Grand Lake approves 2012 budget | SkyHiNews.com

Grand Lake approves 2012 budget

Tonya Bina
tbina@skyhidailynews.com

Discussions surrounding employee compensation took up much of final budget discussions before the document was approved on Monday Dec. 12.

In the end, the town opted to give all its employees, who have not had a raise in four years, a 4 percent one-time bonus. The board did decline a water-fund employee’s request for a raise, in spite of that department’s financial health, due to not wanting to single any employee out in these hard economic times.

Trustees pointed out that the town covers 100 percent of health insurance for its employees, and premiums went up an overall 18 percent this year, which should be considered part of employee compensation.

Each staff member who works in the town hall is receiving a temporary $150 per-week stipend for added workload while the town works to fill two positions, the town manager and part-time code-enforcement officer. The stipends will expire once the town manager position is hired.

In spite of the tight general fund budget, the town staff has not experienced any layoffs, furloughs or cuts in benefits.

A few capital projects stand out in the 2012 Grand Lake budget, such as $60,000 set aside for a possible chip and seal of Park Avenue. Also, the board set aside $50,000 for repairs to the boardwalk at town park and another $50,000 for landscape improvements to the lakefront where sand volleyball is located.

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Another tentative project would only be done if the town secures $30,000 in grant funds: refinishing the floor at the Grand Lake historic community house.

Other than those projects, the town is “holding the line of the same old – covering operating expenses,” said Grand Lake Town Treasurer Gay Dzinski.

In the water department, the town’s goal is to continue building reserves in 2012 for pending replacements of water main infrastructure. Water fees, which are in accordance to a water-rate study that has been in effect since 2009, will increase again this April by 6 percent.

Another town enterprise fund, the new Pay-As-You-Throw program, was deemed a success in its first year of operation. The board approved a supplemental budget in 2011 to order more bags, which ran out earlier than anticipated.

“It’s definitely holding its own,” Dzinski said. “It’s paying all its expenses and building a reserve.”

The reserve eventually could be used to make the Pay-As-You-Throw trash disposal area into a “nicer facility,” she said.

The grand total of expenditures in Grand Lake’s 2012 budget is $3.63 million. The mill levy was approved at 9.409 mills established in 1994, with a temporary mill-levy rate reduction of 4.476 mills, resulting in a total mill levy for the town of Grand Lake of 4.933 for 2012.

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext.19603.

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