Council wrapping up work sessions
Like most local government entities, the Crested Butte town Council is going over the 2015 budget. Councilpeople have dedicated several work sessions to the number crunching, and they hope to have a final draft by the next council meeting.
Highlights of the process this year so far include spending $1.2 million from reserves from the various fund balances that incorporate the general fund, the capital fund, the transportation fund, the affordable housing budget and the open space fund.
The council is leaning toward increasing tap fees in town from $17,000 to $17,500 and monthly sewer service fees will go up a buck to $33 per month.
In the general fund, the town is ready to bring on two new staff positions. One will be a mechanic, while the other will conduct building maintenance. Staff raises will range from 2 percent to 10 percent in next year’s budget. The recreation department summer intern position will be expanded to include spring and fall.
$6,000 has been allocated for another countywide economic development study and initiative. $30,000 is budgeted for a water attorney to work through the town’s water rights situation.
The town is awarding some 20 grants as part of the budget. They range from $750 for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center and its Avalanche Awareness Night, to $4,000 awards for the Butte Bucks program, the new West Elk Hockey Association and the West Elk Soccer Association.
The council will fund the summer bus to Gothic as part of the grant process. Last year the town donated $2,000 for the bus. The debate is whether the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory should help pay for the bus that largely serves people coming up to participate in RMBL programs, or whether it was worth it for the town to help ease traffic congestion on Gothic Road. The council ultimately agreed to a $2,000 contribution from the town transportation fund but don’t want to see that request every year.
Councilman Jim Schmidt also questioned the continued contribution for the early-winter Butte Bucks program sponsored by the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce. While $4,000 is earmarked for the program for this winter, Schmidt said a more long-term discussion needs to be held. The council will get a review of the program this winter.
Also as part of the budget, the council is considering putting in infrastructure to the affordable housing blocks 79 and 80 that are located on the northeast side of town. The town is looking for a DOLA (Colorado Department of Local Affairs) grant to help defray the $550,000 estimated costs. If successful, the completion of the infrastructure would allow 61 units of affordable housing to ultimately be built.
Budget discussions will take place at the Monday, November 17 council meeting.