Council to discuss budget

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The Steamboat Springs City Council is taking an early look at the city's 2007 budget tonight.

Based on their request, council members will take a more active role in shaping this year's budget than in years past.

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

Where: Citizens Hall meeting room, Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

When: 5 p.m. today

The council's input will be part of an improved way of involving the council and residents in the budget process, council President Ken Brenner said.

"There is a lot more interaction between the City Council and the city staff on programs and projects," Brenner said. "And this is also an opportunity for citizens to provide input very early in the budget cycle as to what they would like to see done differently."

The budget will, in part, be based on five goals that the council identified during its retreat a few months ago. Those goals are to ensure sufficient transportation infrastructure, create a sustainable affordable-housing program, maintain and diversify the economy, enhance Steamboat's recreational assets and create an environmental policy.

City staff members also have identified goals. Those are to enhance public safety, improve customer service and enhance relations with the public, city employees and City Council.

The council will review budget information about the city's recreational services, including Haymaker Golf Course, the ice rink, the tennis center and Howelsen Hill ski area.

The council also will discuss community support. Community support is the money that the council gives to organizations focusing on social services, the arts, afford--able housing and other areas.

Council members have expressed interest in revising the process for allocating these funds, according to a city memo.

Brenner said having the council review aspects of the budget so early allows for time to prepare cost estimates and compare proposals. The city has enough resources to reprioritize expenditures to address new needs in the community, he said.

Brenner said he hopes to hear from plenty of people tonight.

"I hope people take advantage of this opportunity to say, 'This is what's important to us,'" Brenner said.

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229

or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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