Silverthorne 2016 budget passes first reading
Silverthorne Town Council approved on first reading the town’s 2016 budget at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 11. The majority of the 2016 budget was completed in 2014 as part of the biennial budget process for 2015/2016. Any changes from the previous 2016 estimates are due to potential fluctuations in material costs or changes to capital projects.
The challenge, according to Donna Braun, Silverthorne finance director, is to balance the services provided to residents with the financial resources available.
The 2016 budget projects sales tax revenues to account for 66 percent of the town’s revenue. The town expects to see a 3-percent increase in sales-tax revenue, with the 2015 projection of $9,947,275 budgeted at $10,244,594 in 2016. In recent years, Silverthorne has seen sales-tax revenues increase at even greater rates, for example 10 percent in 2013.
New businesses such as the just-opened Starbucks, along with Dunkin Donuts and Hampton Inn, both slated to open during December, are projected to provide long-term financial benefits.
The latter of these ventures looks to yield strong enough long-term, sales-tax returns and employment opportunities that the business will qualify for a special sales-tax program.
The town has entered into a sales-tax reimbursement agreement with Hotel Silverthorne Partners, LLC, which will operate the about-to-open Hampton Inn. As part of an Enhanced Sales Tax Incentive Program, the town has agreed to a five-year reimbursement agreement that could refund up to $150,000 in sales-tax revenue over that time. If that figure is reached prior to the five-year period, the agreement would terminate early, Braun said.
To qualify for the program, the town has to agree the incoming business will stimulate the town’s economy, provide employment for residents, expand goods or services available and increase the town’s sales-tax revenue.
Silverthorne Town Council has agreed to six ESTIP agreements since the program was established in 2001. Previous recipients include Target in 2001, Lowe’s in 2010, Which Wich in 2013, Murdoch’s and Baker’s Brewery in 2014 and Starbucks in 2015.
Starting in 2012 with the opening of the Lowes Home Improvement Center, Silverthorne began capturing decidedly larger revenue from the sales of construction materials. Bruan noted, prior to Lowes setting up shop, market studies indicted 75 percent of these sales were leaving Summit County.
In 2011, the building retail sales-tax category contributed $887,481 to the budget. In five years, that figure has grown 270 percent to the 2016 estimate of $2,014,268.
With building returned to prerecession levels, Braun said this area should continue to see growth.
The town is also embracing new construction with an $8.6 million performing arts center in the Town Center Area. With ground breaking in 2016, the project is slated for completion in the spring of 2017. The new facility will be home to the Lake Dillon Theatre Company, which will be contributing approximately $2.7 million to the project, Braun said.
With the arts center and several other projects in the works, the town is anticipating issuing $6 million in debt in 2016.
In 1992, Silverthorne undertook debt to fund the recreation center and, in 1998, went in debt to fund the pavilion project along with needed road repairs.
“In both cases, we paid these off early,” Braun said.
Other projects the new debt would finance include completing construction of Segment 6 of the Town trail system, rehabilitation of the Nike bridge, drainage improvements on Warren Avenue, design work for the new Cottonwood public works facility along with park projects, which include reconstruction of the Artic Placer playground area as well as design and construction of the entrance of Rainbow Park.
The occasion to issue debt is not taken lightly, Town Manager Ryan Hyland said, but, with positive financial figures continuing since the recession in 2008, the big picture justified the move.
“Yes, we are confident in the growth in Silverthorne, and we continually work toward addressing our long term goals,” he said. “One of the current goals of the Town Council is to address the community’s strong desire, as expressed in community surveys, for a vibrant and pedestrian oriented downtown, and the construction of the Performing Arts Center provides a solid foundation for a revitalized downtown.”
The council will hold a second reading and final approval on the budget at its meeting on Dec. 9. Copies of the proposed budget are available at Silverthorne Town Hall.
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