At Tuesday night’s meeting, Town Manager Keith Riesberg and Finance Director Lizbeth Lemley presented the town’s 2020 budget to council for their consideration. Riesberg told council the budget followed the format done in prior years, with no substantive changes. He also said, “I want to recognize Lizbeth for her efforts in putting together the budget.”
The council had discussed the town’s Capital Improvement Plan and Donor-advised grants in workshops held in October. Direction given during the workshops had been built in to the budget presented.
By far, the largest line item in the budget is Capital Expenses, at 60%. In 2020, the new Public Works facility comes in at nearly $11 million, and another $3 million will be spent on a variety of projects such as asphalt and stormwater improvements, street signage, parking garage and skate park improvements, snow melt equipment, seasonal decorations, security systems and the Chamber building.
The Fireside Creek affordable housing project is moving along and, while still in discussions with the developer, Riesberg told council he anticipates a large capital expense will ensure the project keeps moving forward.
Sales Tax revenue is up 9% in 2019, but for 2020, the budget anticipates a 4% increase. “We are being very conservative on revenue assumptions,” said Riesberg.
Prior to opening the Public Hearing, Mayor Jimmy Lahrman read the following statement, “On September 13, 2019, the town received a written request from Clark Lipscomb on behalf of Cornerstone WP Holdings LLC for a budget appropriation of $1.75 million for the crossing hard construction costs and $19,345.33 for road extension soft costs for a combined total of $1,769,345.33 plus accrued interest costs of $650,237.08. These costs are to partially fund the cost of the Leland Creek underpass located in Fraser, Colorado. Town Council considered the request during the Budget workshop and will consider that request again during this Public Hearing. If any member would like to speak, please do so during the Public Hearing.”
Town Manager Riesberg added, “We did touch upon this during renewed discussion on the Capital Improvement Plan. These funds are not included in the Capital Improvement Plan being presented for your consideration. I know there are concerns on at what point should the town fund or look at possibly funding this liability. At this point in time, it is not fully determined what the town’s obligation in liability is under the agreements. If and when there is a determination made that there is a liability to the town, we would look at incorporating the obligation into our financial plans and would address that when we are required to.”
No one came forward during the Public Hearing and the hearing was closed.
The council will adopt the 2020 budget by resolution at the next meeting, on November 19.
In other news…
Council denied the Arrow at Winter Park Commercial Enhancement grant application and directed staff to start a dialog with the developer on obtaining reimbursement for commercial enhancements through the use of an Enhanced Sales Tax Incentive Program (ESTIP).
Resolution 1726, approving an agreement with Linda Wenzek-Barth for snow storage purposes on the Brookside property was approved unanimously.
Ordinance 524, amending town code on the subject of E-Scooters was withdrawn and will be revisited after the first of the year. Councilman Art Ferrari clarified, “The reason this is low priority is that we are heading into the winter season, and we don’t see a lot of scooters this time of year.”
The second reading of Ordinance 525, amending Section 1-4-1(c) of the town code regarding maximum sentence for imprisonment for violations of the Municipal Code was approved unanimously.
Town Clerk Dani Jardee is developing a ‘Winter Park 101’ program to engage the community in the upcoming April 2020 town council election. The two-part event will introduce people to Town operations, what it means to be a town council member and how departments and elected officials work together. It is designed to help attendees better understand how local government operates and how to run for Town Council. The free and informal events will take place on the evenings of January 8th and 15th at a location still to be determined.
Winter Park Town Council meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 pm and are open to the public. To learn more, visit wpgov.com.