Avon’s financial horizon remains gloomy | VailDaily.com

Avon’s financial horizon remains gloomy

Matt Zalaznick

A budget shortfall of $678,000 is now projected for 2002 because the town’s sales tax collections are down 5.5 percent so far this year compared to 2001, Avon Finance Scott Wright said.

“This incident is not isolated to Avon,” Town Manager Bill Efting added. “This is the whole state of Colorado. As a state we’re somewhere around 10 percent down, and you don’t know how long this is going to last.

“Nobody expected September 11 to happen and we haven’t been through a drought like this.”

Town officials began discussing potential spending cuts this week. One potential cut is town employees’ raises – there may not be any, Efting said at the work session.

“It’s not a good thing for keeping employees, but you can do it for a year,” Efting said. “These are slippery slopes.”

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The town will also cut spending on non-essential services, such as special events and some after school programs. The town wants to save money for services like snowplows, maintenance and police.

“We’re trying to look at things we can do without,” Efting said. “Seven years ago we used to have the only Easter egg hunt in the area. Now every town has one.”

Council members also said spending would be cut.

“What we are heading toward is a bare-bones budget,” Councilman Mike Brown says.

Council members will revisit their spending plan in February, when they begin gaging the success of ski season. Mayor Judy Yoder, who isn’t running for reelection in November and won’t be council then, said she thinks that’s a good idea.

“It’ll probably be a pleasant surprise,” Yoder said.

But looming over the local economy are –hopefully –stormy winter skies, she said.

“Snow would be a big plus,” she said.

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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