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Crawford trimming back to balance 2017 budget

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The Town of Crawford is looking closely at its draft budget for fiscal year 2017 to see where it can trim a shortfall of more than $34,000. The general fund proposes revenues of $104,686 and expenses of $139,647.

During his staff report to council at the Nov. 2 public meeting, Public Works Director Bruce Bair said he's been tweaking the numbers. "I could use as much help on this as you guys can give me."

The town is considering returning the $20,000 budgeted for Region 10 for broadband anchor points to the budget. "That's going to make our general fund look a little bit better," said Bair. "We're still looking at shortfalls."

Delta County received a grant that would provide the town one hub, said town clerk Cally Gallegos. Hotchkiss and Cedaredge "have taken their money back ... We don't need more than one hub here, so we don't actually need to pay for those broadband hubs."

Rescinding the pledge will not affect the town's ability to get broadband service, said Mayor Wanda Gofforth.

Bair recommended that the town gather more information before making a decision. "My only concern with that would be to clarify with the county," he said. "The town did pledge to commit to support the broadband coming into town."

Enterprise funds are not expected to see shortfalls. Water fund revenues of $90,564 and expenses of $83,716 are proposed for 2017. In the sewer fund, the budget projects revenues of $97,300 and expenses of $91,768.

The Conservation Trust Fund, which comes from sales of Colorado Lottery tickets, projects revenues of $1,063 and expenses of $1,250, for an ending fund balance of $17,785.

For fiscal year 2016, Crawford estimates revenues of $108,370 and expenses of $113,082. The town budgeted revenues of $10,350 in mineral leasing and $15,600 in severance taxes and received $4,407 and $2,733, respectively -- a shortfall of $18,810. Bair said the budget numbers show how important passage of the proposed mill levy increase on the Nov. 8 ballot is to the town (see Delta County Independent's website, www.deltacountyindependent.com, for election results).

The budget is available for public review at Town Hall. Crawford will hold a public hearing on the budget at the regularly scheduled Nov. 16 work session. The public is encouraged to attend.

In the meantime, said Bair, "I just want to encourage every council member to look this budget over."

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