Snowmass Town Council discusses 2018 proposed budget | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass Town Council discusses 2018 proposed budget

The Snowmass Town Council is in the midst of discussing its proposed budget for 2018, which allocates funds for a new workforce housing development in the Rodeo Place neighborhood.

With every fall offseason comes a less exciting (for most folks) time of year: budget season.

Tis the season at Snowmass' Town Hall, where the council is expected to vote Monday on the municipality's 2018 budget.

Altogether, the town's budget for 2018 is estimated at $31.8 million — about $1 million less than its total spending for 2017, according to Travis Elliot, Snowmass assistant to the town manager.

Snowmass Village in 2018 is expected to generate about $30.1 million in revenue, which is up from this year's $29.1 million figure.

Some of the more notable changes to the proposed 2018 budget from 2017 include additional workforce-housing funds, a 10 percent increase in its marketing emergency reserves and an added $1 million to replace the boilers on Snowmelt Road.

At a recent meeting, Snowmass Town Manager Clint Kinney said the budget may be "the best policy document council produces every year," as it is intended to reflect the council's annual goals.

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The increase in funds for workforce housing, identified as a Town Council priority for 2017, is an example.

As proposed, the 2018 budget will allocate $3.3 million toward a housing project — construction of a development in the Rodeo Place neighborhood — as part of the town's Capital Improvement Plan.

The workforce housing project will include a mix of deed-restricted houses and townhomes subsidized for purchase (not rent), according to Elliot.

He said it is too soon to estimate the development's completion date but offered that it would not be before 2019, pending many variables.

In 2017, the town dedicated $2.8 million toward this housing project; however, those funds went unused and were rolled into the 2018 budget with an additional $450,000, Elliot said.

He noted the Capital Improvement Plan funds are outside Snowmass' housing department budget, which in 2018 is expected to boast a total operating revenue of $2.7 million and $2.1 million in expenditures.

Another adjustment to the town's 2018 budget from this year is its marketing emergency reserves, which are proposed to increase from 15 to 25 percent.

The reason for this, Kinney said, is so the town may ensure it is "well-funded" in the future should an economic downtown occur.

Snowmass' Financial Advisory Board, which reviews the budget each year, said it supports the marketing emergency reserves increase.

"The town wants to be prepared by having available funds to spend on marketing and group sales in those lean recession years when it's needed most," the board wrote in a letter to the Town.

Finally, while replacing boilers along Snowmelt Road "may not seem significant," Elliot said, the upgrade will save the town money going forward, as the new boilers' operating cost will be less. The $1 million boiler replacement, which send heat to keep the road clear, dry and safe, also are more energy efficient, he said.

For more on the Town of Snowmass' 2018 budget, check next week's Snowmass Sun.

erobbie@aspentimes.com