Town of Breckenridge considers ending pay raise freeze in 2011
summit daily news
BRECKENRIDGE – The Breckenridge Town Council considered a preliminary budget proposal for 2011 that includes ending a freeze on pay raises for town employees in place for the last two fiscal years.
The proposal would allow for 3 percent merit raises to be awarded in 2011. The council discussed ending the freeze in closed session during a budget retreat held Tuesday, but has not yet decided whether to approve it for next year’s budget.
The Breckenridge Free Ride summer services will be almost completely eliminated under a funding cut in the proposal the council approved.
“They’re going to try it out for (next) summer and see what the public response is,” said Kim DiLallo, spokeswoman for the town.
The proposal also continues a total 22,000 employee hour reduction across all departments and elimination of four-and-a-half positions from the 2009 and 2010 budgets. Most of the hours and positions cut are seasonal, part-time.
The council has not said whether the staffing cuts in next year’s budget will be made through layoffs, restructuring hours and scheduling or attrician.
The proposal presented Tuesday also keeps in place temporary budget cuts first approved when the recession began in 2009, including reduced hours, staff and programs at the Breckenridge Recreational Center and smaller subsidies.
The initial proposal represented an ongoing effort to reduce the town’s spending to match that of 2006 to balance the budget with revenues – down to 2006 levels due to the recession. However, the council approved an additional $80,000 allocation to the public works department to help cover the cost of plowing in the town. There has been a 20 percent increase in the miles of road that need to be plowed in Breckenridge over the last two years due to expansion and development.
“I think this is a matter of public safety,” said Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron. “I’d like to see some sort of an incremental bump where we could just throw a little bit more money at it.”
The allocation was approved in place of additional cuts to the recreation center’s funding, which would mean further reducing the center’s hours.
The council also approved a $1.4 million 2011 capital improvement plan that includes a $125,000 maintenance project on the recreation center. The plan will also fund a $350,000 remodel of Main Street at three intersections on the north side of Breckenridge to slow traffic and increase pedestrian safety.
Projects on the capital improvement plan are funded by income from the real estate transfer tax on a priority basis depending on how much money the tax brings in each year.
A revised version of the proposal reflecting the changes made by the council during Tuesday’s retreat will be presented to the public for review at a first hearing at the town council meeting Nov. 9.
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