Steamboat City Council increases budget for higher winter tourism metal

Steamboat City Council increases budget for higher winter tourism metal

As COVID-19 vaccination doses continue to rise and restrictions have been lifted for more than a month, Steamboat Springs City Council updated its budget to reflect the city’s increases in VAT revenue and help the city’s programs and staff return to standard levels of service. .

Councilors approved the new budget by a 6-1 vote, with Councilor Heather Sloop voting against.

“There are very small things that people need just to get their jobs done,” Councilwoman Sonja Macy said of the budget updates.

When the city council first adopted its budget for 2021, it did so using conservative estimates of how much VAT revenue would be brought in based on COVID-19 restrictions at the time, but agreed to revise the budget when the winter tourism season ended. Due to the municipality’s budget cuts, city staff had to cut back on certain services, which councilor Lisel Petis said hurt the community.

Budget cuts came from each of the city’s nine departments, with parks and recreation and public works departments facing the highest cuts.

In Tuesday’s discussion, city staff suggested adding $ 979,144 back to the budget to supplement a long list of items, including computers and software, training of personnel and protective equipment for police and fire rescue. In addition to the things the city staff originally proposed, council members also voted to reinstate snacks and meals for boards and commissions.

Councilor Kathi Meyer also proposed reintroducing funds to preserve the landscape on the city medians. Several council members agreed, but Parks and Recreation Director Angela Cosby said it would cost about $ 100,000 to take care of the weeds. Cosby said the department would approve overtime pay for anyone interested, but that staff members are already working overtime on other projects due to the department being heavily understaffed. The city council ultimately decided not to put weed care into the new budget.

The city has so far exceeded its sales tax revenue by nearly $ 2.3 million. The city’s CFO Kim Weber said that if the municipality predicts the 2021 summer sales tax to correspond to 2020, the city will still exceed its projections by $ 4 million dollars, and summer tourism metal shows that the city is expected to see higher numbers than last year.

“This in no way gets us back to where we would have been if this was a normal year,” Weber said, adding that the predictions are still conservative.

Sloop, the one councilor who voted against the new budget, said she did so because she felt that not all of the items proposed in the staff proposal were absolutely necessary. Specifically, Sloop pointed to conferences, which are often free but require funding for travel, lodging and meals.

“That’s perspective, and that’s what the public sees,” Sloop said. “If we allow people to go to conferences and pay for meals and lodging, we ask our community to pay for it.”

Councilors Robin Crossan and Macy’s said it was important to send staff and councilors to conferences because they serve as a return to normalcy.

“I think we need to return to the best sense of normal that we can,” Crossan said. “We’ve put training and seminars and development on hold for over a year, and maybe we don’t send five people, we send two.”

The Council will revise the budget each month in the future and may make further changes at any time.

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