During its Tuesday, December 11 meeting, the Buena Vista Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the town budget for the 2019 Fiscal Year. Across all funds, expected revenue for the 2019 Fiscal Year totals just under $10.1 million, with predicted expenses of just over $10.2 million. The budget represents a 3.5 percent increase over the 2018 adjusted budget of $9.6 million.
The Trustees voted unanimously on all budget resolutions: fee schedule; revenues and expenditures; the appropriation of funds; and the certification of property taxes to Chaffee County.
The town’s funds are spread across seven fund balance accounts including the General Fund, Water Fund, Capital Improvement Fund Conservation Trust Fund, Alternative Energy Fund Storm Water Fund and the airport Fund. The budgets for each fund balance are built with a 27 percent reserve, as required by the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
The 2019 budget projects $4,139,723 in General Fund revenue; the General Fund is the largest of the town’s seven funds representing significant operations of the town. This represents a 7.7 percent increase over 2018 general fund revenue of $3,880,747. Forecast expenditures for the 2019 General Fund are $4,094,418, leaving a remaining balance between revenue and expenses in the General Fund totaling $49,306. The Board of Trustees voted to reallocate the $49,000 from the General Fund to the Capital Improvements Fund; primarily to provide options for acquiring a badly-needed firetruck for the Buena Vista Fire Department.
The $49,000 reallocation could be used as a down payment, should the town choose to finance a new truck through a lease-purchase agreement. Town staff is sourcing a lease-purchase under a four-year agreement. Without the reallocation, the lease payments would be around $35,000 per year; using the $49,000 reallocation as a down-payment, could substantially lower the annual lease payments.
Projected revenues for the Buena Vista’s Water Fund are $3,414,21, representing a three percent decrease from 2018 revenues. 2019 Water Fund expenditures are projected at $3,345,708, a 4.5 percent decrease in spending from 2018.
The 2019 budget for the Capital Improvement Fund, representing a significant increase over prior year revenues, with projected revenue of $1,431,688, and $1,590,000 in projected expenses. This fund would likely have benefited from the passage of Buena Vista ballot issue 1A – the lodging occupation tax. The tax went down to defeat in November, but the town built its budget without any inclusion of the projected $200,000 in revenue it might have raised.
The budget for the Streets Fund is $482,734. Public works Director Shawn Williams says they expect to make significant progress on public works projects during 2019.
The Airport Enterprise Fund expenditures are expected to total $549,551 for the 2019 Fiscal Year, a five percent increase over 2018 expenditures. Projected 2019 airport revenue is $497,646.
The Board of Trustees also voted to update the Town’s purchasing policy.
“Increasing those thresholds to allow staff to basically execute against our budget a lot more efficiently. Approval for spending for items already in the budget will go up from things that are less than $1,000 to things less than $10,000,” said Town Administrator Phillip Puckett. “Similar to that, things that require town administrator approval – currently items that are less than $5,000 – this would increase it to a range between $10,000 up to $25,000. All expenditures falling within the 10,000 – 25,000 dollar range will require a formal bid process.
“Our intent, and our hope here is that we can go after things that are in our budget as efficiently as possible while still being good stewards of our funds,” said Puckett. “This while still providing reasonable oversight by our board.”
Beginning Buena Vista Fund Balances after meeting the 27 percent TABOR Reserves:
General Fund $ 424,748
Water Fund 3,081,116
Capital Improvement Fund 155,960
Conservation Trust Fund 39,797
Alternative Energy Fund 2,775
Storm Water Fund 110,197
Airport Fund 160,519*
* Note: the projected Airport Fund balance includes a $110,000 expenditure for the Southard buy-out.