The city of Durango’s public workshop this week on the 2015 budget was lightly attended, but it still gave some residents a chance to voice their concerns.
The budget process starts with the City Council setting goals before the public workshop. City staff members prepare the budget and it’s presented to the council for feedback and then adoption.
Resident John Mahoney expressed concern with the safety of the Roosa Avenue and Avenida del Sol intersection, saying it was ill-designed, and there are no sidewalks for the pedestrians who travel to Manna Soup Kitchen, a halfway house and the homeless shelter. He suggested building stairs to Schneider Park.
“There’s a crosswalk there, and we on the west side call it the crosswalk to nowhere because when you head east, you come to about three feet of bike lane and there’s a big iron safety barrier,” he said. “So the crosswalk doesn’t sort of go anywhere, and numerous people I’ve observed climbing over the rail and then sort of sliding down the hill to get to Schneider Park, or the bike path or to work their way into town.”
Mahoney also said schoolchildren wait for the bus at the southwest corner of the intersection and need a safe place to wait.
City Manager Ron LeBlanc said the city was familiar with the situation, but there were engineering and funding challenges.
“You’ve raised some really good points we want to address,” he said.
Sheri Rochford Figgs said she wanted the city to focus on arts and culture in next year’s budget.
Margaret Cozine, the new chairwoman of the Library Advisory Board, hoped the budget could help the Durango Public Library with more funding and longer operating hours.
The library, along with the Durango-La Plata Senior Center, is paid for by a joint city and La Plata County sales tax. The fund, which is managed by the county, is not currently sustainable, LeBlanc said.
Total revenue for all operating funds, based on the city’s adopted 2014 budget, is more than $58 million. Sales-tax receipts, which mostly pay for city operations, are trending upward, according to a city PowerPoint presentation on the budget.
Retail sales inside city limits are taxed at a total tax rate of 7.9 percent, which includes a 2.9 percent state tax, a 2 percent county tax and a 3 percent city tax. The city also collects a 3 percent use tax and a 2 percent lodgers tax.