Glenwood’s outgo exceeded income last year
The city of Glenwood Springs spent about $2.4 million more than it took in last year, thanks in part to a continuing decline in sales tax revenues.But the good news is that the revenue decrease was far less than anticipated, city finance director Mike Harman said in delivering a 2004 financial report at City Council’s meeting Thursday night.The city earned $10.07 million in sales tax revenues last year, compared to $10.25 million the previous year, for a 1.78 percent decrease. However, it posted increases in November and December.Meanwhile, the city’s lodging tax increased 3.8 percent, bringing in about $517,000, up from about $498,000 the previous year.Harman said an extra $1.26 million cost to complete the city’s Fire Station No. 2 contributed to the deficit spending in the general fund last year. Still, the fund continues not to be self-sustaining and requires subsidy, thanks to a continued slower local economy and increased costs for operating things such as the Community Center and pool.”Everybody knew when those things were added, they were going to require some subsidies. Where the subsidies come from, I don’t know,” Harman said.That will be a decision for council to make, he said.The city continues to benefit from transfers from some operations, such as the electric system, which had a net income of about $938,500, and the landfill, which created an income of about $1.23 million. But the water-and-sewer fund suffered a $250,000 loss in operations. And the city’s self-insurance fund lost $173,735 and has a negative fund balance of about $365,000, thanks to rising health care costs.Revenues from the city’s broadband service were more than $84,000, compared to about $45,000 the previous year. But they still aren’t enough to cover even the personnel costs of the service, Harman said.”The broadband service needs reviewed to see if it is cost-effective to keep it going,” he wrote in a memo to city manager Jeff Hecksel.Harman also expressed concern that the city’s year-end fund balance left only about $217,000 in unreserved and undesignated funds. However, it also contains nearly $1.2 million in contingency funds.Altogether, the city has debts of $30.6 million, including bonded debt, loans and leases.”When the populace of Glenwood Springs looks at that it’s not very comfortable,” council member Chris McGovern said.However, she said it would help to put that in perspective by looking at the city’s net worth.Hecksel said the city’s water and sewer assets alone exceed $50 million.While debt is uncomfortable, it’s also useful in helping the city do things such as build a pool and other facilities, McGovern said.She said the city’s sales tax picture also requires a larger perspective. Last year’s sales tax revenues were lower than 2003 receipts that were lower than those in 2002 and 2001. The city’s sales tax revenues peaked at $10.7 million in 2001.Part of the loss is a result of the opening of the Wal-Mart superstore in Rifle, McGovern said. However, the opening of the Glenwood Meadows stores this fall should help revive Glenwood’s sales tax numbers, she added.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.