Eagle reining in spending | VailDaily.com

Eagle reining in spending

EAGLE, Colorado “-Like families all across the nation, Eagle is curtailing its spending for 2009.

During September, the Eagle Town Board hashed out the particulars of the 2009 municipal budget during a series of work sessions. The result is a conservative spending plan that focuses attention on long-term planning rather than big-time construction projects.

“It’s the lean, mean budget. There’s not much money to go around,” said Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell. “The 2009 budget is very indicative of how important sales tax is to the town of Eagle.”

Eagle has budgeted a 4 percent increase in revenues for 2009, with sales tax collection targeted to climb between 5 percent and 7 percent. Powell said inflation and high fuel prices will drive the sales tax increase.

In one area, the town has sharply cut revenue projections. During 2007, Eagle collected $564,000 in building permit fees. That number dropped to an estimated $245,000 during 2008. For 2009, Eagle anticipates that trend will continue.

The town’s $13.5 million wastewater treatment plant expansion is now 80 percent completed, but the state-mandated project will cut into the 2009 budget.

The town also will be looking at an increase in property taxes and user fees to help pay off the construction debt. For town residents, that means a $3 per month increase for wastewater service.

“We’re not happy with the increase, but we are forced to do this to keep the wastewater fund solvent with the drop in tap fees,” said Powell.

During the past three years, Eagle has seen several large-scale construction projects completed. Don’t look for more of that during 2009. Last year, Eagle finished the $4.5 million Broadway improvements project in addition starting the sewer plant work. There’s nothing comparable planned in the 2009 budget.

According to Powell, the only significant project included in the 2009 budget is $250,000 for planning of future improvements to Eby Creek Road that could cost roughly $1 million.

The town also may begin planning a second water treatment plant east of the wastewater plant.

Other highlights of the Eagle 2009 budget includ a new police officer to bring the department’s staff up to six officers, improvements to Eby Creek Road and curbside recycling.

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