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The details in town budgets can be telling. If you’re not a fan of speed limits, be aware that the Town of Buena Vista is projecting $24,000 in traffic fines in 2021. As well, it has budgeted $18,000 in business license fees and $400 each in dog fines and large animal permits for the upcoming year.

If you smoke cigarettes, your share of contributions are included on the 14th line under General Government Revenue, Cigarette Tax at $9,000. If you smoke/ingest retail marijuana and buy it at a yet-to-be-established recreational weed outlet in town (town voters approved recreational cannabis and a five percent additional tax in November), you’ll be contributing to an estimated $125,000 in new tax revenue.

The 2021 Town of Buena Vista budget got the official nod from the town’s trustees Dec. 8. A meticulous rundown of money that comes in and goes out, it lists for example; $6,000 from the sale of cemetery lots, with costs of $500 for after-prom contributions and $2,000 for parks vehicle maintenance.

In the big picture, total budgeted revenues from all funds are listed at $9,996,968. Budgeted expenditures are $10,195,551. Both sides are higher than the 2020 figures of $8,964,032 and $9,168,134, respectively.

General Fund

The general fund is the primary operating mechanism for much of the town’s usual activities – police, fire, public safety complex, BVTV, finance, planning, public works, municipal court and the board of trustees.

This fund has $4,903,967 in revenues budgeted for 2021, compared to $4,650,544 for 2020, a 5.4 percent increase. General fund budgeted expenditures for 2021: $4,898,866 compared to $4,601,765 for 2020.

Looking at spending for the coming year, Public Safety’s budgeted allocations take the biggest share at $2,540,980, or 24.9 percent of the pie – or $925 per capita.

General administration comes in at $1,613,266, or 15.8 percent of the pie  – or $587 per capita, and budgeted water expenditures are nearly tied with general administration at a budgeted $1,610,986 and again, $587 per capita.

Remote Sales Tax Revenue Provides a Cushion

Despite the financial stresses of the pandemic, Buena Vista looks similar to the rest of Chaffee County, seeing a strong rebound in 2020 sales tax collections after the spring COVID-19 shutdown. The Town experienced pacesetting sales-tax figures throughout the summer, although a growing percentage of those amounts was due to remote sales; not necessarily reflecting a major boost or a winter cushion for brick-and-mortar businesses. The total collection figures for 2020 have yet to be established. but Town and BV’s share of County sales tax revenues were budgeted at $2,232,255 and $1,272,438 respectively.

Buena Vista has budgeted higher sales tax amounts in 2021: $2,514,927 in Town sales tax revenue and another $1,408,610 in the BV share of Chaffee County sales tax revenue.  (The Town’s share of County tax is determined annually by what percentage of vehicles are registered in BV.)

Budget Priorities for 2021

So what’s on the 2021 horizon? The Town has prioritized investments in the fire station to address critical safety and functional issues, budgeted at $130,000. As well, Buena Vista is adding a police patrol officer to handle growing numbers of calls for service and traffic. Budget: approximately $53,643 plus payroll tax, disability insurance and retirement expense of $5,904.

Work will continue on several water projects, including the water infiltration gallery and surface plant expansion, Well #4 design and construction, Water Resource Master Plan updates, and a water and land use policy update.

Additional plans for 2021 and projected costs:

  • Pedestrian trail and bridge from Arizona Street to Marquette Avenue: $611,560 paid for by a CDOT grant of $538,248 and drawing from a fund balance of $73,312
  • Rodeo Grounds ticket booth and PA system: $5,500 from the General Fund
  • Highway 24 intersection at Baylor/DePaul and Steel Drive, design and engineering: $60,000 provided by the Street Fund with $50,000 supplemented by a Planning/Engineering grant of $10,000
  • Bear-proof trash cans and picnic table replacement in parks: $12,000 from the General Fund
  • Whipple Trail bridge and trail reconstruction (pending a grant): $51,005, coming from the General Fund $8,200 plus a CPW Grant of $36,725, in-kind donations $1,000 and other sources at $5,080
  • River Park multigenerational complex with ADA trail and single track (pending a grant) $459,000 primarily funded by a GOCO Grant of $439,000 and the Conservation Trust Fund with $20,000
  • Community Center landscape and irrigation: $13,250 from the General Fund
  • Airport taxiway-apron crack seal, snowplow, fuel tank maintenance, and paving maintenance: $10,000 – CDOT Grant $9,000 plus Airport Funds of $1,000
  • Electrical upgrades for Softball Field and Tennis Court lights: $18,000 from the Conservation Trust Fund
  • Streets maintenance and sidewalk replacement/maintenance: $25,000 from the Street Fund