Eagle Town Council approves 2022 budget | VailDaily.com

Eagle Town Council approves 2022 budget

Here are some highlights of the final version of the town’s budget for the upcoming year

The Eagle Town Council gathers for its first meeting with two newly elected council members, Sarah Parrish (far left) and Nick Sunday (third from right), on Dec. 14.
Kelli Duncan/Vail Daily

The Eagle Town Council unanimously approved the final version of the town’s proposed budget for 2022 after a public hearing on Dec. 14.

In introducing the final proposal, Eagle Town Manager Brandy Reitter said the budget “showcases our priorities as a town and a community.”

The final proposed budget was produced in a time of the town being “short-staffed,” Reitter said, an issue that is set to be addressed in 2022 with funds set aside for eight new full-time employees.

New positions created in the 2022 budget include a school resource officer, a detective, three public works employees, an “administrative technician” for the finance and human resources department, a communications and marketing specialist and an economic development specialist.

The final version of the budget also allocates just over $10.8 million to capital improvements large and small, from $827,850 in street improvements to $50,000 for the first phase of improvements to the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink.

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The town will also put $655,331 in sales tax revenue towards improvements to the Eagle River Park and Brush Creek Park in 2022.

Capital improvements currently are laid out in a five-year capital improvement plan by town staff under the leadership of Reitter. To be increasingly forward-thinking with its budgeting process, the town plans to hire a consultant in 2022 to aid staff in creating a 10-year capital improvement plan.

On the sustainability front, the town will install electric vehicle charging stations at the public works building, Town Hall and the Eagle River Park “to begin the process of converting fleet (vehicles) to electric,” according to the budget.

When it comes to personnel costs, the town will see a 7.5% increase in health care costs after an effort to “enrich health care and retirement plans for employees.”

In 2021, sales tax revenue was up around 18% over 2020 as the town recovered from the economic impact of the start of the pandemic, according to the budget. In 2022, the town has proposed a “conservative” projection of another 6% increase in sales tax revenue, representing an increase of $477,376 over 2021.

Overall revenue in the town’s “general fund” is projected to increase by 5% – $765,907 – over last year for a total of more than $15.8 million.

The town staff was conservative in estimating sales tax increases while creating the 2021 budget, too, which left the town in a good place this year, according to an audit of last year’s budget performed by Glenwood Springs-based accounting firm Maggard & Hood.

The audit was done as part of the budgeting process to look for any red flags that might need to be addressed, a representative from the firm told the Town Council at the Dec. 14 meeting.

“As expected, we didn’t run into any unusual items or have any unusual adjustments that we needed to make during the year,” the representative said.

Overall, the accountant said the town’s actual revenues and expenses followed well with its budget for the past year. Revenue from the local sales tax came in higher than the expectations set out in the 2021 budget, which the firm’s representative said is “a matter of conservative budgeting.”

Grant funds, on the other hand, produced slightly less revenue than anticipated, but the town also cut costs on personnel and “purchase services” or contractors.

Last year, general revenues accounted for 43% of the town’s revenues, which totaled about $9.1 million, according to the audit. The rest of the town’s “program revenues” – namely grants and fees collected for various town-provided services – accounted for the remaining 57%, which last year totaled $11.9 million.

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