Granby’s 2023 budget features several capital projects and safe estimations

Snow and lights decorate a pine tree outside Granby's Town Hall on Thursday, Dec. 8.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

In her last year as Granby’s finance director, Sharon Spurlin won the Finance Professional of the Year award from the Colorado Government Finance Officers Association. The 2023 budget she helped put together for the town features several capital fund projects and other items of interest.

The 2023 budget also continues a trend in Spurlin’s budgets — estimating sales tax revenue conservatively and expenditures generously. She said the strategy helps ensure that the board never plans on spending money that doesn’t end up coming in through taxes.

“I budget (revenues) way conservatively because with the economy right now, I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Spurlin said. “Our sales tax has only been down in the last 20-something years one time. It was a half of a percent down.”

Despite the normally reliable annual growth in sales tax revenue, Spurlin estimated a 3% increase for the 2023 budget. For reference, the sales tax revenue through the first 10 months of 2022 was up 16% over the same 10 months of 2021. The lowest increase in recent years was 6.28% in 2016 and the highest was 26.25% in 2019.

High expenditure estimates also discourage overspending, Spurlin said. The townwide expenditure for 2023 is estimated to be $15.3 million, while the townwide revenue is only estimated to be $14.1 million. The budget plans to use about $1.8 million of reserves to cover the difference.

Spurlin highlighted three new items in the 2023 budget — realigned salaries including new staff, building permitting changes and Thompson Road repair. The salary changes come from a salary survey and resolution passed this year that increases salaries for town employees in an effort to better recruit and retain workers. 

The salaries and benefits for town positions — including two new ones — make up 35% of the total town budget, with 23% going to salaries and 12% to benefits. The salaries are expected to cost just over $3.52 million and about $1.8 million is budgeted for employee benefits.

The building permit process could change in Granby next year, as the town looks to go back to using a third party for inspections after using Winter Park’s services for the last few years, according to Spurlin. The general fund includes $220,000 for that potential contract.

The budget includes $500,000 from the town’s general funds to help repair Thompson Road after the Granby Board of Trustees voted to use some town funds to help with repairs as well as funds from the Grand Elk General Improvement District. The town also expects to receive $500,000 from Dillon Cos., the owner of the City Market shopping center, which will cover two-thirds of the estimated $1.5 million repair.

Capital fund projects

Granby’s capital fund will contribute to several projects and expenditures. The budget expects the capital fund’s revenue to be just over $1.45 million and its expenditures to be close to $2.03 million. Reserve funds on other projects will help to cover the anticipated revenue shortfall.

The projects in the capital fund include $65,000 for new audio and visual equipment town hall’s boardroom, $500,000 for street paving based on a new roadway condition evaluation system, the town’s $500,000 share of Thompson Road repair, $15,500 for park shelter improvements, $50,000 for a new security system at town hall, $92,900 for park improvements, $34,000 for a police training obstacle course and $189,780 for the Imagine Granby comprehensive plan.

The paving costs are an annual expense from the capital fund — the 2023 budget reads that the town spent $424,923 on paving in the same category from January through October this year. 

Park shelter improvements will finish up work started in 2022 on the shed next to the skate park at Polhamus Park, while park improvements include several projects. A new bouldering wall is expected to use $32,500 of town money from the conservation trust fund as well as a $32,500 donation from a climbing club. Park improvements also include pond aeration, concrete and resurfacing the Raffety Park tennis courts.

The police training obstacle course will be near the South Service Area Water Treatment Plant, and the budget reads that Granby Police will look to partner with other Grand County departments to cover annual maintenance costs.

Funds for the comprehensive plan will go to consultants such as SGM, the engineering firm often used by the town, to continue with the plan’s next steps.

Other funds

Granby’s budget includes several other funds with notable expenditures. The conservation trust fund, which uses lottery revenues for parks and recreation projects, for instance, will provide part of the money for the bouldering wall as well as $5,000 for artwork at the skatepark and $9,500 for two sand volleyball courts.

The fleet enterprise fund gets money from various general fund departments for new and replacement vehicle and equipment purchases. This year for the streets department, the fund includes $34,000 for a new utility task vehicle with the old one going to the parks department, $25,000 for a new blade for the department’s loader and $5,000 for Bobcat upgrades.

The recreation department will also use the fleet enterprise fund to buy another bus for $72,500. Spurlin said the buses are replaced regularly as a safety precaution.

Grants for paint, facade, site and other business improvements have been combined into one line item in this year’s budget, with $100,000 coming from the general fund for those downtown improvement grants. 

The general fund also includes Highway 40 workforce housing project, if it moves forward in 2023, and north, south and west service areas water systems, the North Service Area Moraine Park water system and the South Service Area’s sewer system. This will be the first full year of operation for the West Service Area, as it will use facilities built by Sun Outdoors that the down granted initial acceptance of in November.

To get the design and engineering process for the new North Service Area treatment plant started this year, the area’s budget includes $1.1 million of capital funds — about $860,000 of which would come from reserves — but a budget note reads that SGM is working on getting grants and loans to offset the cost.

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