Vail takes ‘scissors’ to budget
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail leaders asked Tuesday for spending in a “conservative” budget proposal to be cut back even further.
The Town Council called for another $900,000 to be slashed from the town’s $51 million budget for next year. Councilman Andy Daly called the nation’s current financial picture “the most devastating financial environment I’ve seen in my lifetime.”
Farrow Hitt, another councilman, agreed with Daly’s stance.
“I don’t think the dust is near settling,” Hitt said of the financial fallout, which continued Tuesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped another 500 points.
Margaret Rogers, a councilwoman, said she didn’t think another $900,000 in cuts was appropriate because spending and revenue forecasts were already conservative.
“If six months from now it turns out we really are in dire straits, I’m certainly not saying I don’t want to go back and relook at it,” she said.
Council members directed the town to deny or reduce funding for organizations such as the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the Valley Home Store and the World Cup Birds of Prey races.
“I’ve got my scissors out today,” Councilwoman Kim Newbury said as the council cut items from the budget.
The budget includes a 6 percent increase in salaries and benefits for town workers to lower turnover rates and keep the town competitive as an employer. But some council members said that may be too much.
Don Cohen, who directs the Valley Home Store, a nonprofit group that seeks to connect homebuyers with affordable homes, was denied the $30,000 that he sought for the group.
“I think in this economic climate, I wouldn’t have expected anything different in today’s meeting,” Cohen said later.
The budget calls for $51 million in revenue for next year, compared to $54 million last year. Sales tax will stay flat, while the town’s real estate tax will bring in 13.7 percent less revenue, the budget says.
Town Manager Stan Zemler had called the latest budget proposal “conservative” in light of the “unpredictable” economy.
The town could approve the budget next month.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or email@example.com.
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