Breckenridge Town Council takes look at 2018 budget
September 9, 2017
The Breckenridge Town Council will begin crafting its 2018 budget on Tuesday with a list of proposed capital projects that offer a glimpse into what residents might expect in the near future and some of the choices council will have to make.
Tuesday's budget retreat is expected to be an almost seven-hour marathon work session for town council, and the agenda calls for deliberations on the proposed budget to begin at noon and wrap up right before council's regular meeting at 7 that night.
Most basically, the town's budget can be broken down into two key components, operating expenses and capital projects. Operating expenses cover day-to-day costs — think police and snow plows — while the capital fund, which comes from the town's excise fund, is generally used to pay for one-time expenses like new construction.
It should be noted the proposed budget is only a working draft, and what survives and what doesn't remains to be seen.
Rec in Breck
Altogether, the Breckenridge Recreation Department is seeking $1.9 million for capital projects in 2018. However, one of the listed projects is also lumped into a new green category, and only $1.3 million of the aforementioned total is expected to come out of the capital fund.
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The lion's share of the money — more than $1.6 million — would go toward developing Oxbow Park, adjacent to the Denison Placer housing projects. According to the proposed budget, the town has already been awarded a $350,000 grant for the new park and will be reimbursed upon completion of the project.
The proposed construction work at Oxbow Park includes new infrastructure such as restrooms with water and sewer connections, a new path and a bridge connection to an existing recreation path, in addition to some play features.
Additionally, the rec department is seeking $100,000 to replace a 25-year-old outdoor hot tub and replace indoor water features.
There's another $150,000 in the proposed budget for new indoor lights at the ice rink, an upgrade that's directly linked to the town's goal of having all its facilities powered by 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025.
The rec department's wish list for 2018 also looks to throw some shade on the skate park — but not in the way some might think — as the proposed budget includes $70,000 for a new shade structure there.
The structure would give people who use the park a nice place to get out of the sun, rain or whatever weather conditions there might be that day, according to the budget, while still being able to keep close eyes on the skate park, a nearby playground and the recreation center's turf field.
Traffic, roads and a water plant
Breckenridge Public Works is seeking $2.8 million for a host of projects, including $850,000 for roadway resurfacing, $950,000 for roadway improvements at the McCain Property and $500,000 to rebuild the Ski Hill wall.
Other projects the department would like to secure funding for next year are the South Barton drainage design ($150,000), a fence for the rec center's parking lot ($100,000) and a Carriage House remodel ($300,000).
Down the road, the department is looking to spend $5.5 million to put a lobby in at the Riverwalk Center, but that request is not included in the list for 2018 and instead is scheduled to come before council in 2021.
Additionally, the proposed budget calls for more than $1 million in parking and transportation projects. Among them are new transit stop shelters and pedestrian improvements at Four O'clock Road, Village Road and the F-lot parking area.
The proposed expenditure for a new parking structure — which town council recently decided to pursue at the Tiger Dredge parking lot — is only listed with a question mark in place of the expected cost. Still, it's in the 2018 column of the five-year plan, and design work is underway.
Boosting the parking and transportation funding is the lift tax passed by voters in November 2015. The proposed budget forecasts revenue from the tax on lift tickets to come in at $3.5 million in 2018 and increase by about $70,000 per year over the next five years, putting the total contributed to town coffers at about $18.5 million over the next five years.
Councilman Mike Dudick has said that money could give the town a bonding potential as high as $70 million for parking and transportation upgrades.
Still, the biggest capital project the town is expected to pursue in 2018 is the construction of a new water treatment plant, which will cost upward of $50 million and be paid for largely by a loan.
Going green for 2018
A town-created task force that produced a road map for powering Breckenridge with 100 percent renewable electricity but struggled to get the resolutions it wanted from council this summer can take some satisfaction in this budget proposal.
The biggest problem for the council that generally supports green initiatives was committing to dual resolutions without more information on a clear path for achieving those goals.
As council was weighing the proposed energy resolutions, the task force was sent back to work on the proposal, and they returned with more information.
Ultimately, council wouldn't support one of the resolutions committing the entire town to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035, but council did pass the other resolution of having all town facilities powered this way by 2025 after changing the word "commitment" to "goal."
While the task force couldn't get both of the resolutions it wanted, its members have gotten some money for the effort in the proposed 2018 budget and even more funding for the effort in the five-year capital plan.
In that plan, the town is looking to commit $330,000 to those expenditures this year. This includes the aforementioned lighting upgrades at the ice rink, with another $150,000 for new LED lights at the town's ball field. The proposed budget also calls for $50,000 for a solar connect purchase and the five-year plan forecasts Breckenridge spending just under $1 million total between 2018 and 2022.
Town council meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. The complete budget proposal can be found on the town's website.
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