Granby makes more cuts, still far from balanced budget | SkyHiNews.com

Granby makes more cuts, still far from balanced budget

Tonya Bina
tbina@grandcountynews.com
Granby, Colorado

The town of Granby is still hammering away at its budget, searching for a way to save the economic development position currently held by Betsy Cook.

Town board members are grappling with a stubborn set of numbers that, after three workshops, still reflect a $174,350 gap that needs to be closed by Dec. 9 in time for budget adoption.

“It’s the first time ” and I’ve been on this board for years ” that we’ve had to cut this much from the budget,” said Granby Trustee Deb Shaw.

The board decreased use tax revenues on building materials and vehicles for 2009 by $100,000.

Playing it safe elsewhere, a franchise tax of $40,000 still in question with Mountain Parks Electric was removed from the budget. Town Manager Wally Baird did say that “contact has been made” with Mountain Parks, and that there is a “very good opportunity for reinstating” that budget number, but the item was removed for the time-being.

Board members tried to recover revenue by slashing expenses. They took a planned $25,000 for a motorist direction sign off the table and nixed $25,000 in downtown entrepreneurship program dollars requested by Cook.

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The board also reduced projected legal work by another $10,000, setting aside $68,000 for town attorney duties.

The Panther’s Den building became a budget-worthy discussion. Board members resolved to work with Grand Youth Adventures to find another location for its after-school offerings. But the building sat empty for at least eight months and needs extensive repairs, according to the town. Tearing down the building would save the town around $3,000 in utility expenses, a total left in the budget until the matter is resolved.

Building permit-fee revenue was slightly increased, but still reflecting a conservative building outlook for 2009. The board brought the building fee total from an estimated $33,500 up to $50,000, contrasting greatly with an original 2008 projection of $350,000.

Granby citizen Bonnie Rozean offered the board a list of suggestions for other ways to reduce expenditures.

She started with trustee and mayor stipends.

The mayor’s salary is $9,600 a year, and trustees each receive $6,000 a year, totaling

$45,600.

Mayor Jynnifer Pierro said the salary pays for attendance to a minimum of three meetings a week, the work involved as mayor as well as making herself available by phone to any citizen at any time. The salaries are shy of the real amount of work trustees and the mayor devote to their positions, she said.

“I’m not willing to give that up right now,” she said.

Shaw, followed by Trustee Greg Guthridge, supported Pierro, saying the true amount of time spent on the job shreds salaries to “pennies per hour.”

When asked about a full-time recreation district position being added to the budget, trustees defended it. A full-time employee is needed to administrate the increasingly busy soccer facility, they said. They also defended part-time administrative help, such as the front-desk position.

Board members added a line to the budget ” $3,500 in nonprofit donations above and beyond those secured by intergovernmental agreements, such as the chamber, Headwaters Trails Alliance, Grand Beginnings, the Grand County Housing Authority and the Granby Library. The $3,500 sum will most-likely be divided among several nonprofits integral to Granby, Pierro said.

Since the decision of cutting a staff position is not yet settled, and an ending 2009 fund balance still lies in limbo, the board scheduled a final workshop for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2.

New liquor License granted

The town of Granby approved a beer and wine liquor license for The Pearl Dragon Restaurant on Tuesday. The decision followed a lengthy discussion about the town’s 2009 budget, so when Pearl Dragon owner Lin Long approached the podium and was congratulated, Town Manager Wally Baird joked, “This license will cost you $156,000.”

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