City's 2017 budget holds steady

By Pat Sunderland


No increases in city utility rates are anticipated in the 2017 budget that's currently being reviewed by the Delta City Council.

Even better, no budget cuts are anticipated because sales tax revenues are holding steady.

The city's primary source of revenue is sales tax. The 2017 budget reflects an estimated sales tax increase of 1 percent over the actual 2016 total, which is currently running ahead of 2015 by 3.6 percent.

Like many municipalities, the City of Delta has seen reductions in federal mineral lease fees and severance tax revenue. However, other general fund revenues, including sales tax revenue, came in higher than expected.

The 3 percent sales tax is split equally among the general fund; citywide capital improvement fund; and the parks, recreation and golf fund. Each percent of sales tax generates nearly $1.8 million.

From the combined parks, recreation and golf fund, the golf course will receive $100,000 of the $1.8 million in anticipated revenue. Transfers from utility funds will continue to support golf course operations. At both the golf course and the recreation center, fees and rentals help offset operational costs.

The bulk of the citywide capital improvement fund is dedicated to debt service for the alternate truck route. However, the city is bumping street maintenance/repairs by $100,000 to a total of $500,000. No specific projects will be identified until a master plan has been completed by the public works department in early 2017.

The general fund covers most city operations. The general fund balance is expected to drop in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but will remain at a healthy level. All fund balances, with the exception of the golf course fund, are above 25 percent of annual expenses.

Other highlights include:

• The water fund is loaning $23,000 to the Delta Urban Renewal Authority to cover legal costs. Through an intergovernmental agreement, the loan will be repaid once DURA has established a reliable revenue stream.

• Two other utility funds, sewer and refuse, support city contributions to Delta County Economic Development.

• At Bill Heddles Recreation Center, child care will be eliminated. Director Wilma Erven said the service is very costly relative to the number of patrons served.

• A fee increase at Devil's Thumb Golf Course will be dedicated to bunker improvements, specifically sand, over a five-year period. Two tournaments are also planned as fundraisers for the sand traps.

• Also at the golf course, a vendor has expressed interest in providing food/beverage services during the busy months.

• Personnel levels will remain unchanged in 2017, although it's expected the position of police chief will be filled with a permanent appointment. Charles Kettle is currently serving as interim police chief.

• City employees will receive cost-of-living adjustments of 3 percent.

• Memberships include Colorado Municipal League, $5,376; Club 20, $600; Delta Area Chamber of Commerce (presidential level), $1,500; and Region 10, $7,500. An additional $3,000 was provided in support of chamber programs.

• Contributions are made to All Points Transit, $17,430; Delta Housing Authority

rehabilitation program, $1,000; fireworks, $2,000; grad night, $300; and health fair, $585.

• Capital construction projects budgeted for 2017 include $21,000 for renovations at the animal shelter, continued stormwater improvements, sewer line and wastewater treatment plant equipment replacements. The city plans to acquire additional DMEA customers and to continue to replace vehicles as needed. A $50,000 grant is being pursued to develop a master plan for the parks.

A draft of the budget was reviewed at the Nov. 15 city council meeting and the public was invited to make comment prior to adoption. A copy of the budget can be found on the city website, cityofdelta.net.