Gypsum’s budgetary holding pattern continues
Eagle Valley Enterprise
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado – The holding pattern for Gypsum’s budget continues as the town weathers the country’s economic storm into 2011.
“We are staying very conservative for another year and will continue a hire and wage freeze that started in 2009,” said Jeff Shroll, Gypsum’s town manager.
He added that a couple of town employees left their jobs in 2010 and their positions haven’t been replaced.
In 2009, the town projected about $6.5 million for its 2010 spending plan. Shroll said the total general fund projections for 2011 are $5.9 million, about half a million less than 2010.
In terms of sales tax revenue, Gypsum is seeing about .14 percent less than last year to date.
“We’re pretty much going to collect exactly what we did last year, which is around $3.4 million,” Shroll said.
One of the challenges Gypsum faced this year came with its acquisition of the former Cotton Ranch Golf Club (now Gypsum Creek Golf Club). Problems with the turf and a lot of bad weather days resulted in the town taking a bit of a hit, as it subsidized around $185,000 in operating costs.
“A lot of things came our way with that golf course,” Shroll said. “It’s better than ’09, though, that’s for sure,” he said, referring to the fact that the course wasn’t being used that year and was hurting property values.
The town is building even less than last year and there aren’t any more annexation plans on the horizon, but there are a few projects to keep Gypsum busy in 2011. LEDE Reservoir is one of them.
“LEDE will be the biggest project next year,” Shroll said. “We have a lot of permitting to do but we’re hoping to finish expanding the reservoir.”
Gypsum Town Council voted to build LEDE into a 947-acre-foot reservoir in October, as opposed to a smaller option. Both options presented a funding challenge to the town, which will work on making up a shortfall of $680,000 by 2013, when the reservoir is to be completed.
Another big project for 2011 is the new Gypsum Public Library, which is to be ready next summer. The town is splitting the $1.7 million construction cost with the Eagle Valley Library District in addition to approximately $470,000 in site costs.
Shroll said he thinks Gypsum will see more building in 2011, now that Pauls Group took over the Stratton Flats affordable housing project.
The town plans to sit tight on some other projects, such as a sewer compost system, until officials get a better feel for how Gypsum might expand in the future. And similar to 2010,
Meanwhile, as it did in 2010, the town will keep $2 million in a reserve account – “about twice as much as we usually hold,” Shroll said.
“The Christmas parties are going to be pot-lucks this year,” Shroll added with a chuckle.
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