Town of Dillon budgets for status quo
DILLON – The town of Dillon is considering a $6.49 million budget for fiscal year 2005 that projects hiring another full-time person to assist with events and adapting the marina for operations in low reservoir water levels.Spending is planned at a modest 1.08 percent increase over the estimated year-end spending in the current budget. The town is part way through budget planning with several work sessions and council meetings ahead still offering opportunity for public comment.Town manager Jack Benson said he anticipates revenues will be flat during the coming year, based in part on a sober assessment of the larger economic picture.”At best, the national economy is questionable and the issues of global terrorism, Middle East war and lost job opportunities continue to plague recovery efforts,” Benson wrote in an Oct. 1 draft budget report. “From a local perspective, our tourism economy is essentially flat. Given the realities of a slow growth fiscal environment, the town’s budgeting strategy will be one of caution optimism.”Benson said several new businesses coming online in Dillon could potentially boost sales tax revenues by as much as 4 percent, significant since the town relies heavily on sales tax, accounting for 54 percent of the town’s revenue. Property, lodging and other taxes generate 13 percent, utility revenues, 13 percent. The Dillon Marina also generates a big chunk of money for the town – 13 percent when seen as part of the total revenue stream, but those dollars stay in a special marina enterprise fund, Benson said.At an Oct. 12 town council work session, marina chief Bob Evans said he will focus capital expenditures on making sure the marina can operate even if reservoir levels fluctuate dramatically, potentially requiring new docks and extensions, for example.The biggest change in this budget is the switch to a two-year budgeting cycle, Benson said. The shift will give staff an off-year during which it will have more time to provide services to the public, Benson wrote in a budget memo, explaining that the town council will still appropriate the funds on an annual basis.Benson said a significant portion of the capital budget is targeted at improving and rebuilding roads. Work on the town’s landmark entrance projects will also continue, he added.Water customers may be facing a small fee increase, Benson said, with some of the money targeted at studying water supply issues for the town, including an alternative water supply study. In 2005, the town also plans a “firm-yield” study of Straight Creek to try and get a definitive answer as to how much water will be needed from other sources to meet demand at build-out.The town will add the equivalent of one full-time staff position, with part of that time aimed at helping manage a growing events calendar, including another barbecue event and potentially another Fourth of July National Repertory Orchestra concert at the amphitheater. The new position will also enable Dillon to address some deferred planning, Benson said.The draft budget report shows a 7.14 ($40,000) percent increase in general administration costs due to normal salary increases and skyrocketing insurance costs. The town will spend 18.4 percent more ($18,000) for planning and engineering. Marketing expenses will increase 23.4 percent ($42,610) due to that additional salary allocated for the BBQ at the Summit and the End of Summer Celebration.Summarizing, Benson wrote that the town will be able to catch up on some deferred spending as the economic downturn abates. “If the trend continues, we should be able to pursue necessary capital spending to improve the town’s image and marketability, along with adjustments to our operating budgets,” he said.Bob Berwyn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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