Steamboat City Council to discuss 2013 budget Tuesday
City officials recommend projecting no gain in sales tax revenue for 2013
August 5, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs city officials on Tuesday night will kick off a discussion about next year’s budget by projecting no gains in sales tax revenue in 2013.
They also will present the Steamboat Springs City Council with a new plan to dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to area nonprofits.
The flat sales tax projection for 2013 is a continuation of Steamboat’s recent track record of conservatively forecasting revenue.
Last year, city staff recommended that council budget for a 2 percent decline in sales tax revenue, but council favored a more conservative projection of a 5 percent decline from its 2011 projection.
According to the city’s finance department, sales tax revenue came in 2.26 percent above the city’s budgeted projection in 2009, 10.51 percent above 2010’s projection and 16.92 percent above 2011’s projection.
At $8.89 million, the city’s current year-to-date sales tax collections are up more than 4 percent from the $8.71 million collected through the first six months of 2011.
When city officials pushed for pay raises for their employees in June, City Manager Jon Roberts prefaced the conversation by claiming Steamboat’s decline in sales tax revenue had "bottomed out."
Also on Tuesday night, Deputy City Manager Deb Hinsvark will update the City Council on proposed changes to the process the city uses each year to fund nonprofits.
The new plan would give City Council more oversight of the process that utilizes the Human Resource, Environmental and Arts & Culture coalitions to award grants that fall under their umbrellas.
Council would be able to ratify committee members selected to vet the requests and create a “score card” the grant committees would use to grade requests.
Starting in 2013, community groups that do not fit into the city’s three coalitions will apply for funding directly to the city department they benefit.
In a memo announcing the changes to the funding system, Hinsvark wrote that the Civil Air Patrol and Routt County Search and Rescue will be funded through the city’s Public Safety Department; Routt County Riders and Bike Town USA will be funded through the Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department; and the Mountain Village Partnership and Yampa Valley Data Partners will be funded through the city manager’s economic development budget.
She added that each request will be discussed by the city’s management team before funding is awarded.
Other agenda highlights
• Council will consider easing fire restrictions in city limits from Stage 2 to Stage 1. Stage 1 restrictions allow charcoal grills and campfires within approved fire grates.
• Council could OK the first reading of a new lease with the Steamboat Springs Arts Council for the group’s use of the city-owned Depot Art Center. According to Tuesday’s agenda packet, the new lease would require the Arts Council, which has inhabited the building since 1972, to pay for all of the building’s utility costs, general repairs and maintenance.
The Arts Council’s future in the century-old train station was uncertain as recently as January, before council voted unanimously not to solicit bids for an operator of the Depot.
• Council will get a first taste of the Urban Land Institute’s recommendations for how to revitalize Yampa Street.
"The panel was very excited and bullish about the opportunities for Yampa Street to become an even better and more attractive amenity for the entire community," City Manager Jon Roberts wrote in a briefing to council.
Last month, a team of volunteer planners with the Urban Land Institute traveled to Steamboat to speak with Yampa Street stakeholders and to come up with an actionable plan that could make the street more pedestrian friendly. Some of the planners’ initial suggestions included restructuring the city’s existing free parking system and adding more access points on the downtown stretch of the Yampa River.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com