EAGLE - As Eagle hones in on its final numbers for the 2013 budget, a number of community representatives made appeals for town dollars last week.
Eagle is eying a $4.6 million operating budget next year - which is down approximately $200,000 from its 2012 spending plan. The biggest impact was the decision from the town of Gypsum to cease the Costco revenue-sharing agreement in 2013. The agreement dates back six years and splits unencumbered sales tax revenues from the Costco retail block. In 2012, Eagle received approximately $385,000 from the Costco revenue-sharing agreement.
With that revenue source now projected to be zero for 2013, Eagle's operating fund revenues over expenses is projected to drop from $377,000 in 2012 to just $24,000 in 2013. However, Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell has noted that the town has built a healthy fund balance during the past few years, which will help Eagle absorb the revenue share loss. In 2011, the fund balance was $1 million. This year, it is projected at $962,000 and in 2013, it is projected at $782,000.
As the town absorbs the revenue share loss, the 2013 budget anticipates no employee layoffs and no wage increases. But the 2013 spending plan also reflects a large capital project - the Eby Creek Road improvements. Eagle has been stockpiling money for this project for years and will contribute $3 million toward the $17 million roadway improvement plan that includes construction of four roundabouts, imprint to the existing roundabouts, a new pedestrian bridge over Interstate 70 and various landscaping and sidewalk improvements. Construction is slated to begin this summer and completion is scheduled for 2014.
With the big budget decisions finalized previously, Tuesday night was community request night and the public hearing for the overall budget. Four local representatives made appeals for town funding in 2012.
John Bronn, of the Eagle County Historical Society, requested $3,000 for a historic building identification program. Bronn said the local history group would like to place markers on Eagle buildings that would give a brief synopsis of their origins and uses over time.
"We think the signs are attractive enough to be representative of our town," Bronn said. "We think it would serve as a tourist attraction."
Bronn is forming an advisory committee to identify buildings for the project, and when completed, the inventory will include about 30 properties. After discussion, the board agreed to fund the program.
Holli Snyder, of NRC Broadcasting, was also successful with her request for $2,500 for the Free Family Fun Fair at the Eagle River Center. Snyder noted the winter event has been presented since 2007 and brings in an estimated 25,000 people from all over the valley.
The Vail Valley Partnership and the Eagle Air Alliance each received $5,000 donations from the town - approximately half of what the Vail Valley Partnership and the Eagle Air Alliance each requested.
Finally, the Walking Mountains Science Center received a $6,000 donation for programs it presents in Eagle schools.
No one offered comment during the public hearing for the 2013 budget, and the town will formally adopt the spending plan at its Dec. 11 meeting.