The Dolores Town Board approved a $1.5 million budget for 2020 that funds a variety of services, and includes infrastructure upgrades and recreation projects.
The budget is balanced, said town treasurer Tricia Gibson, meaning no fund has expenditures in excess of available resources, reserves and fund balances.
“To be conservative, we underestimate revenues, and overestimate expenses,” Gibson said.
The budgeted expenditures are $618,572 for the General Fund, $378,066 for the Street Fund, $285,584 for the Water Fund, $199,526 for the Sewer Fund, and $41,500 for the Conservation Trust Fund. Capital improvements total $278,000 for 2020 for all departments.
A brisk economy and rising property values improved sales and property tax revenues, town officials said.
The General Fund increased by 46% as a result of additional tax revenues, plus a $25,000 state grant to update the land use code, and $41,500 from the state conservation fund.
Revenue collected from the town’s 3.5% sales tax is trending upward. In 2019, the town collected $458,144 in sales taxes, up from the 2018 total of $377,407, a 21% increase. In 2017, sales tax revenue was $366,124.
In 2019, the total assessed property value for all Dolores properties is estimated at $8.9 million, an increase from the 2018 assessed property value of $8.3 million, according to the Montezuma County Assessor.
The General Fund budget includes the Montezuma County Sheriff’s contract for $194,500, an increase of 3% from the previous year.
Contract sheriff services include an average of 80 hours per week of patrol services within Dolores and enforcement of town ordinances, traffic laws and accident investigations.
Total estimated 2020 revenues from taxes, utility fees and grants come in at an estimated $1.1 million, below the estimated expenditures of $1.5 million.
To help cover costs needed infrastructure improvements, the town is applying for grants, but if not successful, officials foresee dipping into its reserves of $2.1 million to make up the difference.
“Although the 2020 budget calls for the spend down of fund balances in certain funds, the Town still holds reserves in all funds to offset any dramatic decline in revenues,” according to the 2020 budget report.
A major expense for 2020 is a $645,000 project to replace 50-year-old water lines beneath Colorado Highway 145. Nine deteriorating lines need to be replaced before the highway is repaved in 2021 by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
To help pay for the project, the town is seeking a $322,000 grant from the Department of Local Affairs, and may consider taking out a low-interest loan.
“Both water and wastewater treatment plants are in good condition, but repairs are necessary,” states the budget report.
The town has budgeted $91,500 toward the playground project at Joe Rowell Park planned for installation in spring and summer. Town officials are also applying for a $173,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant for the project. After a bidding process, Play by Design Inc. was chosen to build the playground with local volunteers. This fall, Dolores was awarded an $80,000 grant from KaBoom! for playground equipment for the Joe Rowell Park playground site. Joe Rowell Park is also budgeted for $10,000 in irrigation upgrades to sprinklers.
Improved internet broadband is needed in Dolores, according to the budget report, and options will be explored.
Other budget highlightsTown employees will receive a 4% increase in wages. Staffing remains the same as 2019, and includes four public works employees, a seasonal park employee, part-time building inspector, treasurer, clerk, assistant clerk and town manager.The Water Fund budget includes $58,000 for a new chlorinator treatment system required by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.The Street Fund budget includes chip-sealing pavement on Fourth and Fifth streets, and $42,000 for the purchase of a low-mileage, used dump truck to replace one that is worn out,In 2020, the town will pay Four Corners Recycling $1,500 for its services, $1,800 toward the Senior Center, $3,000 toward the Dolores Chamber of Commerce, $800 toward the MOCO bus and $500 toward trail maintenance.Dolores officials will be researching options for solar power in 2020 to offset electric costs, which represent nearly 6.5% of operations in all firstname.lastname@example.org