By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
The Board of Trustees (BOT) held a special meeting Monday night to consider a resolution authorizing a submittal of an energy/mineral impact grant to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for the proposed wastewater treatment plant improvements. The hasty meeting was called because it was
recently discovered that the deadline for applying for the grant was August 1, rather than August 31, as was previously believed. Since they were holding a special meeting, the Town Staff also put forth a resolution to amend previously passed resolution about the formation of a library district, the formation of which is also up against a hard deadline if the issue is to go before the voters on the November 5, ballot. Not surprisingly, both resolutions were passed without too much discussion in a 6 to 0 vote (Trustee/Mayor Pro Tem Kirk Udovich was out of town).
What was discussed, at length, at the previously scheduled workshop, which followed the special meeting, were the results of the Town’s 2012 financial audit, and the 2013 mid-year budget adjustments. The findings for the audit were, according to Mayor Julie Van Domelen, “pretty good.” She noted that there were a few areas concerning how certain expenditures and revenues in various funds were posted, and certain accounting procedures needed to tweaked, because of new state regulations, new accounting software, and a new financial officer, all since the end of the 2012 fiscal year. Van Domelen was confident that new Finance Director Tony Cavalier would have everything in order and up to snuff in the coming months; just in time for the next budget cycle!
What Van Domelen, and Trustee Sandy Banta were not particularly confident nor happy about was the ability of the Parks & Recreation Department to get over-budget spending under control. This has become a pet peeve for the two elected officials, who are annoyed that over-spending by the department for the last several years has been eating into the Parks & Rec.’s reserve funds. Both Banta and Van Domelen are of the mind that if you over-spend your estimated budget on one line item, say color printing, then you decrease your spending on another line item, say seminars. That apparently has not been the way things have been operating. Van Domelen and Banta were adamant that this has to change. One solution offered was a sales tax increase, to be earmarked specifically for Parks & Rec. programs. Neither Van Domelen nor Banta felt that throwing more money at an over-spending problem was a sustainable option. Another option was combining and streamlining Parks & Rec. with the Public Works Department with both budgets being combined in the general fund to better utilize and track funds. There was also talk about setting up a “citizens audit committee,” the idea being that this will bring another level of transparency and oversight to the process.