A crew works on a water line project Saturday near the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Indian Trails.  The city is beginning work on an estimated $70 million in water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

Photo by Matt Stensland

A crew works on a water line project Saturday near the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Indian Trails. The city is beginning work on an estimated $70 million in water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

Steamboat Springs City Council to address 2011 budget Tuesday

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If you go

What: Meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council to review and discuss the city’s proposed budget for 2011

When: Begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday and continues all day

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Contact: Call the city offices at 970-879-2060 or visit http://steamboats... for more information.

Tuesday’s agenda

8 to 8:30 a.m. Presentation of proposed budget, by City Manager Jon Roberts and Interim Finance Director Deb Hinsvark

8:30 to 10:45 a.m. General fund operations budget

10:45 to 11 a.m. Discussion of fire department consolidation

11 a.m. to noon Six-year capital improvement program

1 to 2 p.m. Budgets for enterprise funds including water, wastewater, Steamboat Springs Airport, Howelsen Hill ski and rodeo, Howelsen Ice Arena, Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, Haymaker Golf Course, Rehder Building and employee housing

2 to 2:30 p.m. Community support allocations

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

3:45 to 4:15 p.m. Internal service fund

4:15 to 4:45 p.m. Review of revisions and amendments, budget wrap-up

4:45 p.m. Resolution opposing Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61, on the ballot this fall; first reading of ordinance that, pending initial approval and approval of second reading later this month, would OK the city’s purchase of 586 acres owned by Lyman Orton on the north side of Emerald Mountain

— City administrators aren’t ruling out the possibility of job cuts in a proposed 2011 budget that again projects decreased sales tax revenues and largely is balanced by debt incurred for water and wastewater projects that will be paid for by higher rates for city customers, beginning next year.

The Steamboat Springs City Council will address next year’s city finances in a daylong public hearing Tuesday in Cen­­tennial Hall. The hearing begins with a presentation, by City Manager Jon Roberts and Interim Finance Director Deb Hins­­vark, of the proposed budget that projects total revenues of about $52 million and total expenditures of about $50.8 million. The revenues include nearly $13 million in debt proceeds for the city’s water and wastewater funds.

Hinsvark said much of the about $1.2 million in total net revenue for the proposed budget can be attributed to water and wastewater debt proceeds that won’t be spent in 2011.

The city is beginning work on an estimated $70 million in water and wastewater infrastructure improvements that will stretch throughout several years and in­crease rates for residential and commer­­cial customers on Jan. 1.

Those infrastructure needs come at a time when the city is faced with its third consecutive year of a projected decrease in sales tax revenues.

The 2011 budget projects sales tax revenue of about $14.5 million, which would be 10 percent less than 2010’s projected sales tax total of about $16.1 million.

That expected decrease would come on top of the 10 percent sales tax decrease budgeted for this year, compared with 2009, and the 18 percent decrease in sales tax revenues budgeted for 2009, compared with 2008.

Roberts said although budget cuts will come across the board, Steamboat residents should not see a significant drop in the city’s customer service.

“We’re bringing in a proposed budget that’s balanced and does not recommend the elimination or reduction of any significant level of services or programs,” Roberts said.

He noted a more ominous fallout of decreasing revenues.

“The reduction has impacted personnel levels and pay levels, and that certainly is going to continue in the 2011 budget proposal,” he said.

Chris Wilson, director of the city’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Depart­ment, indicated that personnel cuts also are on the table for his department, the city’s largest.

“Personnel is and always has been part of the budget process,” Wilson said last week. “There is a personnel adjustment. … Everything was looked at; everything was scrubbed.”

The city also is seeing a decline in revenues from use fees and excise taxes on new development. Those revenues provide funds for the city’s capital improvement program, which Roberts said likely will require a dip into reserves for 2011.

The proposed 2011 capital improvement program budget cites about $4 million in reserves available for non-grant-funded projects next year. The program, which funds projects for nearly every city department, shows available reserves, again for non-grant projects, of about $1.9 million for 2012.

“Our capital improvement program will not be significantly reduced from 2010, but 2012 is clearly going to be a challenge,” Roberts said. “If council approves this capital improvement budget recommendation, most of the money we’ll be spending will be reserve dollars, as opposed to income coming in.”

Emerald purchase

After its budget hearing, the City Council also will conduct the first reading of an ordinance that would approve the city’s potential purchase of 586 acres owned by Lyman Orton on the north side of Emerald Mountain. Proceedings for that purchase likely will continue into 2011 and largely will swing on the results of a Dec. 8 hearing before the Great Outdoors Colorado board of directors, which could allocate $600,000 for the city’s purchase by approving a modification and extension of an existing grant.

Buying the land, which through Orton’s generosity sees heavy use by local hikers and mountain bikers, also is pending City Council approval. The purchase would cost the city about $700,000 up front — if the GOCo grant is approved — and would cost the city as much as $750,000 more during the next five years.

“We’ll certainly talk about what the impact would be,” Roberts said about the potential purchase. “Those monies are not identified in the current capital improvement program that’s being submitted.”


County budget

Routt County administrators also are knee-deep in the 2011 budget process.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners will hold budget work sessions with Routt County Finance Director Dan Strnad from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Monday and 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Work sessions continue from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

All sessions are in the Commiss­ioners Hearing Room on the third floor of the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat Springs.

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