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City mulls projected funding shortfalls

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The City Council must decide what to do about expected fund deficits for Ride Glenwood and the Glenwood Springs Rural Fire Protection District in the city’s proposed $82.7 million 2009-2010 budget.

City manager Jeff Hecksel said in a memo that the operating deficit for the bus tax fund, which funds Ride Glenwood, is “in part due to the sales tax declines associated with the downturn in the economy. It is also due in part to escalating fuel costs.”

The bus tax fund pays for Ride Glenwood service with sales tax revenues and grant money.



Sales tax revenues, a main source of revenue for the city, declined slightly this year from 2007 figures in the summer months of June, July and August. Overall sales tax revenue increases over 2007 had steadily slowed down this year and dipped to .84 percent by August, meaning as of that month total 2008 sales tax revenues had increased less than a percent from 2007.

The City Council has three options to deal with the expected shortfall in the bus tax fund, the memo says. It could either reduce Ride Glenwood bus service or find money from another source such as the city’s street tax fund, which would reduce the amount available for street improvement projects.



The city could also consider a fare for Ride Glenwood or a tax increase to pay for bus service, Hecksel’s memo says.

The Glenwood Springs Rural Fire Protection District (GSRFPD) also won’t have enough money in 2009 to fulfill its contract for services in rural areas around Glenwood Springs, the memo says. It has a legal agreement with the city in which its budget is based on the city fire department’s budget. To deal with the expected deficit, Hecksel wrote that the city could revise a formula in an agreement as the fire district requested, reduce the fire department’s budget, cancel the agreement with the district or agree to cover the deficit with conditions specifying a schedule for the district to fix its funding problems.

The district’s requested change to the formula would reduce its contribution and shift $83,717 more cost to the city for 2009. The cost to the city would be expected to increase over time with the fire department’s budget, the memo says.

Reducing the fire department’s budget would hurt fire and emergency services and would lower insurance ratings.

Hecksel said in an interview that no other funds are in jeopardy and no other services would likely need to be reduced.

Hecksel is also asking the City Council to prioritize expenditures for new and ongoing projects during a work session before tonight’s City Council meeting. The budget will go through a final approval process in November and December.

Other items on tonight’s City Council agenda include: an application for a development permit for a new “materials management area” and loading dock at Valley View Hospital, a potential agreement to participate in long range planning for Interstate 70 improvements and a possible change to commercial design standards.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

pfowler@postindependent.com


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