Vail expects slightly higher revenue in 2013 |

Vail expects slightly higher revenue in 2013

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – The town of Vail is projecting $20.1 million in sales tax revenue in 2013, a 2 percent increase from the 2012 forecasted amount of $19.7 million.

The Vail Town Council looked at the proposed 2013 General Fund budget Tuesday and the town is expected to vote on a budget ordinance on first reading on Nov. 6.

The budget projects a total of $30.3 million in General Fund revenue, 2.1 percent higher than 2012 and 0.7 percent down from 2011. The town is required to submit a balanced budget, thus its expenditures for 2013 are also $30.3 million, most of which relates to staffing.

The proposed budget would leave the town’s reserve fund balance at $21.6 million by the end of 2013, which is 71 percent of annual revenue. The town standard for its general fund reserve balance is to keep it at a minimum of 25 percent of annual revenue, which would equal roughly $7 million, said Vail Finance Director Judy Camp.

The town is expecting property tax collections at $4.2 million, based on a recent report from the county assessor’s office. Other notable revenues include parking, at $3.8 million, which is flat with 2012, and 4.6 percent less than 2011; the lift tax, projected flat with 2012 at $3.5 million and down 1.1 percent from 2011; and construction permit fees of $1.3 million, a 10 percent increase from 2012.

Council members debated so-called council contributions line item by line item, with many members disagreeing on the town’s reasoning for keeping those expenses flat with the 2012 budget.

Councilwoman Susie Tjossem questioned why those contributions wouldn’t at least be increased for inflation, and Councilwoman Margaret Rogers agreed and took it a step further by saying she thinks the contributions to special events should be significantly increased. These contributions are separate from the town’s Commission on Special Events budget.

Councilwoman Kerry Donovan said she didn’t think the town’s contributions were making or breaking the events, noting that the town’s funding is only a small part of each event producers’ overall operating budgets.

Councilman Kevin Foley said the town has higher priorities right now, such as the refinancing of Timber Ridge and the financing of the municipal building project.

“We’d love to be everybody’s Santa Claus, but we can’t be,” he said.

The council discussed many unknowns, such as details about the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, a 30-year-old event that will take place in Vail for the first time next February. Highline Sports and Entertainment, the event producer, is requesting $500,000 from the town of Vail for that event. Also, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is an event the town can’t fund until it knows if the event will return to Vail and at what level (a time trial versus a stage start or finish). The council agrees that a time trial is preferred, although Rogers noted that she thought the race organizers have said Denver will be the permanent home of the time trial.

“I wouldn’t rule out any possibilities at this point,” Town Manager Stan Zemler said.

The town will discuss its contributions, including other portions of the 2013 budget, at its next meeting on Nov. 6.

Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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