City to spend more than $12 million in 2000 |

City to spend more than $12 million in 2000

Council completes workshop phase of budgeting process, considers approval

Christina M. Currie

Members of the Craig City Council and city department heads spent almost 10 hours in a room last week for their first step in the budgeting process the workshop.

Council members made few changes to the budget presented by staff members which allocates $12,802,785 in the year 2000. The funds will be used for general operations and capital purchases and projects.

More than $6,550,000 will be spent in the general fund which includes administrative, Road and Bridge Department, Police Department and Parks and Recreation Department expenditures. The other $6,240,000 will be spent in the water, wastewater and solid waste funds, each referred to as enterprise funds. The general fund and enterprise funds are separated by type of revenue collected

General fund revenue is based on taxes collected, license and permit fees and intergovernmental funding allocations such as severance tax collections and mineral lease funds.

The water, wastewater and solid waste funds are each enterprise funds, meaning revenue is based on fees collected for services.

Revenue from taxes that support the general fund is estimated to top $6,214,285, an 8 percent increase over revenue collected in 1999.

By far the biggest bite in general fund revenue came from the Road and Bridge Department which has been allocated $506,450 for general operations and $929,240 for capital projects and purchases. The bulk of that department’s capital funds will go toward equipment. The Road and Bridge Department has budgeted $687,530 for vehicle purchases, including $165,000 for a motor grader and $138,000 for a vacuum sweeper. The department has also budgeted $110,000 for annual overlay projects.

Road and Bridge Department capital expenditures are up $337,836 from last year.

For the first time in several years, the Police Department ranks second in capital projects funding with $218,340 appropriated. The major investment in 2000 will be the lease-purchase of seven new vehicles for a take-home car program for each officer. This program will bring vehicle expenses for the department to $131,890, up 56.2 percent from 1999. The price of communications equipment has also increased because of the decision to purchase more vehicles.

The Parks and Recreation Department will also take a bite out of the general fund in terms of capital outlay. For the $207,450 budgeted, residents will see new dugouts at Woodbury Park; interactive panels, slides and climbers at Woodbury Park; permanent ramps and other fixtures at the city skate park; and a new playground and safety surface at North Park.

In addition, the Parks and Recreation Department is seeking a $54,000 grant from the Yampa River Legacy Project to leverage against State Trails grant funds to build a bicycle and pedestrian trail. The trail would reach from Loudy-Simpson Park to the Yampa Valley Golf Course along the Yampa River. The Council appropriated an $18,000 city match for the project.

“By building these trails, we’re keeping kids off the highways,” Councilor Nadalie Alden said.

Additional money has also been appropriated in both the Parks and Recreation and in Road and Bridge departments for weed control. Since the city has hired a code enforcement officer, city officials have heard complaints the city does not practice what it preaches and intends to step up noxious weed destruction on its own property.

“It’s always money well spent,” Councilor Tom Gilchrist said.

The Parks and Recreation budget will again contain an $8,500 loan to the Grand Olde West Days Committee. The committee had asked for a one-time donation of $10,000, but council members decided they would rather loan the money than give it.

“What’s the difference when they borrow against a (certificate of deposit) or borrow against us?” Councilor Bill Johnston said. “What’s the benefit to us if we just give them the money?”

The council also decided to appropriate $5,000 to the Yampa Valley Partners program and $15,000 to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

“I think we should have an affiliation with that airport,” Councilor Johnston said. “At some point they’re going to yank our name off that sign. That’s worth $15,000.”