Mac Carmony launches out of the bowl Monday at Bear River Skatepark on the city’s west side. The city is projecting about $2 million in excess sales tax revenues this year, and one possible use of the funds is $135,000 for a much-requested access road to the park. The allocations, though, will be subject to future City Council decisions.

Photo by John F. Russell

Mac Carmony launches out of the bowl Monday at Bear River Skatepark on the city’s west side. The city is projecting about $2 million in excess sales tax revenues this year, and one possible use of the funds is $135,000 for a much-requested access road to the park. The allocations, though, will be subject to future City Council decisions.

Steamboat Springs expects $2M surplus from tax revenues

Additional funds could fulfill unmet community support, deferred capital projects

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Signs warn skateboarders that there is no access to the Bear River Skatepark using Lagoon Court. The city is projecting about $2 million in excess sales tax revenues this year and one possible use of the funds is $135,000 for a much-requested access road to the park. The allocations, though, will be subject to future City Council decisions.

Past Event

Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

  • Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 5 p.m.
  • Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— The city is projecting more than $2 million in surplus sales tax revenues this year and could allocate much of the money to numerous community groups, local events and deferred maintenance projects.

City Finance Director Deb Hinsvark prepared an analysis of the city’s first quarter 2011 finances, which she’ll present to Steamboat Springs City Council tonight in Centennial Hall.

The document includes an assessment of sales tax revenues this year and a detailed list of numerous potential allocations, which include $75,000 for Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association marketing, more than $20,000 for Routt County Search and Rescue, $60,000 for the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, more than $100,000 for bike and pedestrian signage and lane striping, $135,000 for an access road to Bear River Skatepark on the city’s west side, and more.

All the allocations are subject to future City Council decisions and simply are a recommendation from Hinsvark, who could not be reached Monday for comment. But City Manager Jon Roberts said Hinsvark’s projections are more than optimistic speculation.

“She has great confidence in the numbers. Those numbers assume that after last month, from here forward, our (sales tax) revenues stay flat with last year,” Roberts said. “She thinks there’s a good chance that our revenues will be higher than what’s reflected in that report.”

The city budgeted for a 10 percent decrease in sales tax revenues this year, compared with 2010, copying the conservative strategy also used a year ago.

The city finished 2010 with about 1 percent less total sales tax revenue than 2009, a figure that was well within the budgeted 10 percent decrease last year and — like projections for 2011 — resulted in excess revenues.

March sales tax revenues were 8.6 percent greater than revenues in March 2010 and put the city in the black year-to-date, at 2.4 percent above total collections for the first three months of 2010. Those results likely contributed to Hinsvark’s projections for the rest of 2011.

Many of the recommended allocations for excess revenues this year would go to local groups that made requests the city was not able to fully meet during its budgeting process last fall.

“What we had told those groups was that if funding became available, we would take their funding to requested amounts,” Roberts said.

The recommendation includes nearly $20,000 for Routt County Riders, for example, and $5,000 for the city’s Fourth of July fireworks.

Other allocations would go toward unexpected expenses that have arisen so far in 2011. Hinsvark recommends $195,000, for example, to compensate for increasing fuel costs and increased fuel usage for snowplows and other city equipment during the big-snow winter.

A “High-Water Initiative” could receive $63,000, including equipment and staffing to deal with flooding and runoff-related damage, such as the recent mudslides and repairs on River Road.

The projected extra revenue comes as the city is undertaking massive water and wastewater infrastructure projects, and has received criticism from some property owners burdened by tap fee increases implemented Jan. 1.

Roberts said water and wastewater funds, though, are enterprise — or self-sustaining — funds that receive revenue from utility bills and tap fees, and are separate from the city’s sales-tax-fueled general fund.

Roberts said removal of furloughs for city employees also is not mentioned in the report because such a removal would involve long-term, multiyear costs.

“The economy appears to have turned around enough where Deb (Hinsvark) and I feel comfortable approving one-time expenditures,” Roberts said. “We’re not comfortable with recommending expenditures that would carry on past the end of the year.”

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or email mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Chad Fleischer 3 years, 4 months ago

I think the above story showcases to our community just how poorly the funds from sales tax revenues are allocated. We are far from out of a recovery in this economy and it is still time to do less with more. What about allocating a few thousand dollars for the bike path that goes from Staples to Mnt Werner Rd? Its been gravel for 8 years and with the way the bike path is designed the main path is closed half the summer anyway because of high water. We are supposedly calling ourselves Bike Town USA?

What ever happened to saving money and also spending it where it is needed and best utilized? I think the City Council should go back and review the situation we were in 12, 18 and 24 months ago and make decisions that make sense not decisions based on people who were fat and happy and suddenly stopped getting fed by the gravy train. Would everyone please read the above expenditures carefully one more time and think about where the money is going and how you personally or this community is benefiting from those expenditures. This is a classic case of government deciding to spend money because money exists not because the allocations or the projects make sense. What about the Fly Steamboat program?
I ask that City Council steps up here and gets in the way to ensure funds are: 1. Saved 2. Allocated where they best serve the needs of the community as a whole and to promote future tax spending by tourists in the future.

Pay down some debt would you. It is time to step up and be fiscally responsible and proactive with a healthy balance sheet. You guys fired a lot of people, furloughed staff and closed on Fridays which made my life and many others trying to actually get work done a pain in the butt and now I have to sit here and read this? Are you kidding me? Us?

Stop the lunacy and think before you spend/allocate. The City is already building a small summer ski jump we have to pay for that will be used less than 14 days per year at a cost of 1.25 million dollars.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Starting an $11.9 million sewer line, the tip of a $70 million iceberg of water and wastewater projects that are the reason (so called) for increased tap fees, Iron Horse debt, underfunded (according to many in the administration) schools, crumbling streets, etc.????

In light of the above I think it is misleading and borderline deliberate deception to call anything a SURPLUS, especially a mere $2million.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

You are lost in the desert. You have no water. Suddenly you find 1 quart of water. Since you can survive for the next five minutes without it you call it a SURPLUS?

"Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad".

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cindy constantine 3 years, 4 months ago

Gee, I guess it does not matter that foreclosures are still at a record pace in Routt County or that businesses are still closing downtown, with more available space than I can remember in a decade. Or that our river may be high all summer preventing those businesses that rent inner tubes from making a living this summer. How about the sports fields that we count on for summer events that are in the flood plain? Since when does one month make a "trend" Jan and Feb sales tax numbers were actually down except for one time payments which were never fully explained. Gee, I guess none of that matters since we were actually up one month of the quarter. Get a grip CC and save our money for NECESSARY expenditures.

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pitpoodle 3 years, 4 months ago

Listen up City Council. Cindy is absolutely right. Save our money for necessary expenditures. Just because you promised to give it away, if you ever got it, you don't need to keep that really dumb promise.

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addlip2U 3 years, 4 months ago

Spend,spend, spend....let's just concentrate on what IS NEEDED and save the rest. That is NOT how you run OUR finances :(

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exduffer 3 years, 4 months ago

Or maybe, those bathrooms that have been promised for years at Little Toots park.

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JLM 3 years, 4 months ago

The thought process betrayed by this article is cause for alarm.

Like a recovering alcoholic the leadership of the city of SBS thinks it can take just a dram of that old elixir of overspending and it will come to naught.

Save the damn money and pay off some debt, foolish persons.

We ain't out of the woods yet, folks.

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