The COVID-19 situation should cause a new analysis of the city of Durango’s finances.
City Council must act now or de facto erode our reserve funds. These suggestions avoid layoffs and protect locals:
Embrace citizens who encourage change rather than citizens who protect their special department, project or political friend.Review revenues, expenses and balance sheets every month.Enact a sewer debt surcharge on all 7,000 accounts. The $3.3 million per year debt payment for the sewer plant may become problematic as commercial activity slows. Businesses pay more than their fair share due to the large usage charge. Durango’s rate structure fails when businesses reduce sewer service.Refund past punitive water bills, which will help stimulate the economy. The water fund war chest equals $17 million and citizens have not approved debt for a new water plant.Eliminate the temporary recycling surcharge.Evaluate all funded Parks and Recreation capital projects, totaling $18 million. The ballot language was clear the dedicated sales taxes are for maintenance.Discuss ballot issues that will temporarily remove restrictions on the use of dedicated parks and recreation sales tax revenues so that critical operations continue.Freeze hiring new employees and funding outside contracts.Consider selling the city-owned residential condominiums.Prioritize the replacement of $1.6 million of vehicles to those that can be purchased locally.Change the city employee platinum health insurance plan, budgeted to cost $6.7 million.Compare the city employee pay plan to local employers, not Front Range cities.John SimpsonDurango