Dolores passes town budget for 2018 as tax revenues fall

Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018 10:30 PM
Michael Williams and Melissa Miller have opened the 302 Thrift Shop in Dolores.

The Dolores town board passed the 2018 budget recently.

The budget is based on an estimated income of $921,731, derived from utility fees, grants, property taxes and sales taxes.

Total expenses to operate administration, streets, water and sewer enterprises are estimated to be $960,462, but there is enough in reserves to cover the difference.

A major recent expense was for a $180,000 for a new road grader to replace an old one that can no longer be repaired. Maintenance on the Fourth Street bridge is expected to cost about $35,000.

The town is also earmarking $33,000 in matching funds towards a future grant for a new playground.

Town revenues have dropped since 2016 due to less sales taxes and a reduction in mineral lease and severance tax revenues.

Sales taxes dropped from $351,437 in 2016, to an estimated $300,000 for 2017, according to the released budget. Sales taxes are estimated to stay at $300,000 for 2018. Two restaurants, a liquor store, and a coffee shop closed in 2017.

The decline in revenue was attributed to a downturn in the oil and gas industry. The town’s share of mineral leases went from $76,341 in 2016 to $31,000 in 2017, and is expected to drop to $25,000 for 2018.

The town’s share of severance taxes, derived from oil and gas production in the state, is also dropping, going from $10,000 in 2015, to $4,867 in 2016, to an estimated $3,500 in 2017. Severance taxes are expected to bring in $3,000 for 2018.

On the brighter side, several new businesses opened in town, including the 302 Thrift Shop, The Motorhead Doctor, Silver Sparrow Designs, Doc’s Outfitters, and Travel Host Four Corners. Plus, there will be a new medical clinic opening soon by Southwest Health System.

Also included in the 2018 budget is a 3 percent cost of living raise for 2018.

“We have an excellent staff who work hard, work together well, and have a lot of expertise,” said town manager Lana Hancock.