The Cortez City Council approved a budget for 2012 along with several rate increases without objection at a Tuesday meeting.
A more than $14 million budget for the coming year was approved with the recent addition of $5,000 for tree pruning and $100,000 for a wildlife study at the municipal airport — comprised of a budgeted $95,000 Federal Aviation Administration grant and a $5,000 city match.
This is down from a $15.3 million budget in 2011, largely because the budget lacks the high-profile capitol projects of previous years, yet dodges massive cuts and layoffs occurring in other municipalities during economic downturn.
Despite a slight growth in sales tax revenues so far this year over the same time last year, the 2012 budget projects flat tax revenues. Sales taxes are a primary source of revenues for the city.
The 2012 budget leaves a more than $4.7 million cushion for the unforeseen.
At the request of city staff, the council also approved rate increases for water, garbage and recreation fees.
City Parks and Recreation Director Dean Palmquist asked the council for an increase in recreation fees for the municipal recreation center and pool.
He said no increases in fees at the recreation center have been made since it opened in 2004, and fees have fallen behind the regional average.
The council approved a 50 cent increase in daily admission for the facility and a $10 increase in 20-punch card passes for children.
Palmquist also requested a cap limiting the number of family members covered by a family pass to five.
The municipal pool will see a 50 cent increase in the daily admission fee for adults and seniors as well as a $5 per hour increase in swim meet fees.
“We want to be sensitive on what we're charging for both facilities and keeping them similar on what the charges are,” he said.
Fees will remain the same for the Conquistador Golf Course, with discounts offered in the early and late seasons.
City Public Works director Jack Nickerson asked for a 50 cent increase for residential, multifamily residential and small commercial garbage rates from $14.50 to $15.
For commercial-sized garbage containers, an increase of 50 cents from $26.50 to $27 is proposed for 1.5- or 2-cubic-yard garbage containers as well as a 75-cent increase from $38.50 to $39.25 for 3-cubic-yard bins.
Nickerson had previously told the council the increase was needed to keep pace with rising diesel costs and an increase in fees at the Montezuma County Landfill trickling down from the state.
For the water fund, Nickerson asked for a 25 cent increase in the residential base rate for water service from $13.50 to $13.75 per month. A 10 cent increase is proposed to the additional usage rate from $1.65 per 1,000 gallons to $1.75.
He said the increase is necessary to keep up with the rising costs of water treatment chemicals and replacement projects. He cited the recently completed South Broadway waterline replacement project costing approximately $700,000 and approximately $25,000 still needed for water tank repairs.
The new rates begin Jan. 1.
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