Glenwood approves $66.7 million 2011 budget |

Glenwood approves $66.7 million 2011 budget

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City Council, at its Nov. 5 meeting, approved a budget that calls for $66.7 million in spending next year, including a $12.2 million general fund.

The overall budget for the coming year is 18 percent less than this year, primarily due to a number of streets and other capital projects that are nearing completion.

Work will continue into next year on three major projects, including the new wastewater treatment plant in West Glenwood, the Atkinson Ditch trail and Donegan Road upgrades.

The new sewer plant is a multi-year project, with another $15 million appropriated for 2011, according to the budget submitted by City Manager Jeff Hecksel.

On the revenue side, the city’s 2011 budget is also based on a 5 percent increase in sales tax revenues over 2009 levels. That’s based on a trend in city sales taxes in recent months that suggests the worst of the impacts to the city from the economic downturn may be over.

While sales taxes are still running close to 5 percent below last year’s levels, the downward trend has slowed in recent months.

For September, sales taxes were down 1.86 percent compared to September of 2009. Earlier in the year, the year-over-year losses were coming in at more than 6 percent. Sales taxes make up about 50 percent of the city’s general fund revenues.

Council member Shelley Kaup voted against the budget, saying she’s still uncomfortable with the sales tax projections. She and other council members also expressed concern that the council didn’t take enough time to discuss spending policies with regards to the new budget.

“I would like to see the process changed for next year so that we do have more time to discuss these things,” Councilman Leo McKinney said.

Council also commended city staff for holding down expenses as revenues have fallen off over the past two years.

While the budget does reflect an increase in sales taxes, Hecksel said it also contains monthly revenue targets so that spending reductions can be made if revenues fall short.

That could include city worker furlough days and other measures to keep spending in check without having to make personnel cuts.

Council approved the budget on a 6-1 vote, with Councilor Kaup opposed. Council is expected to consider a budget appropriations resolution at its Nov. 18 meeting, followed by a second reading of the budget on Dec. 2.

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