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The lengthy Dec. 14 meeting of the Town of Buena Vista Trustees included review and approval of the 2022 budget, an update on the town’s Three-Mile plan, discussion surrounding new water treatment facilities, as well as department reports.

2022 Budget

Buena Vista Town Treasurer Michelle Stoke presented Resolutions Nos. 56, 57, 58, and 59; all approved unanimously in support of the 2022 town budget. The measures:

  • Approve and adopt the 2022 Fee Schedule,
  • Approve revenues for each fund for the 2022 budget,
  • Approve the appropriation of funds to cover the expenditures in the 2022 budget,
  • Approve the certification of the mill levy and associated revenue generated by property tax for the tax year 2021.

The budget-wide revenue for 2022 comes to $20,151,099, nearly double the $10,257,695 budgeted for the Fiscal Year 2021. Two large projects, replacement of the Buena Vista Police Station and the new water treatment facility are within the budget for the coming year.

Additionally, the town budget-wide expenses of $20,000,186 for 2022 compared to the $9,379,302 budgeted for 2021. In 2019, 2020, and 2021, the total revenue budget has fluctuated between $10.25 million and $9.64 million, and the total expense budget has varied between $7.64 and $9.37 million.

After meeting the 27 percent fund balance reserve, TABOR reserve, loan covenant reserves, and the Advisory Board Fundraised reserve, the projected unrestricted Dec. 31, 2021 fund balances are:

  • General Fund                                      $1,275,635
  • Capital Improvement Fund                   128,303
  • Conservation Trust Fund                         17,987
  • Street Fund                                              636,578
  • Marijuana Revenue Fund                               0
  • All Hazard Response Fund                    214,096
  • Airport Fund                                            214,096
  • Water Fund                                           2,229,612
  • Storm Water Fund                                  177,772
  • Total Unrestricted Fund Balance     4,466,360

This year, the Capital Improvement Fund has some of the major revenue and expense changes, with a $4.96 million increase in revenue and a $4.83 million increase in expenses. State and local, as well as federal grants, make up $1,107,710 of the budgeted revenue, and the Certificate of Participation for the Police Station adds $2.46 million. Additionally, the Chaffee County Conservation Trust Fund grant adds $49,000 to the revenues.

Buena Vista Town Hall. Photo by Henry DeKam

New Capital Improvement Fund expenses include the Carbonate Street Housing Project ($100,000 budgeted), the building acquisition and construction of the new police building ($4.46 million), equipment purchases for public works ($853,442), street light replacement ($50,000), an additional $70,000 toward whitewater park infrastructure, and cemetery rehabilitation and site improvements ($60,000). Trail construction and structure repairs over $5,000 also contribute to the jump in expenses.

Street Fund revenues are also budgeted at nearly $200,000 higher than 2021 at $838,121, and expenses are $315,000 higher than 2021 at $747,728. Sidewalk construction and repair, chip sealing, street paving and overlay all contribute to the higher expenses, while sales tax income is the major bump in revenues.

Town Administrator Phillip Puckett spoke about the All Hazard Response Fund, pointing out that the fund is in jeopardy, with the town at risk of not being able to run that program as planned.

“There is a substantial transfer from that fund to our General Fund to offset our costs for fire services with Chaffee Fire; that was our strategy,” he explains. “If we have to shut down that program [the All Hazard Response Fund], it will not change our 2022 budget. The monies that we are showing to transfer have already been built up in that All Hazard Fund. Obviously, starting in 2023, it changes our outlook a bit.”

However, with a few expenses coming out of the budget in 2023 and the potential for more revenue from retail marijuana sales, Puckett is optimistic that even if they lose that program, they will still have a sound General Fund budget.

“It always amazes me how well our staff takes care of this,” Mayor Duff Lacy said after closing the public comment. “It makes things so much easier on this side of the table.”

The mill levy was approved at 5.506 mills based on a net assessed valuation of $90,679,840.

Updated Three-Mile Plan

 The board discussed and unanimously approved Resolution No. 60, adopting an updated Three-Mile Plan.

The Buena Vista Police Dept. has grown out of its current space next to the Buena Vista Community Center. Photo by Henry DeKam.

Section 31-12-105(1)(e) of the Colorado Revised Statutes places limits on municipalities that annex land by mandating that “no annexation may take place that would have the effect of extending a municipal boundary more than three miles in any direction from any point of such municipal boundary in any one year.”

Principal Planner Doering said that the areas of desired growth are slightly altered from the 2020 Three-Mile plan to include lands south of the Rodeo Grounds that are currently being planned as part of the Rodeo Grounds/Chicago Ranch Master Plan and that the addition of this area is the only change from the 2020 Three-Mile Plan.

Lacy clarified that the Three-Mile Plan doesn’t imply the town will approach these groups to act on annexation, but that the Three-Mile Plan is a statutory requirement, and that the board has water issues they need to examine before annexing additional land.

Business Items, Department reports

Code Enforcement Officer Grant Bryans followed up on the wildlife and trash discussion from October 26, 2021, proposing an ordinance amending Chapter 7 of the Buena Vista Municipal Code to add a new article concerning garbage and the protection of wildlife and to establish a penalty for violations. The suggested fines would be on first offense $50, second offense $150, and third offense $300 The board moved to approve the ordinance and did so unanimously.

Public Works Director Shawn Williams brought forward a resolution to enter into an agreement with JVA Engineering Services for the Water Treatment Plant Expansion. JVA would prepare a 30 percent complete design package and assist with finding a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) for the expansion.

“We should really be focusing first on the gallery expansion,” Williams said of the project. The expansion will help to increase and improve the town’s water intake.

After a question on the expense of the project from Trustee Gina Lucrezi, Williams and Puckett explained that the total project will cost between $6 to $8 million and that what the board is focused on right now is just the $278,500 for the JVA Basic Civil Engineering Services, including the 30 percent complete design.

The motion carried unanimously.

Police Chief Dean Morgan reported officers have been extremely busy with an unusual amount of mental health issues and have utilized Solvista’s new co-response unit. They’ll also have three new officers on the road in 2022, and are looking forward to additional scenario exercises. The department has also discussed mental health issues related to law enforcement and available resources, including Code 4 Counseling and peer support.

“I plan on speaking more about this at a Board of Trustees meeting in January, and also have Solvista speak about mental health resources for the public,” wrote Chief Morgan in his report, “as well as their partnership with law enforcement for co-response.”

Recreation Director Earl Richmond reported that the department has been busy with ongoing local leagues and preparing for spring leagues and event planning. They’ve also begun their restructuring process, and have already hired a new administrative assistant. They’ve also gotten their permit from the Army Corps of Engineers supporting construction of the new surf wave at the BV Whitewater Park.

The board approved a resolution in the Consent Agenda to continue its Declaration of a Local Disaster Emergency in Buena Vista until March 31, 2022, due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 in Chaffee County, as well as a resolution adding Juneteenth and Cabrini Day as new paid holidays for town employees.

The consent agenda also included a resolution ratifying conditional approval for retail marijuana store licenses to Ascend II, LLC, or Ascend Cannabis Company, and to PCG One, LLC. The trustees also approved a resolution reappointing Preston Larimer and Craig Brown as regular members, appointing Tony LaGreca as a regular member, and appointing Thomas Brown as an alternate member of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The board adjourned to an executive session at 9:50 p.m. The next regular meeting will be held on January 11, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. Staff and the public will attend virtually.