Eagle lowers its expenses
EAGLE, Colorado – As Eagle shapes its spending plan for the year ahead, austerity is the word that jumps to mind.Relatively speaking of course. The town’s 2010 budget still tops $4 million. However, for 2010, the town is anticipating expenditures of $ 4,789,000 compared to $4,847,000 in 2009.The town is certainly feeling the effects of the downturn in the regional and national economy, said Town Manager Willy Powell. “We are like almost every other private or public entity in this country,” he said. “We have had to lower expenses.”A month-by-month analysis of 2009 sales tax collected in Eagle, which makes up the majority of the town’s general fund, shows revenues consistently dropped between 8 percent and 10 percent. Last year, Eagle budgeted for a flat sales tax year, but the drop necessitated mid-year cost cuts.In June, the town trimmed its non-personnel expenses. But that didn’t prove sufficient. Powell said the only way the town could achieve the needed spending reductions was to lay off three employees – two from the public works department and a building inspector.Powell said the town does not anticipate any additional layoffs in the near future. In addition to the sales tax revenue decline, Eagle has seen an massive drop in fee collection. The fee collection issue relates to the drop in construction in town. Powell noted new construction has been “pitifully low” during 2009.In looking ahead to 2010, the town is again anticipating flat sales tax. Powell noted that assumption carries forward the reduced numbers from 2009.Because there is less money coming in, Eagle will be funding fewer capital projects. The two major capital expenses for next year will be for planning, permitting and engineering for a secondary water treatment plant and completing the planning and engineering for improvements on Eby Creek Road.For Eagle water and wastewater customers, 2010 will see monthly rate increase. Water rates will increase by 5 percent. Wastewater charges will increase from $33 to $36.Members of the Eagle Town Board will continue budget work through October in anticipation of approving a final spending plan in November or December.