Summer public improvement projects and activities are in full swing at the city. It is also time to start prioritizing projects and activities for next year. Work that could not be completed this year because of timing or funding constraints and any new needs identified will be considered for the 2014 budget.
This is a good time for community members to let their elected officials know what they would like to see accomplished in the near future.
Community Funding Requests must be received by August 31st to be considered in the annual budget process. Although off cycle requests are considered, they are subject to the availability of any remaining funds. The format of this application form helps staff and elected officials assess each project according to a set of objective criteria.
The General Fund budget includes limited funding for these “mini grants” to other organizations that serve residents and promote the values and goals of the community. The Community Funding program is one way the City supports non-governmental organizations with special projects that supplement municipal government operations and enhance the quality of life in our community. The budget usually does not allow for full funding of all requests; however, the city has helped many organizations through this program.
The first budget work session with the city council will be scheduled in mid-August. The main objective will be to gain consensus on major priorities and budget assumptions. All department heads are given an opportunity to provide a mid-year update on their 2013 accomplishments and make recommendations for the 2014 budget.
The Colorado Revised Statutes establishes rules for the public hearing process and budget deadlines. We plan to have a proposed budget ready for the first regular council meeting in October, a couple weeks ahead of the deadline. At that meeting, a public hearing date will be set and then information about the budget will be published. Council must approve the budget before the end of 2013.
Distinct budgets for the General Fund, Conservation Trust Fund, SteamPlant Event Center Fund, and separate water and sewer operations within the Water and Wastewater Enterprise Fund are developed. Priorities within each budget are based on a number of factors, such as public safety, benefits to the community, avoidance of future capital spending and future cost efficiencies.
Setting a budget always involves some difficult choices. Most available dollars are dedicated to what are generally considered basic municipal services – fire and police protection, public works, land use, planning and administration. Many residents and business owners also place a high value on cultural and recreation amenities.
Expenditures approved in the budget should reflect the values and priorities of the community. It is our goal to use all resources for the greatest long-term good of Salida. We encourage citizens to speak to their council representatives and attend the public meetings so that broad community input can be considered in the budget process.