Public hearings will take place on Nov. 4 and Nov. 18 as the Vail Town Council reviews the proposed 2015 municipal budget. The $57.2 million expenditure plan is available on the town’s website at vailgov.com. First reading of the budget ordinance is listed seventh on the Nov. 4 meeting agenda which begins at 6 p.m. in the Vail Town Council Chambers with opportunities for public comment.
As proposed, the 2015 budget includes investment in iconic events: $400,000 for the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships; $625,000 for the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships which includes town sponsorship of the Nation’s Team Race at Golden Peak; plus a $75,000 placeholder in the event Vail is selected as a venue for the USA Pro Challenge. During the budget readings, Town Council will discuss an additional $2.7 million in contribution requests from non-profit organizations which include “Vail Brand” events such as Bravo! Vail, Vail Jazz Foundation, Vail International Dance Festival, Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Betty Ford Alpine Gardens to name a few. Council funding of the Commission on Special Events is currently proposed at $861,800 for sponsorship of events budgeted within the General Fund.
The recommended operational budget for 2015 is $34.4 million, an increase of 6.3 percent from the 2014 amended budget. As a service organization, the majority of spending in the General Fund is for staffing. For 2015, this represents $21.8 million, or 63 percent of total expenditures. The town’s proposed staffing level includes 288 full-time equivalent positions, an increase of 3.4 FTEs from the prior year to increase service levels in facilities, environmental programming and address staffing challenges within the Fire Department. The budget also proposes a 4 percent performance based merit increase and a 1 percent pool for exceptional performers.
Impacts from the Affordable Care Act are also reflected in the 2015 operating budget, with an estimated $471,000 to provide health coverage for approximately 30 seasonal employees that are now eligible for health benefits.
General Fund reserves are projected at $14.8 million by the end of 2014, while year-end reserves for all funds are projected to be $44.2 million.
The 2015 budget also includes recommendations to invest $15 million for capital projects, including planning for the I-70 underpass, most of which is funded by a federal grant; reconstruction of the recreation path behind the Vail Public Library; redevelopment of the Vail Golf and Nordic Center; installation of utilities and other infrastructure on the town’s Chamonix property in West Vail for a future affordable housing development; continued enhancements at Ford Park; and planning for an eventual redevelopment of the town’s municipal building.
To comment on the budget in advance of the public hearings, email the Town Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.