City administrators, council to hold 2010 budget hearing today

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If you go

What: City's all-day budget hearing

When: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: 879-2060 for more information

Agenda

8 to 8:30 a.m. Presentation of proposed budget

8:30 to 9:30 a.m. General fund operations budget

9:45 to 10:45 a.m. General fund operations budget

10:45 to 11:45 a.m. Enterprise fund budget

11:45 a.m. to noon. Internal service funds budget

1 to 2 p.m. Five-year capital improvement plan

2 to 2:30 p.m. Community support allocation committees

2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Public comment

3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Review/wrap-up

By the numbers

Total revenues, costs of municipal services in Steamboat Springs (All figures in millions)

Municipal revenue: $49.3 (2008); $43.2 (2009 original); $38.8 (2009 projected); $36 (2010 proposed)

Municipal expenses: $52.6 (2008); $53.5 (2009 original); $50.2 (2009 projected); $36.2 (2010 proposed)

— City administrators and council members have the grim job today of reviewing a 2010 budget with cuts to nearly every city department, as Steamboat Springs' sales tax revenues continue to slide.

The 2010 budget is based on a projected 10 percent drop in revenue next year. That 10 percent is on top of the 18 percent drop projected for this year.

"I think there's some hope that it won't be that bad," interim finance director Bob Litzau said Monday. "I think it's a reasonable estimate for where we're headed next year. : I just don't see a real fast recovery."

Today's public hearing begins at 8 a.m. at Centennial Hall, 124 10th St. Public comment is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., immediately after presentations from community support allocation committees. Community support allocations fund many local nonprofit groups and social service organizations. The city's proposed 2010 budget includes $1.17 million for community support groups, down from $1.29 million in spending projected for this year. While 2010 funding requests from many groups were not available Monday, the proposed reductions include a more than $17,000 cut to Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association marketing, an $8,000 cut to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, a more than $7,000 cut to special event development and a $2,000 cut from Routt County Search and Rescue.

Parks and recreation

In terms of city departments, one of the hardest hit is the Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department. The 2010 budget calls for about $2.4 million in spending for that department, down from more than $2.7 million projected for 2009.

Chris Wilson, the department's director, said cuts include everything from less maintenance of city athletic fields to a reduction in programs for local youths.

"We've reduced the summer camp programming; we've reduced and eliminated some of the satellite programs and after-school programs that we were doing for teens," Wilson said.

Cutting the equivalent of about three full-time positions, primarily seasonal jobs, could mean less upkeep of soccer and softball fields.

"Instead of that happening as early as it has in years past, it will be happening later in the season as we bring staff on," Wilson said. "We will be doing less field painting and less mowing."

City softball programs could see a cut of about $12,500 in 2010, from a projected $44,000 in 2009 to $31,500 next year. Wilson said the number of softball teams could shrink next summer and that players will be asked to take on more roles with a decreased presence from city staff.

"Folks will be covering, no pun intended, more bases than they have in the past," Wilson said.

Wilson said his department will ask community members to take more of a participatory role in providing and maintaining recreation programs.

"We believe that with the help of community, we're going to continue to meet their recreational needs," he said. "If you have specific questions on your program or your activity and how the budget impacts it, by all means call us or e-mail us."

Call the department at 879-4300 or e-mail Wilson at cwilson@steamboatsprings.net.

Fewer capital projects

Overall, the proposed 2010 budget lists about $36 million in total municipal services revenue, with about $36.2 million in total municipal services expenditures.

"From an operating standpoint, the budget is balanced," Litzau said. "We're recommending using a couple hundred thousand dollars from reserves for capital, but that's about it."

In 2009, there is a projected difference of more than $11 million in municipal services revenues and expenditures. Capital projects this year largely account for the gap, Litzau said. The projected $11.6 million in 2009 capital projects include $2.2 million for downtown improvements and streetscape, $1.8 million for the New Victory Highway, about $700,000 for a paving program and nearly $600,000 to replace a bus-washing machine. The 2010 budget proposes about $3.9 million in capital projects, primarily $1.7 million for U.S. Highway 40 improvements.

City Council President Loui Antonucci said the proposed 2010 budget leaves core city services intact.

"There's some things you can't cut, like snowplowing, like fire services," Antonucci said.

He added that the widespread cuts leave many questions and details to be discussed at today's hearing.

"What effect is it all going to have on the community? Those are the questions we'll have to answer," he said.

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