The Windsor Town Board and staff talked big numbers — and some of which suggest a bright future for a growing community — during the annual budget work session Oct. 6.
Dean Moyer, Windsor’s director of finance, summed up the day-long conversation with a sense of optimism, citing 2013 as a potential “benchmark” year. His hope-filled outlook stemmed from month-after-month of growing sales tax, construction revenue and building permits in 2012 — all positive signs for a town that has been rebuilt in a turbulent financial market after the devastating 2008 tornado.
“We’ve always been really hesitant to increase our operating cost,” Moyer said. “If we can do more with less, that’s what we do. Predicting the future is always tricky, but I hope I’m right and we keep going like this.”
Specifically, Moyer said much of the conversation during the work sessions hinged on the town’s new parks and town staff benefits.
In addition to moving forward on Northern Lights Park in the Peakview Estates subdivision — the fourth ongoing park project under way — the town mulled potential increases to recreation services as part of a “cost recovery model,” expected to generate an additional $25,000 in 2013.
No fee increases have been made in the past three years, according to the packet, and the subtle hikes across the board could combat a decrease in program subsidies.
In addition to parks and recreation, staff benefits continued to be a hot-button issue. Officials agreed to pay increases for employees following previous talks about bringing 13 town employees up to the minimum average and reclassifying job descriptions, estimated to cost $54,000.
Only three new positions were called for in the 2013 budget – a new park maintenance technician, Community Recreation Center desk attendant and a fleet mechanic.
Those changes plus a 2 percent merit-based pay increase for employees are projected to cost about $278,000.
As the oil industry continues to grow in Weld County, so too has the amount of severance tax taken in by the town. The funds are based on the amount of industry-based employees in the area, and Windsor raked in more than $266,000 in 2012 – about 30 percent more than originally anticipated.
That money will be used to pay for street repairs that had been put off, including improvements to 8th Street, Ash Street and Medicine Man Court. Moyer emphasized the town currently does not rely on oil and gas money for town finances, but rather uses surpluses for these types of projects as it becomes available.
“You don’t know when it’s going to go away,” Moyer said, emphasizing the ebb and flow of funds like the severance tax and building permit revenue.
Moving forward, Moyer remained optimistic, especially as the Interstate 25/Colo. 392 interchange nears completion. He projected a boom in the areas west of downtown Windsor, though the impact remains to be seen.
“I think that will be the next thing that will pop,” he said with a sense of optimism. “That project has been a long time coming.”