Steamboat Springs We were disappointed that the majority of City Council voted to approve the 2009 budget as it was presented Nov. 18. We are concerned that the assumptions on which the budget was based are not conservative enough to be responsive to the current economic climate. However, that vote is a good demonstration of democracy, and we will, of course, support the majority decision.
Relative to budgeting, there is another opportunity for direct democracy that is coming up in December and January. We would both like to encourage you, the citizens of Steamboat, to participate in this process. At the suggestion of the staff, City Council will be embarking on prioritizing city services. This is a major process of cost-benefit analysis for core services. We need to hear from as many of you as possible about this so that we, the City Council, as your elected officials, can be sure we are truly representing you.
A list of more than 100 core services will be available to council and the public in early December. We will need to have tiered that list and then prioritized each of the tiers by the middle of December. This rough draft of the rankings of core city services will then be finalized at a special meeting in mid-January.
This ranked list of core services that the city provides will be updated annually to ensure that it is still valid as economic conditions change. It is intended that this list will be used by City Council and staff as a guide for the implementation of fiscal policy in the future. In the short term and in the eventuality that further cuts need to be made in programs and services to maintain a balanced budget for 2009, this ranked list will indicate where those adjustments could be made.
Cari Hermacinski and Meg Bentley
Steamboat Springs City Council members