Winter Park eschews budget cuts for 2010 | SkyHiNews.com

Winter Park eschews budget cuts for 2010

Reid Armstrong
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County CO Colorado

Times are tight, but the Town of Winter Park is planning to ride out the storm for one more year without cutting services, salaries or positions in hopes that the economy will soon turn around.

Town council adopted its 2010 budget last week, projecting total revenues of nearly $7.2 million and anticipating expenditures of $8.3 million.

The budget, which includes a 5.5 percent increase in property taxes paid to the town, draws down the town’s reserves by $1.3 million to cover costs, leaving a unreserved fund balance of roughly $3.3 million at the end of 2010.

Sales tax, which is the town’s primary source of income (making up almost 60 percent of its revenue) has been on a steady decline since 2008.

By the end of 2010, town staff projects that its sales tax revenue will have dropped off some 25 percent since the economic downturn began in 2008.

Some 40 percent of the town’s expenditures, or $2.6 million, will go to pay to salaries in 2010.

Given the economic crunch, town council asked staff to put some capital expenditures and projects on the back burner until later in the year.

“We are going to reevaluate all of this in May when we have a better picture of our revenues,” said Town Manager Drew Nelson. “If our sales tax revenue is off by more than 5 percent, some of these items are going to get cut.”

That said, the capital outlay category makes up almost 19 percent of the town’s 2010 budgeted expenditures.

Capital equipment purchases on the books for 2010 include: a portable generator, $ 8,000; a marked patrol vehicle, $37,000; an unmarked patrol vehicle, $35,000; a front end loader, $180,000; a 4X4 Pickup, $39,000; a mini excavator, $30,000; a fleet/parts management system, $10,000; a de-icer, $8,000; and an air compressor, $9,000.

Council approved a total of $902,000 in capital improvement projects for 2010, including: the skate park expansion, $60,000; new light fixtures, $50,000; Hideaway Park improvements, $25,000; the Wolf Park bathroom project, $30,000; a soft trail along King’s Crossing Road, $30,000; a Ski Idlewild parking lane, $200,000; Town Hall roof replacement; $40,000; and, quiet zones at the railroad crossings to eliminate horns, $250,000.

Another major expenditure for the town is community marketing. Winter Park has pledged nearly $890,000 to the Winter Park/Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce for various campaigns in 2010, including a new early and late season ski package program and three new music events in town next summer.

The town granted more than $100,000 contributions to local charitable and community organizations, including: Advocates, $2,000; Eternal Hills Christian Preschool, $4,000; Fraser Creative Learning Center, $4,200; Fraser Valley Seniors, $1,200; Grand Beginnings, $250; Grand County Blues Society, $5,000; Grand County Council On Aging, $2,000; Grand County Historical Association, $1,600; Grand County Library District, $5,000; Grand County Pet Pals, $700; Grand County Rural Health Network, $1,000; Grand Huts Association, $1,720; Grand Kids, $5,000; Grand Youth Adventures, $5,000; Habitat For Humanity, $2,000; Headwater Trail Alliance, $6,000; Heart Of The Mountain Hospice, $2,500; Middle Park High School Driver’s Education, $10,000; Middle Park High School Post Prom, $500; Middle Park Land Trust, $2,800; Middle Park Music Education Foundation, $500; Mountain Family Center, $3,000; National Sports Center For The Disabled, $1,000; Shining Stars Foundation, $4,500; and the Winter Park Horseman’s Association, $5,000.

Town council adopted the budget on a 6-0 vote. Council member Chris Seemann was absent.

– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or rarmstrong@skyhidailynews.com.


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