Glenwood has several big-ticket items in 2018 budget | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood has several big-ticket items in 2018 budget

The pending $1 million sale of the old Glenwood Springs library building looms large as the city prepares the 2018 budget.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent | Post Independent

Almost $1 million to fix crumbling Glenwood Springs streets and more than $5 million for several large-scale projects are contemplated as the city works on a draft budget for next year.

Among the bigger-ticket items proposed to be included would be $2 million in downtown improvements along Seventh Street and under the new Grand Avenue/Colorado 82 bridge once it’s completed.

Several downtown business owners recently approached council asking that the planned streetscape and pedestrian plaza improvements be done as soon as possible. Given a long list of capital projects competing for limited money, though, City Council has been reluctant to commit to a time frame.

Council has since had three work sessions with City Manager Debra Figueroa and Finance Director Steve Boyd to go over budget priorities and meet with department heads to review spending needs.

A required public hearing on the proposed 2018 city budget is slated for the Oct. 19 City Council meeting, followed by the anticipated budget approval on Nov. 2.

For preliminary budgeting purposes, as it stands, in addition to $800,000 in outside grants to pay for the downtown work, the city proposes to use proceeds from the pending $1 million sale of the former library building at Ninth and Blake to supplement the cost for the downtown improvements.

Additional funding options to complete the work for next year, as well as continuing in 2019, remain under discussion.

The 2018 budget also envisions funding to move several transportation-related infrastructure projects forward. Among those are the 27th Street bridge replacement, making the Eighth Street connection permanent, beginning work on the Sixth Street “gateway” improvements, and continued design work and right-of-way acquisition for the massive South Bridge project.

Glenwood hopes to also start catching up on some long-deferred city street maintenance needs. Figueroa noted in a budget work session this week that about half of the city’s streets are failing in some manner. For next year, $950,000 is being proposed to launch a substantial street maintenance campaign.

On the personnel front, the proposed city budget includes a 2 percent cost of living increase for city employees. It also funds several salary adjustments based on a recent wage analysis and recommendations.

And the budget will need to absorb an expected 8.5 percent increase in employee health insurance benefit costs, Figueroa said.

A key concern moving into next year is whether sales tax revenues will recover after the bridge project is complete, and when that might occur, Finance Director Boyd pointed out.

Midway through this year, even before the bridge detour began in August, retail sales activity has been flat compared with last year. The city typically bases its general fund budget on a 2 percent increase in sales taxes year over year.