Eagle contemplates tight spending for 2015
With flat sales tax revenues in 2014 and limited new building on the horizon, the town of Eagle is planning a tight budget for the year ahead.
General fund spending, which covers the town’s operations is anticipated to hit $3.7 million next year.
“The town board is really going to have to weigh needs that we haven’t addressed for some time,” said Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney. “This is a budget where choices are gone, but needs remain.”
“‘We are proposing to dip into fund balances for capital improvements and equipment to replace things we haven’t funded since the recession,” said Stavney. “You can count on one hand the pieces of equipment the town has purchased since 2008. But if you want the streets plowed and cleaned, you aren’t going to be able to provide those services with aging equipment that breaks down.”
The new equipment list proposed for 2015 includes a new Bobcat for both mowing and snow removal, a new snow plow and a new street sweeper. The cost of those three items, and other equipment replacement will total $531,0000.
The town has also earmarked $40,000 for a long-term pavement replacement project. Stavney noted the town estimates it would actually need as much as $200,000 annually to adequately fund pavement replacement communitywide, but the $40,000 amount is what the town can afford at present.
Resurfacing and improvements of the Bull Pasture path have been included in the budget for $180,000 but other capital projects such as a permanent variable message board at the former Swallow Oil property at the north end of Broadway have been cut.
As they work through the 2015 spending plan, members of the Eagle Town Board are contemplating a 3.2 percent merit pay pool for employee raises. The increases would not necessarily be applied across the board but would be at the discretion of department managers. The last time the town included pay raises was in 2012.
“During the past six years, the town staff has only seen one 3 percent cost of living raise,” said Stavney.
The only other change in staffing for the town is a proposal to increase funding for the Marketing and Events Coordinator to 40 hours per week from the former level of 24 hours per week. Additionally, the proposal calls to fund the position from the town’s general fund rather than the town’s marketing fund (which is in turn funded by a $2 per room, per night lodging occupation tax). The impact to the general fund would be $85,000 to cover both salary and benefits.
The public hearing for the Eagle 2015 budget was held Tuesday night and final adoption is slated for Dec. 9. The town board will continue discussion of the budget during a work session planned Tuesday, Nov. 18.
Tuesday night representatives from various organizations made their pitches for community request funding from Eagle. The town has budgeted a total of $50,000 for community request grants in 2015, and of that amount, long-standing Eagle events including Flight Days ($9,500), ShowDown Town ($14,000) and July 4 fireworks ($10,000) have requested $33,500. So with $16,500 presumably remaining, Tuesday night the town board was hit with more than $66,000 in requests including:
Vail Valley Partnership — $5,000
Momentum Trail Concepts Ride Center Designation — $10,000
Walking Mountains Science Center Zero Waste services — $7,549
EAG Air Alliance — $10,000
2015 World Alpine Ski Championships — $38,000 plus up to $15,000 in kind
Representatives from the various entities made their respective cases for funding, touting what they could bring to the town. Board members did not pledge dollars Tuesday night, noting that they would take the requests under consideration as they prepared for next Tuesday’s budget work session.
Funding requests that vastly exceed funds available is not a new phenomenon for the board. Last year community request funding totalled $136,000 and the town only allocated $50,200.
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