A banner over Lincoln Avenue advertises events in Steamboat Springs. The city has developed new framework for how it allocates money to community support organizations that include the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Photo by John F. Russell

A banner over Lincoln Avenue advertises events in Steamboat Springs. The city has developed new framework for how it allocates money to community support organizations that include the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Steamboat City Council trying to streamline spending

New community support framework to aid 10 percent cuts in 2010

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By the numbers

City of Steamboat Springs community support spending

2010 $1,179,432*

2009 $1,310,480

2008 $1,815,264

2007 $2,523,243

2006 $1,410,174

* Not yet proposed or approved; based on direction to decrease spending by 10 percent from 2009

Source: City of Steamboat Springs, budgets

Get involved

To serve on one of the city's new Community Support Allocation Committees, call Mark Andersen, of the Environmental Coalition, at 846-9355 or Nancy Kramer of the Arts and Culture Coalition at 846-2969. Applications are available at City Hall, 137 10th St., or on the city's Web site at www.steamboatspri.... They are due by 5:30 p.m. Sept. 15.

— There will be no shortage of drama when the Steamboat Springs City Council attempts to cut spending by 10 percent in 2010, but the governing body has taken steps to distance itself from one of the more emotionally charged aspects of the budget process.

The planned 10 percent cut to spending citywide amounts to about $2 million and comes on top of massive budget cuts this year - including a furlough program that has seen city employees' pay and hours cut by 10 percent - that amounted to a 13 percent reduction in spending from 2008. Steamboat Springs' sales tax collections decreased by 21.5 percent in June compared with June 2008. The city collected less than $1.2 million in sales tax in June, compared with about $1.5 million for the month last year. That puts the year-to-date collections at $8.7 million, compared with $10.5 million year-to-date at this time last year. That's a 16.8 percent decrease.

With the help of volunteers, the city has created a new framework for its community support spending, a relatively small but emotional portion of the city budget that goes toward organizations dedicated to areas such as the arts, human services and the environment. The city doesn't plan to spare the spending from additional cuts this year, but the new process should depoliticize decisions.

"We did request they stay within a 10 percent reduction just like we're requesting for all the departments," interim Finance Director Bob Litzau said.

The city is modeling the new process on the one subsection of community support spending that everyone seems to agree works well: the Human Resource Coalition. The coalition, which is led by Routt County United Way, receives a lump sum allocation from the city and distributes it to various health and human resource organizations in Routt County.

"For years, we've been trying to clean up the community support process," Litzau said. "The thought was if we could set up some committees like the HRC ... that it would be easier not only for the nonprofits but for council."

Resident Nancy Kramer approached the city with a willingness to set up a process, and there are now two more coalitions modeled after the HRC. Instead of reviewing individual budget requests from dozens of organizations, the council now will deal primarily with the three coalitions. The Arts and Culture Coalition, led by Kramer, will include organizations such as the Free Summer Concert Series and Steamboat Springs Arts Council. The Environmental Coalition, led by former United Way Director Mark Andersen, will include organizations such as Yampa Valley Recycles and Yampatika.

"I think the benefits are you probably get a more meaningful allocation of the money," said Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski, who said the HRC has been running like "a finely tuned machine for 10 years now."

The coalitions' memberships will consist of member nonprofit organizations. An allocation committee of residents for each coalition will decide how to divvy up money between the organizations, Andersen said.

"We encourage people to be involved in the process because it is tax dollars," Andersen said.

Hermacinski said members likely will have more expert knowledge of the organizations being funded, while council members may not have historic knowledge of them.

"They can ask the important questions," Hermacinski said.

Litzau and Hermacinski said the council still will have an opportunity to review individual organizations' allocations and make changes if it wants. Also, some organizations - such as Routt County Search and Rescue, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, the city's Fourth of July fireworks display and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association - don't fit into any of the coaltions and still will be individually reviewed.

The Chamber's summer marketing budget is undergoing a separate review of its own, aimed at identifying the appropriate amount of money necessary to effectively market Steamboat's summer offerings.

Litzau said he hopes to give council members their 2010 budget workbooks about three weeks before their all-day budget retreat Oct. 6.

To serve on one of the city's new Community Support Allocation Committees, call Mark Andersen, of the Environmental Coalition, at 846-9355 or Nancy Kramer of the Arts and Culture Coalition at 846-2969. Applications are available at City Hall, 137 10th St., or on the city's Web site at www.steamboatsprings.net. They are due by 5:30 p.m. Sept. 15.

Comments

StopTheBrutalChemtrails 5 years, 3 months ago

How much money would it save if we were to quit adding the toxic substance 'fluoride' to our city water? duh?

http://www.prisonplanet.com/fluoride-linked-to-arthritis-study-shows.html

www.prisonplanet.com/articles/january2008/011508_fluoride_horror.htm

www.prisonplanet.com/cities-states-questioning-wisdom-of-adding-fluoride-chemicals-to-public-water-supplies.html

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StopTheBrutalChemtrails 5 years, 3 months ago

LMAO, "little, if none." brilliant! I can tell abe's been drinking lots of the good Steamboat Springs toxic, fluoridated water.

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StopTheBrutalChemtrails 5 years, 3 months ago

I'd be willing to bet that we pay quite a bit to poison ourselves with toxic fluoride. Anyone know the numbers?

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

The thing that gets government entities into trouble is the tendency to expand personnel. The temptation to perform in house to save money, often results in the same category as empire building. Bureaucrats look to save by performing "in house", with no knowledge of the long range ramifications. Our cities benefits and retirements keep accumulating, as opposed to outsourcing which is a one shot expense. Bureaucrats do not think like one who has to meet a payroll ,and government entities across America are drowning in unfunded mandates. Another reason for this problem is empire building by ambitious employees, looking to increase their own importance. This is almost always disguised by the motive to save money. Lacking the foresight to reduce employees in lean times is equally devastating. Most of the money has to be saved by long range thinking and adhering to these principals. The benefit today will not be very evident. The workforce at large is not compensated like our governments, and to be fair we must all share in the grief.

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JLM 5 years, 3 months ago

Managing an enterprise which is dependent upon a dedicated source of funding is really quite easy.

First, identify the source of funding and predict what is going to change over the next 1, 3 and 5 years. Make multiple scenarios --- high, low and likely. This is the revenue projection and should be done well before any consideration of spending is made. Why? To avoid the tendency to bash revenue projections to fit that tawdry hooker --- "Rosie Scenario".

Second, identify the "core" mission of the organization --- for the City of SBS, it is public safety. Define public safety in all of is encompassing implications --- fire, police, prosecution, etc.

Third, identify everything which is discretionary and therefore not a "core" function. Everything and be brutal. Hell, it's just paperwsork at this stage of the game.

Budget for the core mission first and for the discretionary spending thereafter. Keep the budget decisions discretely separate and prioritized. Spend on the core first and the discretionary thereafter. Strictly follow this discipline.

Within each budget subdivision develop high, low and likely outcomes of services. Be prepared to take some risks and to document them.

Then the hard work starts --- identify everything which can be outsourced on a unitary basis by which I mean things which can pay for themselves as they are provided such as building inspection. How? Hire an outside engineering firm to do building inspections for a fixed fee on an "AS USED" basis.

Identify everything which can be cancelled, consolidated, delayed, postponed, downsized and bought in stages. Use this discipline like a mantra and submit everything to this scrutiny. Everything.

What we measure, we manage.

Then keep score by developing "performance parameters" such as police force expense per capita, crime statistics per thousand of population, etc. and using these performance parameters to guide future decisions. When the population grows, these performance parameters will guide decisions in a definitive manner.

It is hard work but at the end of the day, it's just a bunch of linked spreadsheets which provide the map for making good decisions. Let the numbers guide you and do what is right!

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