Nov. 30 marked the public hearing for the Town of Cedaredge's 2018 budget. This hearing was preceded by three board of trustee work sessions which were open to the public on Aug. 17, Sept. 14, and Oct. 12. The draft budget developed during the work sessions has been available for public viewing on the town's website since Nov. 1.
During the Nov. 30 meeting Greg Brinck, interim town administrator, called the trustees' attention to a few adjustments in the draft budget. He explained that General Fund expenditures have decreased by $6,605 owing to a new police officer being hired at a lower salary than budgeted. However, due to recent changes in town administration, overall administration labor costs have remained the same. Golf course expenditures have decreased by $7,962 because the vacant position of golf clubhouse operations director has been advertised at a wage lower than the salary necessary to hire a golf pro. Golf expenditures decreased even though Adam Conway was recently hired as golf course superintendent at a higher wage than budgeted. Brinck also provided an overview of the 2018 budget emphasizing that the town will be spending reserve funds totaling $210,316 to address capital improvement projects.
No members of the public addressed the town trustees regarding the budget but one trustee had questions and comments. Trustee Al Smith stated that the town cannot continue dipping into reserves. Mayor Eugene Welch explained that, despite projected expenditures, general fund and other reserves remain strong and reserve expenditures will be necessary in 2018 to address the town's long-delayed capital improvement projects.
In other business, trustees learned that five applications have thus far been received for the advertised position of golf clubhouse operations director. Mayor Welch, golf course superintendent Conway, and interim administrator Brinck will be on the selection committee along with the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) general manager of The Bridges golf course in Montrose, if he is available. The next step in permanently filling the currently vacant role of town administrator will be to advertise the position at the beginning of 2018 and all trustees will be involved in that interview process.
After the meeting, interim town administrator Brinck indicated that the following capital improvement projects are planned for 2018. Only major projects are listed; therefore, the projects under each fund heading may not add to the total reserves budgeted.
General Fund using $49,026 in reserves:
1. $15,000 for the first year of a 3-year lease of a new police vehicle;
2. $12,500 for a new culvert on Old Goat Trail;
3. $8,000 for a new server in Town Hall;
4. $5,806 for new police body cameras;
5. $5,000 for new police radios; and
6. $3,000 for K-9 acquisition and training.
Water Fund using $74,329 in reserves:
1. $160,000 for pipeline replacement in the alley behind Town Hall and SW 3rd Street;
2. $89,000 for vehicles including an ATV, a pickup truck, and a 'Vac-trailer.' Trailer is used for waterline repairs;
3. $43,000 for continuing expenses related to converting current process of reading water meters to 'radio reading' and obtaining property easements as needed for waterlines;
4. $18,000 for one-time water regulator vaults and plant heaters and insulation; and
5. $6,700 to continue lease of tractor (2nd year of 5-year lease).
Sewer Fund (not using reserves):
1. $49,300 for testing lab and testing equipment.
Golf Course Fund using $13,636 in reserves:
1. $20,000 for inline filter; and
2. $5,000 for storage building.
Capital Improvement Fund using $55,022 in reserves:
1. $72,579 for Hwy 65 and Main Street enhancement. Project is scheduled for completion in spring 2018. This is the town's 20 percent match for the project. The balance will come from Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
2. $100,000 for asphalt resurfacing and repair.
Trust Fund using $18,800 in reserves:
1. $12,000 for the Surface Creek Trail improvement. This is the Town's 30 percent match of the project funded by a Greater Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant;
2. $8,000 for new drinking fountains; one in the Town Park and one in the Post Office Park; and
3. $8,000 for new tables and chairs in the breezeway on Main Street.
The trustees will vote on the final budget at their next regular public meeting on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. in the Grand Mesa Room of the Cedaredge Civic Center, 140 N.W. 2nd Street.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.