Eagle looks to future with 2019 budget. Town plans for growth with new projects | VailDaily.com

Eagle looks to future with 2019 budget. Town plans for growth with new projects

Eagle's community carry-in dinner is one of the events that make the town such a gem.
Daily file photo

EAGLE — The Eagle 20/20 plan outlines all kinds of accomplishments and goals, and the town’s 2019 budget is long a step in that direction.

The town board approved a 2019 budget that projects 3 percent revenue growth, following 8 percent sales tax growth in 2018. On the other hand, Eagle’s 2019 budget projects less revenue from development fees.

The town’s 2019 general fund — the checkbook by which it conducts its day-to-day business — is $6.9 million, a 4 percent increase over last year. The total 2019 budget is $22.7 million.

“The 2019 budget is a balanced approach to revenues and expenditures for all funds,” the town staff said in its final budget presentation.

Needs typically exceed the money available to meet them, the staff said, and the 2019 budget is no different. However, the budget is a “living document” that manages to accomplish the board of trustees’ priorities, and maintains the current level of service.

Two huge projects

Eagle is up to its eyebrows in two massive projects, one for fun and profit, and one because it need it — the river park and the second water treatment plant.

Speaking of water, Eagle’s water use is down 13 percent from a year ago, said Darren Dirksen, the town’s sustainability coordinator.

To accommodate the town’s projected growth, Eagle is spending $27 million to build a second water treatment plant. The town is also adding 1 million-gallon water storage tank.

Projected population growth

Eagle will likely need the extra water and the extra money; the town is poised to grow significantly.

Eagle, a town of around 6,700, has 2,000 housing units either already approved, or in the approval pipeline.

The 500-unit Reserve at Hocket Gulch project appears to be the next on the town’s approval list. Hockett Gulch was annexed into the town in 2018, and starts hearings with the town’s planning board on Feb. 5.

Brue Baukol Capital Partners owns Frost Creek, south of Eagle, and acquired the so-called JHY property from Fred Kummer following its purchase of Adam’s Rib. The name, Reserve at Hockett Gulch, pays homage to its location at the base of Hockett Gulch, Baukol said when the project was announced.

Bruce Hagedorn and his sons Brad and Jesse have Eagle Landing at Brush Creek out of the ground and on the market. It’s 42 townhomes across 12 buildings, ranging from 1,050 to 1,384 square feet with oversize garages. Most of these will sell in the high $300,000 range, Bruce Hagedorn said.

Home rule request

To help the town deal with that growth, Eagle wants to become a home rule city, and will ask its voters to green-light the change from a statutory government to home rule, or self-government.

Town Manager Brandy Reitter said home rule is “modernizing local government,” and provides “flexibility.”

Right now, the town’s government is hindered by the laws and policies of the state government, and has been since the town was founded more than a century ago.

State legislators come and go, but their policies remain, which can be problematic for towns, Reitter said.

So, the town will ask Eagle voters two questions:

1. Should the town go to home rule?

2. Who should be on the charter committee?

Of Colorado’s 271 municipalities, 101 are home rule. Those 101 home rule communities are home to more than 90 percent Colorado’s town residents, Reitter said.

For now, Eagle voters are scheduled to make that decision in 2021.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.