Wellington Town Administrator Larry Lorentzen presented the budget for 2014 to the town trustees on Dec. 10. “Most items remain close to last year’s figures,” he said.
In his message to the board, he noted that most services will continue at current levels but that increases will be noted for the expansion of facilities and the development of parks.
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Mayor Travis Vieira called the budget “a good solid document” and praised Wellington finance director Mike Cummins as “one of the best around” in his position. “It’s nice to have someone that we have such faith in.”
Budgeted revenues for 2014 are projected at $12.4 million. A slight increase in the mill rate is related to the debt service for the water treatment plant. The town’s mill levy compares favorably with towns of similar size in north central Colorado.
Residential building permits are projected to be at 60 in 2014, even though at the time of this writing they had already reached 125 for 2013, a year when they were estimated at 30. Lorentzen explained that while optimism is in order, the estimate remains on the conservative side because of the experience of 2008 through 2011 when new building permits declined rapidly because of economic conditions.
Lorentzen describes the capital improvements budget as aggressive, something it has not been for several years. He notes that some funds are expected from infrastructure dedications by developers, meaning that not all budgeted funds will be outright cash expenditures by the town or from real cash revenues received. These expenditures will include $270,000 for the Interstate 25 underpass, $200,000 for the development of sports fields at the newly-acquired Thimmig property, $150,000 for paving Wilson Avenue between Sixth Street and the ballfields, $324,000 for widening Sixth Street at the Thimmig property and $1.8 million set aside for acquisition of water rights/emergency source. This final item has been included in the budget for several years but has not been an actual expenditure.
Budgeted expenditures for 2014 are projected at $17.4 million, net of infrastructure dedications. Specific amounts budgeted for expenditures can be identified in the respective fund budgets. In the sewer fund, nearly $4.2 million has been budgeted for the expansion of the town’s water waste treatment plant. Efforts to procure additional sources of water and associated plant and equipment will likely remain in the budged until this comes to pass. This line item has been in the budget since 2006 and may remain for several years. In the park fund, approximately $3.4 million is budgeted for park development.
Other items at the meeting included an announcement that the park formerly known as Buffalo Creek, soon to be developed, will now be known as Wellington Community Park.
Former trustee, David Noe, who served for 11 years, will be returning to the board as an interim member to replace Ernest Cienfuegos-Baca, who resigned because he plans to move out of Wellington. An election will be held in the spring.