Vail budget restores some cuts – for now
VAIL, Colorado – The town of Vail will spend about $51 million in 2012. The Vail Town Council Tuesday got hung up on less than $150,000.
The council has to pass its annual budget with two votes, and it has to pass with five votes instead of the usual four. Before the first scheduled vote Tuesday, council member Margaret Rogers asked her colleagues to re-visit the town’s contributions to various events and nonprofit groups.
Rogers noted that the town expects to collect sales tax this year more than $800,000 above the amount budgeted. That money usually goes into the town’s reserve fund, which now totals about $20 million. Rogers suggested that the town should put some of that sales tax money into events and programs that bring visitors, and sales tax money, to town.
Rogers was particularly interested in contributing more than the town had planned to the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.
But Mayor Dick Cleveland and council member Kim Newbury objected. Cleveland said it’s long been town policy that contributions to local groups can’t cover their operating costs. Newbury said the town has made cutbacks in its own work force over the last couple of years, and has asked employees to go without raises and pay for more of their benefits. It wouldn’t be fair to town workers to give extra money in contributions before restoring some of what employees have given up, she said.
But other council members went along with the plan, at least in some form. Council member Andy Daly tried twice to put together a compromise that would increase funding for some groups. The first failed, with Rogers voting no because the package didn’t have enough for the gardens.
After more number-juggling, including finding money to repair a water feature at the gardens, council members voted again on a plan that put another $130,000 into events and contributions. That plan passed, 5-2, with Newbury and Cleveland casting dissenting votes.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or email@example.com.