Town of Vail's $54.3 million budget set for hearings Oct. 1, 15
Public hearings will take place on Oct. 1 and Oct. 15 as the Vail Town Council reviews the proposed 2014 municipal budget.
The $54.3 million expenditure plan is available on the town’s website at www.vailgov.com. First reading of the budget ordinance is listed fifth on the Oct. 1 meeting agenda which begins at 6 p.m. in the Vail Town Council Chambers.
As proposed, the 2014 budget maintains current service levels as well as an investment in three iconic events that would be allocated from General Fund reserves. This includes $400,000 for the Burton US Open snowboarding championships to be held next March 3-8, plus $625,000 for the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships, including town sponsorship of the Nation’s Team Event at Golden Peak.
The Town Council pledged contributions totaling $1.25 million to be dispersed over five years to support the 2015 championships and an additional $1.5 million over four years for the Nation’s Team Event. In addition, $75,000 has been identified in general reserve funding in anticipation of a bid to host the USA Pro Challenge Time Trial next summer.
The three events are being funded outside the town’s normal operational budget to maintain the town’s day-to-day services, leaving an estimated $13.4 million in General Fund reserves by the end of 2014, while year-end reserves for all funds are projected to be $29.6 million.
The recommended operational budget for 2014 is $31.9 million, an increase of 3 percent from the 2013 amended budget. Town Manager Stan Zemler says the conservative budgeting reflects the town’s overall revenues which haven’t returned to previous highs despite record sales tax collections in recent months.
The record year for all revenue was set in 2008 when the town collected $58 million. That compares to $53.3 million projected for 2014. While sales tax is budgeted to increase by 5.2 percent in 2014 from the amended 2013 budget, the anticipated growth will be used to help offset decreases experienced since 2008 in other revenues such as property tax, parking revenue and construction fees.
General Fund expenditures have remained flat since 2008 with increases of less than one percent per year on average. Those adjustments have been used to fund special events, salary adjustments, additional operating expenses from new town facilities and to support areas of strategic focus identified by the Town Council.
For 2014, this includes a recommended $861,800 for sponsorship of events to be budgeted within the General Fund with individual allocations recommended by the Commission on Special Events. This is in addition to the recommended $1.1 million in reserve funding for the three iconic events and another $336,600 in other events traditionally funded by Council Contributions such as Bravo!, Vail Dance Festival and the Vail Jazz Festival.
As a service organization, the majority of spending in the General Fund is for staffing. For 2014, this represents $19.9 million, or 60 percent of total expenditures. The town’s proposed staffing level includes 285 full time equivalent positions, flat since 2011 and down 10.6 from 2008.
The budget also proposes a 3 percent performance merit pool and a conversion of 12 full time seasonal positions to 12 full time year-round positions as the services required have expanded and evolved with increasing events, requests for coverage in the parking structures and concerns about lack of snow removal services during the frequent early and late season storms.
The 2014 budget also includes recommendations to invest $18 million for capital projects, including improvements to the Lionshead parking structure entry, construction of medians and expansion of bike lanes along portions of the Frontage Road, remodel of the Vail Village Welcome Center, improvements to Booth Creek Park, replacement of a fire truck as well as continued enhancements at Ford Park and the Vail Golf Club.
To comment on the budget in advance of the public hearings, email the Town Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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