Paonia Town Council Looks at 2014 Budget
The Paonia Town Council held a contentious study session on next year’s approximately $2 million dollar budget last week, with declining revenues pushing a host of competitive agendas.
Tax revenues have fallen all over the western slope, said Elyse Ackerman, regional manager of the Department of Local Affairs, or DOLA, who attended the session.
“The whole western slope is seeing a secondary dip happening,” Ackerman says. “If you talk to
Ackerman says the
In the meantime, the Town of
Mayor Neal Schwieterman worried that hiring the manager means going into the town’s reserves to pay its share, and recommended lowering the proposed salary and eliminating the deputy town clerk position in order to ensure a balanced budget.
But Trustee Ross King spoke strongly in favor of the new position being fully funded and supported by a larger staff.
“A town manager could bring to the table the opportunity for this board to ask for analysis and study of a lot aspects of this town’s business,” King said. “Right now we’re trying to run this town by committees.”
King said he’d feel more comfortable with a town manager who would deliver reports to the council on those analyses, adding that “most of the people here haven’t managed anything.”
Another hot budgetary issue is the care of the Town’s four parks, including
Altonhofen attended the work session and challenged the Town’s plan for replacing him with public works employees, saying there were not enough hours nor the right equipment dedicated to the task.
“Not only do I not see the savings to the taxpayers of this town, I see it could cost them triple what it’s costing now,” Altonhofen said.
Finally, there was discussion about proposed cuts in the public safety budget: whacking the police chief’s salary, which is currently $98 thousand dollars, not including benefits. The new proposed salary is $72 thousand dollars.
Trustee Larry Wissbeck said even the lower number is “above the pay scale” for similar posts in
Wissbeck said Scott Leon had been doing two jobs for the 98 thousand dollar salary, serving as both chief of police and public works director. Now Travis Loberg is the public works director and
There were also discussions about delaying a proposed water treatment project, and about the Town’s financial obligations to the
The council must ratify its budget in December.