Over the course of the last few months, City Council has been in the process of reviewing the Recommended 2019 Budget with the final public hearing and adoption vote scheduled for December 5. In total, there have been six public meetings on the budget including meeting with citizens in July at the beginning of the budget process.
The 2019 recommended spending budget has been developed with an emphasis on the four Strategic Plan fundamentals of:
- Public safety
- Planning and infrastructure
- Diversification of the economic base
- Communication, outreach and engagement
These are built upon the guiding principles of partnerships and intergovernmental relationships, and fiscal responsibility. The City’s Strategic Plan can be found here.
The City of Grand Junction is a full-service organization with over 35 distinct types of operations including:
- Emergency medical services, wildland fire fighting, 911 dispatch, police patrol, investigations, bomb squad, SWAT
- Parks, pools, trails, sports facilities, recreation programs
- Streets, engineering, construction, trash collection
- Water service, sewer service, golf, conference center, performance venues
- Destination marketing, legal, accounting, human resource management
As a service provider the City’s largest expense is labor with 653 full-time employees. The majority of these employees are in public safety operations serving the community 24 hours per day, every day.
The Recommended 2019 Budget reflects an increase of $12.6 million or 7.6% over 2018. The primary areas of increase include:
- New positions; employee wage adjustments of 3.5%; and a health insurance increase of 10%
- Lodging Tax increase; addition of the lodging tax increase authorized by voters November 6, 2018 for promotion and marketing of travel and tourism-related activities including sports-related tourism. This funding will be allocated to Visit Grand Junction, Grand Junction Air Alliance, and the Greater Grand Junction Sports Commission
- Completion of major capital projects including upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant and collection systems; the water supply, treatment and distribution systems; and completion of the 1.5-mile Monument Road Trail
- Increasing costs of operating expenses including fuel and technology improvements
- Continuation of funding replacement or purchase of new operating equipment and fleet including the addition of a tenth ambulance and a new brush engine for Wildland Fire Team deployment
- A projected ending General Fund balance of $26.9 million which is $8.7 million above or a 48% increase in fund balance projected in adopted 2018 budget.
Specific 2019 Recommended Budget highlights:
- Continue our investment in maintenance and reconstruction of existing street infrastructure; $6.2 million (partially funded by dollars approved by voters in spring 2017)
- Completion of major economic development projects in partnership with the Downtown Development Authority and private industry including $1.7 million for a Las Colonias Park river recreation amenity and $9 million in improvements to Two Rivers Convention Center
- Implement a partnership with CMU to employ 11 students in part-time/intern positions (this program has begun with smaller numbers in 2018 and is recommended to increase in 2019)
- Begin development of the Riverfront at Dos Rios; $1.1 million, including the Greenway at Dos Rios funded largely by grants
- Construction of 1.5-mile Monument Trail Road; $2.5 million
- Add 19 new positions including nine in public safety, and eight in planning and infrastructure including a special projects team to address shortages in seasonal labor
- Continue support and operation of the Visit Grand Junction destination marketing department, including new revenues that will be generated from the voter-approved increased lodging tax; $2.9 million
City Manager Greg Caton states, “This Recommended Budget is in direct alignment with City Council’s adopted Strategic Plan, which makes it a strong roadmap for our organization moving into the future. Staff has worked extremely hard with me over several months to develop a Recommended Budget that is based on a combination of the community’s current needs and desires as well as some more strategic efforts that will help to strengthen our local economy into the future.”
The final public hearing on the 2019 Recommended Budget will be held at the December 5 City Council meeting after which City Council will vote on adoption of the budget.
Access to all 2019 Recommended Budget documents can be found on the City’s website.
The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in
the Grand Junction City Hall Auditorium and public comment is encouraged.
Contact: Sam Rainguet, Communications Manager 970-244-1507 or firstname.lastname@example.org