Glenwood’s 2004 budget leaves little room to budge
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – For the second year in a row, 2004 Glenwood Springs sales tax revenue projections have been frozen at 2002 levels. According to the 2004 preliminary budget, the city’s planned slate of capital projects will continue, but – also for the second year in a row – no new city jobs will be created and raises will be few and far between, city manager Mike Copp said. All in all, the $34 million 2004 preliminary city budget presented to City Council on Thursday had few, if any, surprises. Copp said that during 2003, the city conducted a survey on the pay rates of its employees. “Employees are at a little less than average, but unfortunately we can’t afford to give those raises,” he said. The sluggish economy is also to blame for the lack of new city jobs. In fact, Copp said, it is foreseeable that jobs won’t be filled as people leave. “You have to determine what fits best,” Copp said. “If the monies came in, we could consider hiring more people. But also, the city might not be backfilling those positions.”One bit of good news for city workers is that no layoffs are expected. “We’re not going to lay anybody off, but it’s possible we might not fill positions as people leave,” Copp said.In a budget message to the City Council, Copp pointed out other significant points about the budget:-All funds for 2004 are balanced, except for the city’s health insurance fund, which is partially self-funded. City officials are “looking into options to bring this fund into balance.”-Fund transfers from the Electric Department and the South Canyon Landfill are being used to help balance the general fund. -The Downtown Development Authority is budgeted as its own fund in 2004. In 2004, as in previous years, the DDA is being funded from general fund and General Improvement District revenues. The DDA is requesting $78,472 for 2004 – up from just under $70,000 in 2002 – but to continue its operations into the future, the DDA soon has to find its own revenue source, Copp said. Possible funding sources for the DDA include implementing a mill levy in the DDA district or starting an association where people who live and own businesses in the downtown core pay association dues. “(That’s) so they’re independent from the city,” Copp said. -The city will continue to aggressively make capital improvements, including full funding of the city’s pavement management program and water and sewer improvements.”We don’t want to get behind,” Copp said of the capital improvements. “There’s also money in the budget to lessen the impact of GAPP.”The $2.04 million capital improvements budget includes $523,000 for water improvements, $542,000 for sewer improvements and $975,000 for street improvements. Copp said the biggest issue facing Glenwood Springs and cities across the country is a decrease in revenue.”We’ve always had real good increases in revenues and lived off that. We still have some good streams, but we’re not in as good of shape as we once were – but we’re not hurting,” he said. Copp said he hopes economists’ predictions of an economic upswing in mid-2004 are correct. “We’ve always been a major retail center with no competition,” he said. “Now with a Wal-Mart in Rifle and other competition, it’s hit us.”Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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