At the November 7th Board of Trustees meeting, Town Manager, Jeff Durbin, walked the trustees through a draft of the 2019 budget. Durbin was very clear, stating it was a draft and will not be finalized and adopted until early December.
Colorado municipalities are required to adopt an annual budget. The budget outlines the baseline services the Town provides. These services include Public Works, Administration, Community Development, Economic Development, Provision of Law Enforcement, Operation of the Upper Fraser Valley Wastewater Treatment Facility, Transit services via IGA with the Town of Winter Park; and, Trash and Recycling at The Drop. The Fraser Public Arts Committee funding is also included in the Town’s 2019 budget.
The budget draft listed a number of items Durbin presented as discussion points.
The Fraser Public Arts Committee (PAC) is hoping to build on the momentum of its programs, expanding many in the next year. The revolving Sculpture Program will go from 3 to 9 works, adding locations at the Lions Ponds, within the new US 40 medians and other key locations identified by the committee, requiring an increase in funding from $5,000 to $15,000 in 2019. The Mural Program will continue at the same level of funding. The PAC would also like to sponsor a Mural Festival in Fraser, assist with activation and development of open space improvements around the Lions Ponds with a winter lighted trail, establish new, creative pedestrian safety lighting at the crosswalks on US 40 and expand marketing efforts. The total proposed for Art in Public Places is $75,000.
The Center for Creative Arts is not proposed to be developed with general funds. Instead, the center will be funded with private patron funding. The town needs to determine the best approach to developing the center, whether it means creating a 501(c)3 foundation or another option. There is a need to obtain legal advice on this matter, which may require some funding from the town.
On housing, the town will look further into the Town of Vail’s InDeed Program, which has been very successful in maintaining deed restricted properties. Durbin noted that it makes sense to collaborate with the town of Winter Park and they’re planning a joint trip over to Vail to learn more about the program.
On the Fraser River Corridor Master Plan, Durbin recommended assembling a small and agile task force to define next steps for the project. Decisions will need to be made quickly so that grant funding can be achieved in time for next summer. The trustees agreed and directed staff to move forward.
The budget also proposes funding for salary and benefit changes, street improvement projects, the CR 8 bridge and pavement project, improvements and possibly a new Public Works facility, air conditioning at Town Hall, conceptual design and costing a “whistleless” train crossing on Eisenhower, an equipment trailer and trails projects.
Durbin also recommended the town set aside an “opportunity reserve” for infrastructure needs. “Many of the pipes are old and will need to be replaced”, said Durbin. There will also come a time when a new well will need to be drilled. The town needs to be prepared.
Project P refers to the upcoming $6 million project (split between the 3 local water districts) to remove phosphorus and metals from the water lines. A 4th operator will also need to be added at the Wastewater Treatment Plant for the project.
Durbin stated, “The Town of Fraser is in a good financial position”. He pointed out “this is not a negative deficit spend, we are using our savings on these projects”.
At the end of the presentation, Durbin asked the trustees to look over the budget packet and review his list to “knock the easy ones off as soon as possible”. The next budget hearing is scheduled for the November 28th meeting and the final is slated for December 6th.
To listen to the meeting and learn more, visit frasercolorado.com.