Crowd withers for Granby budget hearing
Sky-Hi Daily News
Granby, CO Colorado
After a long night of liquor license hearings that packed the boardroom a week ago Tuesday, Granby Town Manager Wally Baird commented on the lack of citizen interest in a near-empty room as the town board approved a $5.2 million budget.
The town’s budget is designed to operate lean and increase unrestricted reserves in 2010.
Yet more than half a million being pulled from capital reserves for needed items, such as a lease-purchase dump truck, a recreation district van, a lawn mower for parks maintenance and to continue paving and sidewalk projects.
No new proposed positions are being added in the 2010 budget, and salaries remain at the 2008 level for all employees.
Meanwhile, the town is making a one-time payment of $1,700 to each full-time employee “to help with the economic condition which all of us are faced with,” according to a draft budget memo prepared by Baird and Finance Manager Sharon Spurlin.
The payment could be used toward employees’ high-deductible health-savings accounts, an insurance plan the town transitioned into two years ago to save money.
The town continues to use contract labor in certain areas, such as engineering and legal. Planning duties in the town mostly “will be done by the town manager and the town clerk,” the memo continues. The Town of Granby is currently negotiating with Winter Park for its building permit processes, having severed its relationship with the contracted company SafeBuilt Inc.
Although sales tax is flat compared with last year, the town has budgeted a 5 percent increase in sales tax for 2010 due to new businesses coming into the town “and the fact that people still need local services,” states the budget memo. “Granby has not been affected as much by the decrease in tourism as the rest of the county.”
Use taxes on building materials are projected to total $150,000, compared to $355,000 received in 2008 and $139,000 in 2009.
Chip and seal street projects, downtown beautification, directional signs in town and payments for business facade enhancements were budgeted for 2010 with the use of a transfer from the town’s capital fund using downtown development restricted reserves.
A 100 percent increase in town court fees took place with adoption of the budget – an increase to $30 from $15.
And, town water and sewer customers will face a 10 to 12 percent increase in the cost of services, depending on what service area they live in. The increases were approved to maintain water-plant costs in the face of stagnant growth in the town.
The property tax mill levy of the town remains at 7.217 mills. The property tax revenue to the town is projected to increase from $465,321 in 2009 to $525,112 in 2010 due to the increases in assessed value.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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