Cortez 2013 budget up $3.5M over 2012

Keywords: Poll question,

Airport improvements large part of increase

By Michael Maresh

Journal Staff Writer

While the proposed 2013 city of Cortez budget is $3.5 million higher than the 2012 budget, most of that increase will be directed to planned improvements to the Cortez Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration, however, will pick up $1.92 million of the $2.4 million cost of the improvements, while $138,000 will be paid by the city, and the remaining portion of $391,000 will come from the state.

While most of the improvements will be funded by the FAA grant, the city still has to show it in its budget because money is coming in and going out.

"It's a one-time shot," said City Manager Shane Hale. "It's a reflection of the grant."

The overall budget is proposed to be a little more than $24.8 million while the 2012 budget was about $21.3 million.

The Cortez City Council on Tuesday will also consider the 1.087 mill levy that will bring in about $102,000 to the city through assessed property values. The mill levy tax has already been set by the voters, and every year the council establishes the rate.

Hale said there are no big surprises in the 2013 proposed budget.

The 2013 proposed budget would place $10.3 million into the general fund, $2.3 million into the water fund, $1.1 million in the solid waste collection fund and almost $1.9 million in the recreation center fund.

In the budget for the intergovernmental and special revenue funds a little more than $1.7 million would go toward the self-insured health fund, while close to $1.9 million would be budgeted for the street improvement fund.

The city is also looking at increasing some of its fees that will take effect at the first of the year.

One of the proposals is to raise the refuse rates on the commercial dumpster pickups by approximately 5 percent to pay for rate increases at the county landfill, fuel costs, wage increases and the volatility in the market.

According to the memorandum from the city's public works department, the refuse fund is in good shape; however, rate adjustments need to be made to provide for future capital needs without having to make drastic increases at a later time.

Beginning Jan. 1 dumpster rates would be increased from $27 to $28.25 for once a week pick up for a 1.5 or 2-yard dumpster. Three-yard dumpsters fees would increase from $39.25 to $41.25.

Residential rates are also expected to increase with the passage of the resolution by about 75 cents - if a dumpster is not used - from $15 to $15.75 for once a week pick up.

In addition, the 2013 budget proposes increasing water rates for residential users.

For the first 1,000 gallons of usage the fee would increase from $13.75 to $14.75 per month, and an extra fee between $1.75 and $1.95 will be added for every extra 1,000 gallons of water that is used.

The reasoning behind the extra fee is to collect revenue from those who use the most water while minimizing the increase for those who do not use much water.

The commercial water dock fee could also rise from $4 to $6 for 500 gallons usage, and tap fees will be raised from $3,300 to $3,600 with a proportionate increase for larger taps.

Hale said the proposed increases are something the city looks at every year to determine if adjustments are needed, and were necessary for the upcoming budget because everything is going up.

The Dec. 11 meeting on the budget will be a public hearing, so people can be heard on the matter.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com