Vail budget called conservative |

Vail budget called conservative

VAIL, Colorado ” The proposal for next year’s $51 million Vail budget calls for less revenue and no new staff.

“Given the unpredictable economy, we’ve taken a conservative approach in our budgeting process,” Zemler said in a press release.

Vail predicts $51 million in revenue for 2009, compared to $54 million for 2008. Sales tax ” the town’s biggest source of revenue ” will stay flat, the town says, while real-estate transfer tax ” the second-biggest source ” will be down 13.7 percent.

Still, the town’s General Fund reserve is at its highest level ever, at $22 million, Zemler said.

The budget includes:

– $500,000 for “buying down” units as worker housing.

– $500,000 for “equity loans” to town employees to help them buy housing.

– $180,000 for new “variable message” signs for the frontage road.

– $2.2 million for road rebuilding.

– $2.3 million for recreation paths.

– $255,000 for environmental programs such as recycling ” including a potential plan for curbside recycling.

– $75,000 for “green” land use regulations.

– $4.4 million for improvements for town-owned Vail Recreation District properties.

– $150,000 to maintain new delivery bays in Vail Village and Lionshead.

– $125,000 for new snowmelt in Lionshead.

The budget calls for a 13 percent increase in the price of fuel. Staffing is set to remain at 300 “full-time equivalents.”

The town also expects 11 percent more parking and transportation revenue due to increases in parking rates.

If revenues don’t meet expectations, the town could reduce its balance fund, defer “capital” projects, get rid of short-term workers or contractors, reduce contributions to outside groups or reduce bus schedules or other services.

Mayor Dick Cleveland said he agrees it’s time for Vail to take a conservative approach to spending in the face of a troubled economy.

“Nobody know what’s going to happen,” Cleveland said. “I don’t think we’ve ever faced anything that has such an uncertain future.”

Cleveland said Vail will cut spending but will make sure cuts don’t negatively affect the “experience” of visiting Vail.

“We will make sure that we don’t affect the ability to provide the services that people who come to Vail expect,” he said.

The Town Council will consider the budget at its meeting today and could approve the budget next month.

To see the proposed budget, go to

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

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