Breckenridge expands budget to aid art, charity and tourism | SummitDaily.com

Breckenridge expands budget to aid art, charity and tourism

Elise Reuter
ereuter@summitdaily.com

Breckenridge approved a resolution to make supplemental approprations to the budget for this year in order to supply $147,000 to the general fund for FIRC and a Welcome Center study.

Just a month into 2016, Breckenridge Town Council approved a resolution to make supplemental appropriations to the budget for the upcoming year. The changes were made in light of new opportunities proposed after the 2016 budget was approved in the fall.

Breckenridge financial services manager Brian Waldes said this was the first time the town had made appropriations so early in the year.

"A lot of things came in," Waldes said, noting proposals by the Family and Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) and Breckenridge Creative Arts came in after the budget was formalized.

Council approved a total of $147,000 in appropriations to the general fund, which will go toward several items including a study of the town's Welcome Center and a new building for FIRC. The $50,000 Welcome Center study was discussed on Jan. 12, with the hope of updating the building with new historical exhibits and determining how to use the space most effectively.

For FIRC, the town will grant $50,000 to help the nonprofit purchase a property to form a new Breckenridge office. At this point, Waldes said they were looking at purchasing the former district attorney's office on Airport Road.

"They asked the town for $25,000. But (councilman) Gary Gallagher suggested $50,000," Waldes said. "We wanted to be able to help them."

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The town also approved a supplemental appropriation of $133,000 to the special projects fund for historical restoration projects and proposed programming by Breckenridge Creative Arts. Around $18,000 will go to the restoration of Lincoln City, a small historic site near the Sally Barber Mine Trail. Assistant town manager Mark Truckey said the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance had previously done a structure assessment to see what improvements could be done to help preserve the remains of the historic town.

The planned WAVE: Water, Light and Sound exhibit received $100,000 in appropriations, with BreckCreate seeking out visual and performance artists related to the three themes for the event in June.

LEASING BACK

The final portion of the budget change included refinancing a 2005 debt at a lower interest rate, saving an estimated $210,000, and creating new certificates of participation to help cover half of the cost of the proposed Huron Landing workforce housing development.

With current interest rates set unusually low, the town was advised to approve the certificates of participation through an emergency ordinance to lock in the current rate.

While the town does have the resources to split the cost of the development with the county outright, at an estimated $4.5 million for the town, Waldes said using the certificates of participation would function as a low-interest loan, allowing the town to maintain the balance of its affordable housing fund.

"We could cover the project up-front with cash, but if we use debt responsibly, we can do more than one project at once," Waldes said.

The 20-year "lease-leaseback" agreement would allow the town to lease the town hall and community center to a trustee, in this case UMB Bank, and the town would be paid the lease rent. Then, the property is leased back to the town, and the trustee is paid back. Waldes said this mechanism is used often by municipalities in light of TABOR restrictions.

The town will still maintain full control of both properties.

"This is one of the advantages — you can do this when your credit rating is high and you have the cash reserves to give your investors confidence," Waldes said. "It's being done in a very responsible way and we believe it's gonna be a huge advantage to the town, because we're going to be able to get houses built."