Winter Park budget hearing set for Tuesday
November 15, 2010
The Town of Winter Park will hold its second public hearing on the 2011 budget when it meets at 8 a.m. Nov. 16. The draft budget, available for public review on the town’s website, the Fraser Valley Library and Winter Park Town Hall, calls for $4.663 million in expenditures, which reflects a reduction of about $15,000 from estimated year-end spending in 2010.
The proposed 2011 budget requires spending $600,000 of the town’s reserves, which – including all four reserve funds – will comprise about $4.5 million at the end of 2011. Town manager Drew Nelson ran a projection showing totals in these four accounts if the town sustains similar spending from its reserves over the next five years. The projection estimates that the town would still have nearly $3 million in reserves in 2015.
While town council approved the budget on first reading last month, “Any part of our budget is completely up in the air,” Nelson said. “If cuts are necessary, we will cut. The most sacred thing, I believe, is maintaining our reserve. Beyond that, there are no sacred cows. Any one thing is as eligible as anything else.”
The budget calls for no increase in salaries for the town’s 36.25 employees and a slight increase in health insurance costs, effectively reducing their take-home amounts with the increase to staff premium contributions. The town will continue to realign duties to reduce positions whenever possible.
Nearly one quarter of the town’s budget will go toward marketing this year as it has in previous years.
The voter-approved restricted sales tax (half of one cent) goes directly to the Winter Park/Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce for a projected $435,000 in 2011. The board also plans to give the chamber $335,000 for events and $100,000 for the ski free program.
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Nelson encourages public participation in the budget process: “Call us, email us, come to the meeting – anything – we would love feedback,” he said.