Coming into the last quarter of 2019, the City of Delta City Council has started discussions on the 2020 budget. As the city aims to increase tourism, a focus on marketing and improving the city’s functionality are a clear desire.

Current discussions are focusing on major projects, wants, needs and the numbers involved. Then, as council continues discussions, they’ll determine which ones will make the 2020 cut.

“Currently we’re taking a general look at the needs of the city,” said Mayor Ron Austin. “As those get more specific, we’ll be able to look closer and then evaluate the whole budget.”

The biggest project on the horizon is the acquisition of the Tri-State water line running along Highway 92. Projected numbers for acquiring this water line, of which there’s already an easement for and looking at allowing a loop system, is around $1.4 million.

“It’s a good project,” said Austin.

A big plus in his mind is it would take all that property along the river, which is privately owned, and make it marketable. Currently that area along Highway 92 can’t be developed due to lack of water and sewer but a project like this would change that circumstance. Another reason they’re looking at this project is concern over the ability to provide water for fire when approached about the planned expansion of the RV park in Delta.

Next year the city will also have a marketing budget. Funding a new marketing and outreach position was allocated for in 2019 and this will be expanded upon next year.

Austin has commented more than once that he believes one of the best things to happen in the community was losing the two mines. “I have to clarify because it’s what caused people to think outside the box,” he said, referring to how Delta decided to dig into tourism.

With tourism in mind, Main Street revitalization will also be a 2020 focus, though it belongs to Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Council has been meeting with CDOT to help them understand the city’s needs, what costs can be shared and how to improve its functionality.

Austin hinted at ideas for cutting down Main Street from two lanes to one, adding in a bike lane and moving parking. In his mind, revitalizing Main Street will attract people, and, as a result, increase the city’s economics. This emphasis on was also the reason why council decided to allocate the 2019 TABOR refund, $36,315, toward improving Main Street.

“We want to create an atmosphere that draws people in,” he said.

Unfortunately, as every municipality knows, the key to a budget is balancing out wants versus needs. Austin said budgeting is sometimes a balancing act, such as using monies for wants and hoping it will bring in more revenue for the needs.

However, in 2020 Austin said council also plans to focus on the city’s needs by continuing upgrades to the city’s streets, sidewalks, sewer system and equipment at the water treatment plant. In upcoming budget meetings council will continue to look at these projects, and others, as department heads evaluate their needs and wants.

Austin said he recognizes the city has definite maintenance needs and doesn’t want to defer these down the road.

November is when the final budget will be approved.

Those interested in attending budget meetings can find the city’s meeting schedule and agendas online at Work sessions are held at 360 N. Main St. in Delta on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. with a regular meeting following at 7 p.m.

Occasionally other work session meetings are held throughout the month, with full packets available online.

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