Castle Pines' new city manager, Don Van Wormer, hastily put together in two weeks a proposed $4.2 million 2014 budget that would give the city's four employees under him a 3 percent raise.
He told the News-Press recently there probably will be changes before the budget's formal presentation to council on Oct. 22, but currently he's proposing spending everything but about $24,000 the town gets in revenues, because he's comfortable with the eight months of operating funds, about $2.8 million, the city is carrying in its reserve fund.
In a written statement that accompanied the proposed budget, Van Wormer wrote that “the city has done an excellent job the past few years building cash reserves to utilize in case of unanticipated expenditures or shortfalls in revenues.”
Van Wormer, recently manager for Monte Vista, said in some towns he has managed, the reserve funds have been much less, as little as four months.
He said the current reserve fund of eight months is more than adequate, but it's expected to increase considerably at the end of October when The Canyons development is expected to pay $1 million in accordance with conditions of its 2009 annexation and zoning agreement.
Van Wormer said that will mean the city reserve fund will be at $3.8 million — giving the city about a year's operating funds in reserves, an even better cushion.
Van Wormer said additional expenses next year include a $6,000 increase in the city offices' lease and possibly about $300,000 more for road repairs.
He said sales tax revenues are expected to remain relatively flat, and without additional revenues, the additional expenses are possible because of some belt-tightening in departments and juggling funds.
It appeared much of the juggling was in the contingency line item, which last year had $508,000 in it, and in the proposed budget just has $126,000 in it — enough to cover the 3 percent in revenues that state law requires be reserved for the TABOR emergency fund.
Van Wormer said he would try to provide further clarification about the contingency change, but he couldn't be reach by deadline.
Van Wormer has given the proposed budget to council members to study and he will make a formal presentation at the next council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. Oct. 22.