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City set to accept the proposed 2011 budget

by Bill Knowles

WALSENBURG– The Walsenburg City Council indicated it was ready to accept the proposed 2011 budget in December following a public hearing on the budget last Tuesday.  With the Thanksgiving holiday later in the week and a city council liking what it saw, members reached a consensus to drop the Nov. 30 meeting that had been scheduled for budget discussions.

    When approved, the city will be looking at a budget that shows close to $8 million in revenues and around $10 million in expenditures.  However transfers, loans and grants will fill in the difference as the city moves through its capital improvement projects such as the Waste Water Treatment Plant, the Northlands infrastructure project and the road work at Walsen, Pine and Maple (WPM).

    The city was notified that it had been awarded a $500,000 grant for the Northlands Sewer Project.  However the award is conditioned upon full funding for the project being committed by Feb 28, 2011.  The city will be putting up an in-kind contribution of $609,470.  The in-kind contribution will consist mainly of contributed labor and equipment that will be used in the building phase of the project.

    The proposed budget doesn’t reflect $181,646, made up of a Transportation Enhancement grant of $144,146 coupled with a match of $37,500 that will be used to build a new roof on the train depot.

    “At least we’re not bleeding money anymore,” Mayor Bruce Quintana said by the end of the evening.

    Even though City Finance Director David Johnston said, “The city is not in good financial shape.  But I think we will have a better understanding of it with the 2010 audit.”  The city council reacted to the overall process in a positive manner. 

    The public hearing saw a decided lack of citizen involvement with only five residents in attendance.

    The city council will use the regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7, to accept the proposed budget.  The budget is due in Denver by Dec. 15.