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November 13, 2012
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Overpass project highlights Granby's 2013 budget

GRANBY - The town is not spending as much on capital projects as last year, but an overpass project in Granby is one major line item in the 2013 draft budget.

Dependent on a $382,000 Colorado Department of Transportation grant the town will receive, the overpass project serves to create safe access to Kaibab Park over the train tracks, and will also include a walking/biking trail along the highway from the downtown to the City Market business plaza. The town has also applied for $750,000 in energy impact funds to be put toward the project, as well as budgeted $368,000 from the town's capital fund to create a grant match.

"It goes way beyond being able to say we have a nice park," said Town Manager Wally Baird. "It's needed for safety reasons, such as walking alongside (Highway 40)."

Raffety Park is another park project for which the town has budgeted in its 2013 draft. With a $200,000 capital fund match to a $400,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant, the town hopes to complete phase 1 of a multi-phased project creating improvements to the park at the soccer facility. Earthwork, drainage, utility relocation and stub-outs are included in phase 1.

When completed, to the casual observer they may not look like major updates to that location, according to Baird. Eventually the park is expected to have a playground, fitness station, pathway, parking lot and landscaping, as well as other improvements, with an estimated $3.68 million investment.

With the matching funds needed for both park projects, the fund balance of the Capital fund could dip below $1 million, a concern expressed by members of the town board. Although he doesn't believe spending the fund "down to zero," Baird said the fund "replenishes itself; and that money is there to be spent for capital projects." The fund is supported by sales and use taxes.

Granby's tentative 2013 budget sits with a $134,000 use of town reserves, making up for an expected $142,000 property-tax shortfall.

A budget committee made up of members Donna Kolin, Mike Claney, Deb Shaw, Charlie LeBrake and Sheri Lock made recommendations to the board that included savings to the town, all of which could impact the amount of town reserves used in 2013.

The board is still considering their recommendations.

Rather than give a 2.9 percent cost-of-living increase to town employees in 2013, the budget committee recommends full-time employees each receiving a $1,000 stimulus. By doing so, the town would save an estimated $23,900, according to committee calculations. The cost of the town's health benefits are expected to rise 6.25 percent.

The budget committee also recommends shaving the budget for the economic facilitator position of the Granby Enterprise Initiative, from $40,000 as was spent in the 2011 budget, to $5,000. During board discussion about the issue, cutting the $40,000 number in half was suggested, according to Baird.

Another budget committee recommendation involved the town's support of the Granby Chamber of Commerce. The committee recommends paying the chamber on a quarterly basis of the net general fund sales tax in the amount of 5.5 percent, not to exceed $90,000. The amount is similar to totals paid in the past. The committee reasoned having chamber funds come out of sales-tax coffers, the chamber would have incentive to attract more business to the downtown.

More speeding tickets

On police fines, stricter enforcement of speeding in the town "in a manner that would not be a quota" would increase revenue to the town, said Baird. The budget committee's preliminary calculations show an increase of about $37,500 to the town by having stricter enforcement of speeding laws.

Other savings are found by removing a temporary position at the South Service Area Water and Sewer department, delaying administrative costs for a new computer and iPad in town hall, and delaying new flooring at the Granby Community Center. For the police department, the draft budget may reduce the number of laptops proposed from six to two. And the town saw savings by as much as $18,000 by dipping into the 2012 capital fund for a $142,000 town street sweeper, rather than making the lease purchase in 2013.

There are no rate increases proposed in the 2013 budget for any of Granby's water and sewer services.

Sales tax revenue is presently at 4.29 percent up over 2011, and use tax is projected to be up 3.8 percent over 2011.

A continued public hearing on Granby's total $4.7 million budget is scheduled for Nov. 27, with possible adoption by Dec. 11.

- Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603


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The Sky-Hi News Updated Nov 13, 2012 06:57PM Published Nov 13, 2012 06:55PM Copyright 2012 The Sky-Hi News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.