Page 9

Wheat Ridge Transcript 9

October 31, 2013

Slight increase expected in general funds WHO City will tap budget reserves to continue road projects By Vic Vela Wheat Ridge City Council this week passed a balanced budget for 2014 that maintains the same programs and services that are currently available to residents, but also contains a key area of concern that the city must deal with in the coming years. Next year, the city will work with a budget of just under $37 million, which includes a slight increase in general fund revenues compared to this year. So, police, public works, parks and recreation services, and other city services will see funding amounts similar to prior years. And the city is going to able to fund recreational projects that include trail connectivity and additional bicycle lanes in parts of town. But capital projects for next year, such as road improvements, will be funded through the city’s reserves. And that’s not good because next year is the last time the city can dip into those “rainy day” funds and get away with it. “I think that’s the biggest negative of next year’s budget,” said City Manager Patrick Goff, in a recent interview. The city will pull $1.7 million from reserves to fund next year’s capital improvements budget, which barely will enable it to keep up with street maintenance projects. And because money is being pulled out of savings, the city will reach its limit when it comes to available reserves that are necessary to

have in case of unanticipated events. That means next year’s council will have to figure out how to deal with that reality, which could mean taking funds from other areas of an already tight budget or possibly asking voters for more money. The council tried to do that this year by passing a sales and use tax hike ordinance that was expected to pump more than $6 million into capital improvement projects. However, Mayor Jerry DiTullio vetoed that measure, arguing in part that the tax hike would have made Wheat Ridge’s sales tax rate the highest among neighboring communities. It’s possible for the city to find the money for future road projects without new revenue, but that would mean some programs, like police community outreach or parks and recreation services may have to be cut. “We can always cut, but it depends what the citizens want their government to be providing,” Goff said. “If we’re going to start cutting, it means we’ll be cutting into programs that impact them.” A slight increase in general fund revenues will be seen in next year’s budget, primarily through sales tax receipts collected by major grocery and liquor stores. But Goff said that most communities around the Denver metro area are seeing greater revenue increases. “The economy is definitely coming back and other cities are seeing larger increases because people are shopping more at malls and buying retail goods that we don’t necessarily have in our community,” Goff said. “If you want to buy clothes for yourself or for kids that are going back to school, you can’t necessarily find those

in Wheat Ridge, so you have to go to Arvada, Lakewood or Denver.” The need for Wheat Ridge to diversify its sales tax base is seen through next year’s budget funding for economic development programs that provide incentives to attract new businesses to town, while retaining the storefronts that current exist. There are some parts of next year’s budget that many residents will enjoy. The city will complete its multiuse project along Kipling that will connect the city’s trail system. There will also be money available for bike lanes along Pierce Street, which Goff said is something that the community has been asking for in recent years. And through the Open Space fund, with help from Jefferson County dollars, the city will be able to expand Clear Creek Trail access. The council passed the 2014 budget with some minor changes on Oct. 28, but not before Councilman Mike Stites tried to strip $250,000 in funding from Wheat Ridge 2020. The citybacked nonprofit provides marketing and other economic development services for the city, especially along 38th Avenue’s Ridge at 38 Corridor. Stites has been critical of the organization for being “too political” on issues that include the 38th Avenue road diet. “We have our own economic development team that should be handling (what Wheat Ridge 2020 does),” Stites said during the council meeting. The effort to strip 2020’s funding failed. Councilman Davis Reinhart said that the council shouldn’t lose focus on passing a budget on a single issue that is controversial to some.

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GALLERY OF GAMES & weekly horoscope

ARIES (Mar 21 to Apr 19) The high standards you set for yourself don’t always translate into the behavior you expect of others. That relationship problem can be resolved if you’re more flexible and less judgmental. TAURUS (Apr 20 to May 20) Not enough party bids to satisfy the Bovine’s fun-loving side this week? Go ahead and throw one of your own. Then prepare for some serious work coming up early next week. GEMINI (May 21 to Jun 20) A new and intensely productive cycle is about to kick in. Be careful not to get too stressed out, though. Make time to restore your energies by relaxing with family and friends.

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CANCER (Jun 21 to Jul 22) This could be a good time to share some of your plans with those closest to you. Their comments could give you some added insight into how you might accomplish your goals. LEO (Jul 23 to Aug 22) An attack of self-doubt might be unsettling for the usually super-assured Feline. But it could be your inner voice telling you to hold off implementing your plans until you’ve reassessed them. VIRGO (Aug 23 to Sept 22) This is a great time for you to reward yourself for all your hard work by taking a trip you haven’t spent months carefully planning, to somewhere you never thought you’d be going. LIBRA (Sept 23 to Oct 22) Some misunderstandings resist being resolved. But your sincerity in wanting to soothe those hurt feelings wins the day. By month’s end, that relationship should begin to show signs of healing. SCORPIO (Oct 23 to Nov 21) A hectic job schedule begins to ease just in time to blow off all that workgenerated steam on Halloween. A family situation runs into an unexpected complication. SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 to Dec 21) A cutting remark in the workplace needs to be handled with finesse. Remember: How you respond could determine the depth of support you gain from colleagues. CAPRICORN (Dec 22 to Jan 19) Once again, that Capricornean stubborn streak sets in and could keep you from getting much-needed advice. Fortunately, it lifts by week’s end, in time to make an informed decision. AQUARIUS (Jan 20 to Feb 18) A surprise trip early in the week could lead to other unexpected offers when you return. Word to the wise: Avoid talking too much about this until you’ve made some decisions. PISCES (Feb 19 to Mar 20) Learning dominates the week for perspicacious Pisceans, who are always looking to widen their range of knowledge. A series of important job-linked commitments begins late in the week. BORN THIS WEEK: Your sense of humor generates good feelings and good will everywhere you go. © 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

Wheatridge transcript 1031  
Wheatridge transcript 1031