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Priorities are emerging as Crawford trustees talk budget

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The process of crafting a town budget is long, and sometimes tedious. The Crawford Town Council began to delve deeper into the numbers during its regular work session on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Two weeks earlier the trustees were presented with a preliminary budget, compiled by public works director Bruce Bair and town clerk Callie Gallegos. According to Bair, the first draft reflected a frugal approach with expenses set to cover the day-to-day operations for each of the town's three major funds -- general, water and sewer. Its expenses were slightly less than anticipated revenues.

During the work session, Bair presented several items to add to the budget. "For the past four years we have been in a survival mode, and you can operate that way for a couple of years ... but eventually things like vehicles, building, streets, equipment wear out and you need to replace them."

The trustees asked Bair to identify areas that he felt needed more resources. After much discussion, the board increased spending on maintenance for the building, vehicles and for fence and sidewalk work at the park.

A handicapped ramp at town park is also being budgeted at a cost of $15,000. This would be funded from the conservation trust fund, which is funded with proceeds from the Colorado Lottery.

The board also talked about increasing the budget for legal fees to begin codification of its ordinances. The work would update and digitize the town's ordinance, creating a searchable database which would be made available online. The project, and its $10,000 cost, could be scheduled to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2019. This would allow the town to split the cost across two years.

By meeting's end, the draft budget had shifted to slightly more expenses than anticipated revenues.

Road maintenance was the focus of much discussion. Bair said crack sealing was a priority, to prolong the road surface the town already has. A more ambitious project would be to overlay Elm Street, with a price tag of $12,000 to $13,000.

Bair said this would only be possible is the town's proposed mill levy is approved by voters.

To help in its budget process, the board has postponed its regular meeting a week, to Nov. 8. It normally meets on the first Wednesday of each month, but the results of the election will not be known until Nov. 7.

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North Fork
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Budget, Crawford
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