Silverthorne: A ‘dull budget’ for 2011
summit daily news
SILVERTHORNE – We may be heading into 2011, but the Town of Silverthorne is thinking 2006 revenue levels for budgeting purposes.
The town’s budget is up for final approval at Wednesday’s 6 p.m. meeting, after its initial approval last week.
2011 will be the third year the town is operating at lower levels than 2007, said Donna Braun, Silverthorne director of finance and administrative services. Nonetheless, officials touted maintaining a conservative budget, maintaining services and being debt-free despite the downturn.
In 2009, officials anticipated a shortfall in sales tax revenue – which is what the town’s budget is based on. The 2009 general fund budget was reduced by $1 million and it carried over into 2010. The 2011 budget anticipates a 2.1 percent increase in expenditures matched by a 2.6 percent projected increase in revenues.
Though the budget remains flat, what was once a cushion of reserve money has turned into something more like a piece of plywood. The expenditures to revenue difference sits at nearly $19,000, as compared to more than $1 million in 2007. But the town’s five-year outlook continues to grow that number each year. Officials try to look ahead five years for operations and 10 years for the capital budget, which is fed by lodging tax and enterprise funds.
“I’m just glad that, when the wheels fell off, we still had a wagon,” Silverthorne Mayor Dave Koop said.
Because revenue levels for 2011 are projected to be the on par with 2006 figures, the budget remains very consistent and conservative, Silverthorne town manager Kevin Batchelder said. That translates to no cost-of-living increases or merit raises for town employees. It also means no new positions and that five vacant slots will remain unfilled – including one position that was laid off last year. Overtime limits, a ban on out-of-state travel and limitations on education and training for employees remain in place.
It also means budgets for town utilities – the water, sewer and joint sewer authority funds – remain largely the same, with the exception of “small rate increases proposed to support capital planning and investment,” Batchelder said.
The capital improvement fund remains strong because of the dedicated funding stream put in place by voters in the early 2000s. Sixty percent of the town’s 2 percent sales tax goes into maintaining facilities and equipment.
Braun said progressing the Blue River Trail recpath is on the docket for next year, as is $500,000 for roadwork between Highway 9 at Wendy’s to the Wildernest Bridge. Old Dillon Reservoir work has a dedicated $600,000, and $716,000 is dedicated to smaller projects throughout the town, such as skylights in the Silverthorne Recreation Center, Braun said.
“Maintaining an asset-management plan is extremely important,” Town Councilwoman Ann-Marie Sandquist said. “That lowers our costs in the future.”
Batchelder said the town is in “good financial shape” in the face of sales tax revenue dependence and fluctuations.
“The proposed 2011/2012 budget is conservative relative to our expectations and is consistent with our written, prescribed financial policies,” Batchelder said. “We have scrutinized all our operations for continued efficiencies and our need to be flexible, while still providing a high level of town services to the community.”
To comment on the budget, contact Donna Braun at (970) 262-7303 or at donna.braun@
silverthorne.org or attend Wednesday’s public hearing during the regular 6 p.m. meeting at the Silverthorne Town Hall.
SDN reporter Janice Kurbjun can be contacted at (970) 668-4630 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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