Like other towns and counties up and down the Roaring Fork Valley, the town of Basalt is hammering out its budget for next year. But first it’s also trying to shore up its 2015 funds. This year’s budget was supposed to be about $7 million. Now Town Council is considering adding more than $2.2 million more dollars to pay for unanticipated expenses.
“What happens is as you go through the year, there are typically going to be projects that come along,” says Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon. “In our case, it was the acquisition of affordable housing units. That takes up 1.5 million dollars.”
Basalt’s finance director says the timing — and prices — were right to pounce on more than a handful properties. The remaining increase is to cover assorted expenses. This is the largest late-season boost to the budget the town has seen in recent years. It would bring the 2015 budget to more than $9 million. Town Council is also considering next year’s budget, which is forecast at nearly $10.8 million. There will public hearings on both topics on December 8th.
Basalt is also putting together a clearer picture of what a park could look like on the Pan and Fork property, and it could come with a $6 million price tag. On Tuesday night, Town Council members reviewed a couple of similar concepts, which show terraced fields, trails, a mini beach... and what Town Manager Mike Scanlon calls an “events space.”
All told, those would cover a good portion of the more than two acres on the Pan and Fork parcel. “I think it’s the first time that we as staff have said, we’ve had enough discussion, we have enough work that’s being done by other committees, we need to be recognizing that there’s some really good park plans that are being developed,” says Scanlon. “And we need to move off the idea that square footage is going to determine anything."
The size of the park, compared to the size of development, has been a divisive issue in Basalt. A final park proposal is expected to go before Town Council in January, along with the estimated cost. That could run between $5.5 and $6 million, for purchasing some of the land and paying for improvements. Town Council will consider a more specific outline in a couple of months.