Budget Work Session Scheduled for June 15

The second 2016 budget work session will be held on Monday, June 15th, with the primary goal of confirming major streets capital projects to be completed. Although the budget will not be officially adopted for months, the City needs to proceed with engineering and design work in order to take the projects out to bid in time for the 2016 construction season and to meet supplemental disclosure requirements in the budget document.

Public works maintains a long-range streets improvement plan based on internal assessments of the street condition and traffic usage as well as available budgets for water and sewer infrastructure needs under the streets and alleyways. The streets plan serves as a guiding document, but it is modified and updated from time to time due to various economic factors. As an example, the H Street re-build was previously planned to take place over a three-year time period from 2009 to 2011. However, the council decided to complete the Sackett Avenue re-build first, delaying H Street. And, as planned during 2012-2013 and now being finished, H Street is taking only two years instead of three years because of the City’s improved economic situation.

As a result of Ordinance 2014-28 (the Carlisle-Farney measure approved in a special election), the budget now must contain a supplemental schedule above and beyond the requirements of the Colorado budget law. In order to have reasonable estimates to comply with the new ordinance, the City’s engineers must prepare an opinion of probable cost that breaks out different components of a streets project. The City previously separated costs related to water, sewer and streets. Now, “streets” must be further broken down to show the costs for curb and gutter, storm drainage systems, sidewalks and other components. This new requirement is called the “Specific Accounting by Project” schedule.

Staff will also be asking the council for additional funding in the 2015 budget to complete the engineering and design work necessary for the 2016 construction projects. The current estimate of engineering costs is $198,500 compared to the original budget of $50,000. Approximately $50,000 of the revised total would be paid through a CDOT grant.

In addition to the streets plan, staff will seek direction from the council about whether or not they support certain other large capital projects, for which grant funds may be available. In order for staff to have time to prepare the grant applications and coordinate timing of different grant requests with the cycles of the granting agency, direction will be needed before the budget is actually adopted. No actual funding commitment would be made, however, until the budget is adopted.

Other discussion topics will include consideration of staffing changes that had been funded in the original 2015 budget and eliminated after passage of Ordinance 2014-28.

The City-wide goals updated during the 2015 budget process will be reviewed and discussed again. Currently, they are as follows:
1.Maintain and improve Salida’s existing assets.
2.Do it right and make it last.
3.Increase pride in the community and confidence in local government
4.Invest in employees.
5.Practice fiscal responsibility and manage debt responsibly while performing city services effectively and efficiently.

Staff would also like to continue the discussion from the June 2nd work session regarding the 10-year water and sewer system capital improvement plan. The total capital costs exceed expected current revenue sources, and the council was asked during the last meeting to consider refunding the 2007 bonds. Staff is seeking direction about whether or not to pursue additional debt or to refinance the existing balance should interest rates remain lower than the current bonds.

Council is being asked if they would like to make any changes in the budget format.

Finally, council is being asked for comments on a draft policy setting reserve level targets and on the overall timeline.

The work session will begin at 6:00 pm in the council chambers. The public is encouraged to attend. Please read through the complete work session packet for additional details.

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