Craig City Council continues work on 2016 budget | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig City Council continues work on 2016 budget

Patrick Kelly

Craig City Council hears concerns from Northwest Colorado Center for Independence representatives regarding its services and ease of accessibility for Craig's disabled residents at its Tuesday meeting.

Craig City Council continued to discuss details of the city's 2016 budget at its bi-monthly meeting Tuesday night.

As it currently stands, the draft budget anticipates $8.23 million in revenue and $9.68 million in total expenditures.

The city expects to start 2016 with $4.17 million in total reserves, which will be tapped to account for the difference — slightly more than $1.44 million — in expected revenue.

Jim Ferree, city manager, said the council strives to retain 25 percent of projected expenditures in reserve, and the city is $300,000 above that goal for 2016.

"That's minimum," Ferree said, explaining the 25 percent figure is set to account for three months of operating costs.

However, in their discussion, councilmembers noted that Craig cannot continue to count on cutting expenditures to sustain its budget and the city needs to look for ways to increase revenue.

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"We're continuing to reduce costs but the demands for service have not declined at all," said Ferree. "It's not a sustainable thing that we're having to deal with."

Joe Bird said he thinks the council would be doing a disservice by not looking at how to generate additional revenue and continuing to cut costs.

"I really hope that we're not sitting here having the same conversation next year," the councilor said.

Councilors Derek Duran and John Ponikvar also weighed in on the issue.

Duran said it is the council's responsibility to figure out how to save money but finding more funds needs to be at the forefront of the conversation. Ponikvar said thanks to the good work of city staff, reserve funds are set to satisfy the 2016 budget, but additional revenue needs to be sought in any form possible.

"We're getting to that point next year where we might not be able to do much of anything other than just sustain ourselves," Ponikvar said.

Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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