Vail to budget carefully for 2010 spending |

Vail to budget carefully for 2010 spending

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –Vail’s sales tax revenues for July are down more than 20 percent from the previous July – one sign that Vail town council members see as reason to budget more conservatively in 2010.

The Vail Town Council talked about the 2010 budget in Tuesday’s work session, a budget some members called too optimistic. The first reading of the 2010 budget is scheduled for Sept. 15.

The town got burned in 2009, said councilman Andy Daly. Council members had to cut portions of the budget throughout the year to make up for lost revenues – something he doesn’t want to do again.

“I think we have to be extremely conservative,” Daly said.

Does the town really need to spend $2.9 million in 2010 for Vail Valley Drive and Mill Creek road reconstructions, asked Mayor Dick Cleveland, who also pointed out expenses for things like widening bike and pedestrian paths as things that could wait.

“Believe me, I’ve spent a good part of my life widening bike and pedestrian paths, but 2010 isn’t the year to do it,” said Cleveland , a longtime member of the ECO Trails board that builds rec paths in the county.

Councilman Mark Gordon agreed the budget should be conservative, but pointed out that there could be some big deals in 2010 that would help save the town money in the long run.

“Saving money on money you don’t have is not really saving money,” said Councilman Farrow Hitt.

Council members agreed to cut out some costs but wanted staff to come back in two weeks with more ideas of which expenses the town wants versus which expenses the town needs.

There’s a fine line with cutting costs though, Gordon said. Red Sandstone Park’s improvements, which are budgeted to cost $439,000, have to live up to a certain standard.

“We just dont want to put in a Costco playground in Red Sandstone Park when so many of our guests rave about the parks we have,” Gordon said.

The improvements are needed for safety reasons, according to the draft budget, but Daly said he guesses $439,000 in improvements would fix more than just safety concerns.

“What are the real essential items for the next four years,” Daly said.

Cleveland said the best thing to do would be to take out expenses from the budget now and add them back later if things turn out better than expected.

“It’s a lot easier to put money back in (to the budget),” Cleveland said.

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