Vail Recreation District to approve 2016 budget
VAIL —The Vail Recreation District Board of Directors will review and approve the district’s 2016 budget today. The budget discussion will take place during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in the Vail Town Council chambers.
Executive Director Mike Ortiz says the 2016 budget shows the district’s continued commitment to providing affordable learning programs and athletic opportunities for Vail’s residents, guests and those living in adjacent communities, while placing an emphasis on hiring and retaining qualified staff.
The proposed $6.7 million budget for 2016 will be funded from a combination of property tax collections of $3.1 million, program user fees revenues of $2.9 million and the use of $700,000 in accumulated reserves. The larger than normal capital budget for 2016 — $1.1 million — contains funding for a new fleet of golf carts at the Vail Golf Club, driving range tee improvements and money to plan for the design of a remodeled starter facility to more closely match the new Vail Golf clubhouse and Nordic Center facility. Remaining capital items include routine vehicle and equipment replacements and other necessary upkeep items for facilities and equipment.
The valuations for taxes collected in 2016 are based on the start of the real estate market rebound from sales occurring from January 2013 to June 2014. The district’s property tax mill levy accounts for approximately 7 percent of total taxes paid by an average Vail taxpayer. These property taxes account for approximately 52 percent of the district’s revenues, with the other 48 percent coming from user fees and other sources.
Ortiz said many of the reductions instituted in prior years have been carried forward to put as much of the property tax revenues as possible into much needed capital projects. The 2016 budget includes maintaining a fund balance of $2.25 million, $750,000 of which is earmarked for 2017 capital projects, but this still leaves the district with a shortfall in capital funding for 2017.
According to Eric Weaver, district finance director and principal of Marchetti & Weaver LLC, in order to fund the shortfall for capital expenditures, the district is researching and discussing a combination of options that could include a ballot measure to increase taxes, increases in user fees, leaving projects unfunded and/or a decrease in programming.
In 2015, district operations were supported by 17 full-time equivalent positions, five full-time hourly staff, plus more than 100 seasonal staff during summer for golf operations, youth summer camps and sports events. The budget also proposes a maximum 3 percent performance-based merit increase for salaried staff and pay increases for hourly staff in most departments.
The Vail Recreation District is separate from the town of Vail, operating its programs in and on town-owned facilities and land. The district operates programs at the Vail Golf Club, Vail Tennis Center, Dobson Ice Arena, Vail Gymnastics Center, Vail Nature Center, Vail Nordic Center, Vail’s Imagination Station, Vail’s Community Programming Room and intramural sports, special events and children’s camps. The Vail Recreation District Board of Directors meets at 5 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month in the Vail Town Council chambers. Public comments and input are welcome at the meetings. To sign up to receive information on upcoming board meetings and all other news, go to http://www.vailrec.com.