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Finance committee voices thoughts on 2011 budget

by Bill Knowles

WALSENBURG- Midway through the work of setting the 2011 budget, Walsenburg Mayor Bruce Quintana said the process is a “more positive experience” then the 2010 budgetary process.

    “City Council is more united this year.  It seems that we are looking at this from the same viewpoint.  We’ve got to prepare ourselves for better times,” Mayor Quintana said.

    The city’s finance committee met for about two and a half hours on Monday evening, Nov. 15, taking a detailed look at the proposed budget.  The numbers surrounding Walsenburg Wild Waters caught some extra attention.

    The park’s financial losses have mounted over the past three years and drawn concerns from Walsenburg residents.  As a result, the city council shortened the operating week and hired fewer life guards for the 2010 season to take advantage of peak usage and reduce overhead. 

    The accounting program used by the park’s computer is incompatible with the software used by the city’s finance department.  Consequently, the revenues and expenditures for the park can be studied separately from the rest of the city and each line item of the park’s budget can be better understood.

    However the difference between the city’s software and the park’s software is big enough that information on the park’s computer can’t be interpreted by the city’s computer. Emails can’t even be exchanged.  All of this means that information to verify accounting at the park is unavailable to the city. 

    At the moment, what is known is that the numbers show the water park brought in around $86,000 and has paid out around $41,000.  However some receipts are “trapped” in the water park’s computer and final expenditures are still unknown.  The $41,000 amount is an educated guess.  Both sets of numbers are still fluid and won’t be final until the information is retrieved from the water park’s computer.

    The City Council will hold a public hearing to take comments on the proposed budget on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at XXX pm in the City Council Chamber at City Hall.  The city has until Dec. 15, to get an approved budget to the state.