Avon readies itself for possible budget cuts | VailDaily.com

Avon readies itself for possible budget cuts

Matt Terrell
Avon, CO Colorado

AVON ” Avon’s keeping the grim-looking financial climate in mind with its 2009 budget, which will go to the Town Council for approval Nov. 11.

The council held a public hearing on the proposed budget Tuesday. The budget reflects a number of cuts and delays to town projects, along with plans to cut the budget another 5 to 10 percent if needed.

Several capital improvement projects have already been delayed to 2010 or later. The town has also deferred hiring two full-time positions. Three new full-time positions are requested in the 2009 budget, but none of these are slated to start at the first of the year, and each new position will be evaluated at that time, town staff says.

Projects delayed at least a year, and their costs, include: Metcalf drainage work, $1 million; Metcalf Road improvements for a pedestrian path to Wildwood, $850,000; Phase two of Metcalf Road improvements for pedestrian path from Wildwood to Wildridge, $1 million; noise berms for I-70 noise, $48,000; West Beaver Creek Boulevard improvements between I-70 and railroad crossing delayed until 2013 for $385,000; and Drainage Master Plan work delayed until 2010 for $250,000.

About $3 million worth of Nottingham Park improvements and $1.2 million worth of recreation trail improvements have been spread out over several years instead of just a few in order to reduce their impacts on the town’s budget.

“These adjustments have already been made,” said Town Manager Larry Brooks. “In addition, the town still has a strategy to reduce the proposed budget by another 5 to 10 percent if necessary.”

These cuts would include things like reducing software purchases, fuel costs, overtime, printing costs, and not buying new equipment. For example, buying a new snow plow at approximately $257,000 may be delayed.

“These type of reductions will be made on a case-by-case, day-by-day basis,” Brooks said. “Just because items are approved in the budget doesn’t mean staff has approval to spend the funds. We’ll be looking carefully at all expenditures in comparison with our revenues.”

To address concerns about how the economy might affect tax increment bond financing and the Main Street project, town staff is meeting with its financial consultants and will be presenting options to the board in late November.

The presentation will include an updated financial model showing the amount of bonds that can be supported without any additional buildout from the Riverfront project and address any issues that may arise if the project is delayed.

Avon’s budget still reflects a modest increase of about 3 percent in sales tax.

“We are not as tourist-based as Vail,” said Scott Wright, assistant town manager of finance.

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