The city of Durango wants to hear from residents at its upcoming public workshop on the 2015 budget.
The workshop is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday in City Council Chambers at City Hall. The event is an opportunity for residents to learn more about the city’s budget and the process, a news release said.
“The annual budget is more than a financial document,” said City Manager Ron LeBlanc. “It also expresses community priorities and council goals, guides city operations and serves as a communication tool. We encourage the community to send us their innovative ideas and suggestions.”
Residents involved in the budget process have made suggestions that were implemented by city staff members over the years, said Sherri Dugdale, assistant to the city manager.
She cited an example: Up until 2010, the Durango Community Recreation Center was charging more for individual passes than for families and couples. Resident Joe Lewandowski told the city staff at the public meeting budget he felt the rates weren’t as favorable to single adults, and the city changed the rates. The current fee structure is the same rate for the first person and then 50 percent off the price of each subsequent family member living in the same household.
“It’s a great example of how public input can change policy or fees based on their observations or thoughts about it,” said Cathy Metz, parks and recreation director.
The budget process starts with the Durango City Council setting goals before the public workshop. City staff members prepare the budget, and it’s presented to the council for feedback and then adoption.
Total revenue for all operating funds, based on the adopted 2014 budget, is more than $58 million. Sales-tax receipts, which mostly fund city operations, are trending upward, according to a Durango budget PowerPoint presentation. Retail sales inside the city limits are taxed at a total tax rate of 7.9 percent, which includes a 2.9 percent state tax, a 2 percent county tax and a 3 percent city tax. The city also collects a 3 percent use tax and a 2 percent lodgers tax.
LeBlanc is expected to present the budget to City Council on Sept. 23. Councilors plan to hold a public hearing on Nov. 4, and a vote on final adoption is slated for Dec. 2.
Residents can also submit comments until Aug. 15 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the city manager’s office at 949 E. Second Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
The city of Durango has received awards for budgeting and financial reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for many years.
The association represents nearly 18,000 public finance officials throughout the U.S. and Canada. Its members are federal, state and local finance officials involved in planning, financing and implementing governmental operations in each of their administrations. The association’s mission is to identify, develop and advance fiscal strategies, policies and practices to benefit the public.
The city has won the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the last 30 consecutive years. The certificate was established in 1945 to encourage state and local governments to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that shows the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and recognizes governments that achieve that goal.
The city has also won the Distinguished Budget Award for the past six consecutive years. The Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program encourages and assists state and local governments to prepare budget documents of the highest quality that reflect guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and the association’s best practices, and recognizes governments that achieve that goal.