OURAY BRIEFS | Divided Council Approves 2013 Budget
by Samantha Wright
Dec 17, 2012 | 921 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

OURAY – The Ouray City Council held a special meeting on Monday, Dec. 10 at which it adopted the 2013 budget by a vote of 4-1. Councilor Richard Kersen voted nay, objecting to the fact that the budget has $128,000 more in budgeted expenditures than projected revenues.

However, Kersen didn’t have any solutions at hand to solve the problem. He did stress that next year, he expects staff to come forward with a balanced budget proposal that will not put council in the position it faced this year.

“I don’t think anyone on this council thinks it is a great idea to spend $128,000 more than we take in,” said Councilor Michael Underwood. “We can focus on it as something we don’t want to happen. I don’t think it’s out of the question to have a balanced budget.”

Councilor John Ferguson took a more optimistic approach. “In talking about spending, the other half of the equation is revenue,” he pointed out. “2013 has potential to be a good revenue year. I think the budget is acceptable.”

In working toward its goal of achieving a balanced budget in the coming year, council announced it is committed to holding monthly budget work sessions.

Kersen complained that the budget allocates funds for outside entities. “I feel that is an incorrect way to spend our money,” he said.

Underwood pointed out that the sum total of budget allocations in the 2013 budget is only $5,500, hardly enough to put a dent in the $128,000 projected deficit, and challenged Kersen to come up with a better solution. Kersen did not have one, but reiterated that “next year I would highly support not receiving a budget that is not balanced from staff.”

Mayor Bob Risch reminded Kersen that for the past several years, the city has ended up with a minimum of $100,000 more in revenues at year’s end than was projected when that year’s budget was developed.

“I am very confident we can approve this as written and adjust it as needed on a monthly basis,” he said.

Council is bound by state statute to adopt its budget for the coming year by Dec. 15, or else forego the ability to collect property taxes.

The City of Ouray’s 2013 budget includes the following sums appropriated for each fund:

General: $1,583,755.

Water: $537,820.

Sewer: $330,066.

Utility/Capital Improvements: $20,000.

Refuse/Recycling: $146,655.

Parks: $1,184,739.

Conservation Trust: 0

Tourism: $196,700.

Beautification: $43,250.

Firemen’s Pension: $24,100.

Tourism funds are allocated to the Ouray Chamber Resort Association, and along with funds for Beautification, are raised by the city’s Lodging and Occupancy Tax.

According to a budget memo from City Administrator Patrick Rondinelli, a long-term Parks Fund deficit which the city has carried for years, due to a settlement agreement with the Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings over a geothermal legal dispute, will be eliminated within the next two years, thus freeing up needed revenues for reinvestment into the town’s Hot Springs Pool facilities, Box Canon Park and Rotary park.

A structural change made to the budget (moving other parks and the ski tow to the General Fund) to begin paying down the massive deficit in 2011 continues to make progress, Rondinelli stated. Year-end budget numbers project the deficit to be $634,990, down significantly from the 2010 audited ending fund deficit of $1,080,446. Financing for upcoming major pool capital improvements will not be available until the deficit is gone.



CHRISTMAS LIGHT WINNERS ANNOUNCED



Alpine Bank this week announced the winners of its annual Holiday Light Decoration Competition in Ouray, and has distributed awards totaling $400 to the following businesses and residents:

Businesses:

1st place - Khristopher's Culinaire

2nd Place - Beaumont Hotel

3rd Place - Mouse's Chocolates

Residential:

1st Place - 420 Fifth Street

2nd Place - 135 Fedel & Elkhorn

3rd Place - 425 Sixth Avenue

The competition is co-hosted by the City of Ouray Beautification Committee and the Ouray Chamber Resort Association. Judging took place Monday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 9. 

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