The Pagosa Springs Town Council voted last week to hire a new human resources/records clerk, but the debate lasted for over an hour and, in the end, the decision was not an easy one to make.
“We wanted to do all of the adds and deletes we have discussed so far,” Town Manager Greg Schulte explained as he drew the council members’ attention to the most up-to-date version of the 2015 budget in front of them, “so that you can kind of understand where we stand as you contemplate the staffing issue, which is really the only issue that is outstanding.”
Schulte then asked the councilors to flip through the pages of the budget and circle a few numbers. The general fund revenue for 2015 was projected to be $2,337,676. The 2015 sales tax projection was $1,841,971. The proposed general fund expenditures for 2015 were $2,382,344. He then asked them to subtract the expenditures from the revenues.
“What this shows,” Schulte explained, “is that the general fund, on an annual basis, is right now in deficit of $44,688.
“Now, that is a consequence of all those different things we have talked about. You’ll recall when we had the budget work session on service organizations and economic development, we did put in twenty thousand dollars for an economic development organization and twenty-five thousand dollars for economic development activities, and we said we were going to look at those as one-time things. That is part of the reason we are currently in the negative position in the general fund from the annual standpoint.”
Schulte admitted the end-of-year cash reserve projection for 2015 will be $1.4 million, “and I know that was a discussion point as to whether we should be considered over-reserved or not, but from a structural standpoint, right now we are spending more than what we are taking in for 2015.”
Councilor David Schanzenbaker said, “We can sit here at budget time and say, ‘I think we have too much,’ or ‘I don’t think we have too much,’ but we should adopt a policy for what we would like to see for our reserves.”
Councilor Clint Alley agreed, adding, “Once we decide what our policy should be for reserves, we need to find a way to intelligently spend the money that may be leftover after that. I don’t believe it is our job to hold onto the taxpayers’ money just because we don’t know what to do with it. It’s our job to figure out something to do with that money.”
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