Glenwood Springs City Council approves $82.2M 2009 budget
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The City Council voted Thursday night to approve an $82.2 million budget for 2009.
City Manager Jeff Hecksel said the budget “is by and large a status quo budget” and it includes no personnel increases. Police Chief Terry Wilson said previously that the national economic downturn prevented him from acquiring extra staff positions next year.
Hecksel acknowledged the national economy would impact the city’s budget and said in most cases the budget would draw down cash balances in city funds.
“Certainly that’s a concern and you can’t do that forever,” he said. “But for 2009 the city is in an enviable position.”
Because of the weak economy, the city can get more bids and better bids for design and construction work, Hecksel said.
“We can actually get more done with our money than we could have 18 months ago,” Hecksel said.
City Councilor Shelley Kaup said most of the city’s funds look like they’re in good shape and have “a pretty substantial cash position.”
Hecksel said the bus tax fund is “razor thin,” but everything else looks good. The bus tax fund pays for Ride Glenwood bus service. The City Council recently approved a $125,000 subsidy from the street tax fund to maintain the same levels of bus service and avoid charging a fare. Hecksel said months ago that the bus tax fund’s operating deficit was in part due to the economic downturn and increased fuel costs.
Mayor Bruce Christensen said, “We are very, very aware of the economic situation and acknowledge the fact that our sales tax revenues have been declining. We have some contingency plans if we need them.”
Sales tax revenues dropped off since the early months of the year. By individual month, they were slightly below 2007 levels. But averaged from January through September, sales tax revenues were still up 0.44 percent from the same period in 2007.
Hecksel outlined some of the capital projects in the works for 2009: sums of money identified for energy conservation, more reconstruction work on Donegan Road, Seventh Street reconstruction and improvements downtown, on-shore amenities for the whitewater park including parking and a spectator area, and continuing construction of the Atkinson Ditch Trail.
He stressed that for each project money comes from funds restricted to specific purposes. For example, money for capital improvement projects can’t be used to plow snow or hire more police officers, Hecksel said.
The biggest dollar item coming up in 2009 will be around $15 million to start work on a multi-year plan to demolish the wastewater treatment plant near downtown and build a new one in West Glenwood Springs. The new plant is thought to be the most expensive project Glenwood has ever undertaken with one cost estimate pegging it at $35 million.
The new plant is tentatively planned to be done in 2012 if everything goes well. Demolishing the old plant would also open up room for visions of redeveloping the confluence area southeast of the intersection of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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