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Schedule for budget meetings

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At the Oct. 13 meeting of the board of trustees for the Town of Paonia, town manager Jane Berry introduced the first draft of the 2016 budget two days ahead of the state deadline. "I am pleased to introduce to you tonight a balanced, no-deficit-spending proposed budget..." said Berry. A year ago the draft budget reflected $410,000 in deficit spending.

Trustees also approved a fiscal year 2016 budget workshop and adoption schedule, beginning with submittal of the draft budget. Tuesday, Oct. 17, the first of two planned budget study sessions begins at 5:30 p.m. A budget workshop starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17. The second budget study session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 24, and the public hearing and final adoption is scheduled for the Dec. 8 regular board meeting.

Berry said projections for 2015 "are within acceptable ranges," and that potential amendments to that budget may be needed before the end of the year, depending on the final 2016 budget. New accounts have been added to clarify operations and activities, and others that weren't being used were deleted.

The budget also reflects "a tremendous number of policy decisions" included within the budget that need to be discussed, said Berry.

The current mill levy of 8.322 mills was used in creating the draft. Total taxable valuation is $12,031,703 and reflects an increase of $114,849 for new construction. Valuation must be certified by Delta County. Due to valuation changes, general fund revenues are expected to increase slightly. Property tax revenues to the general fund are expected to increase an estimated $2,700 due to increased valuation "and other minor revenue projection increases," according to a cover letter from Berry to the board of trustees.

The draft includes a 10-page "budget message" summary. Citizens may inspect the proposed budget during regular Town Hall hours and may file or register objections at any time prior to final adoption. The budget can also be viewed at www.townofpaonia.com.

Berry told trustees the meetings represent a minimum number of public meetings that should be held, and that more may be scheduled as necessary.

The board also:

• Announced it will no longer provide the infamous blue leaf bags this fall. "It's a pretty costly project for us," said Berry. To deal with all the fallen leaves and yard waste, the town is having the leaf vacuum repaired. The town will still collect bags of leaves, as well as yard waste, for composting.

• Approved a letter in support of its application to the Colorado Tourism Office for a marketing grant to enhance marketing efforts for the fourth annual Paonia Film Festival, scheduled for April 28-30 at the Paradise Theatre. All films are eligible for the festival must be made by locals or filmed and produced in the area.

• Approved a 14th amendment to the engineering agreement with WestWater Engineering for an additional $68,000 engineering services for the Lamborn Mesa Water System Improvements project, and the 15th amendment for additional engineering services necessary for repairing structural cracks at roof truss support connections at the 1 million gallon Lower Water Treatment Plant site. The two amendments raise the total contract from $396,979.86 to $469,779.86.

• Approved change orders No. 5, 6 and 7 to the upper Lamborn Mesa Water Treatment Plant improvement project, totaling $11,028.50.

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