ensure that the town's financial position remains strong.

Snowmass' proposed budget for 2019 anticipates the town will rack in $30.9 million in revenue and spend $37.4 million, according to the financial plan.

Despite the $6.5 million disparity, the town will not operate in a deficit but rather dip into its savings to fund a few "one-time" capital improvement projects, town manager Clint Kinney explained.

These dollars have been reserved on an annual basis for several years, Kinney said, to finance initiatives that execute the town council's objectives.

"In my mind, the budget is how you implement council goals," Kinney said Tuesday. "You've got to put your money where your mouth is."

To that end, Snowmass' budget for 2019 allocates just more than $1 million toward three projects that address the council's priorities regarding "environmental resiliency." Specifically, as part of Snowmass' sustainability plan adopted in 2009 and updated in 2015, the town committed to reduce its carbon emissions 20 percent by the year 2020.

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First, the town intends to convert 100 percent of the municipality's electricity use to renewable sources (hydro and solar). Snowmass plans to achieve this by purchasing renewable electricity from Holy Cross Energy in an amount of $33,000.

As part of a micro-hydro renewable project, the town also will buy equipment that will generate electricity through hydroelectric plants. The Snowmass Water and Sanitation District will work with the town on this project, which is priced at $96,000.

Finally, the town plans to install solar panels on all of its buildings, such as Town Hall, the public works department, Mountain View II apartments, Town Park Station and the Snowmass Recreation Center. This undertaking, the most significant of the three, according to Kinney, is expected to cost approximately $900,000.

"Between these three initiatives, we're really trying to meet that overall council goal of reducing carbon emission," Kinney said.

Also on the energy-efficient front, the town will replace the boilers on Snowmelt Road next year. The project, which was accounted for in this year's budget, is about $1 million. The town bought the new boilers this year and will install them at the end of ski season, Kinney said.

The upgrade also will save the town money in the future, as the new boilers cost less to operate.

Among council's six goals, Kinney said, environmentally sustainability is "one of the most significant."

Another primary and longstanding goal of the town is to add workforce housing. The town's budget for this year allocates $3.31 million toward the design of a future employee housing development called Coffey Place.

The bulk of this amount ($2.97 million) will roll over into next year; therefore the 2019 budget does not include any additional funds toward the project, Snowmass housing director Betsy Crum said.

Named in honor of the late Joe Coffey — the town's first and former housing director of nearly 40 years — the for-sale, 13-building development will sit next to the rodeo subdivisions. The cost of the project is unknown, Crum said, as construction is at least two years out.

Snowmass' Financial Advisory Board, which reviews the budget each year, credited the town in a letter on what it views as a financially sound document.

The budget for 2019 also projects a 3 percent increase over both the marketing sales tax collections for this year as well as the lodging taxes.

Town Council at its regular meeting Monday will listen to an overview and breakdown of Snowmass Tourism's spending as part of the budget conversations. Altogether, the town dedicates about $7 million to fund its marketing, special events and group sales.

A special meeting for Town Council to review the budget is scheduled Oct. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

erobbie@aspentimes.com