November 20, 2014 Vol. 13 No. 52
Council adopts 2015 budget
Written by Jeanne Davant   

Happy Winner

112014_TurkeyShoot1 112014_TurkeyShoot2 112014_TurkeyShoot3 112014_TurkeyShoot4 112014_TurkeyShoot5

Top, Manitou Springs resident Sara Keller is all smiles after winning a 15.2-pound turkey at Tuesday evening’s Turkey Shoot, an annual fundraiser at City Hall for the Manitou Springs Volunteer Fire Department. The prize was especially meaningful since it came on Sara’s birthday. Several hundred area residents attended the event, which in addition to Thanskgiving turkeys also featured a silent auction.
Second from top, Handling tickets at the Turkey Shoot Tuesday evening were, from left, Steve Duker, Brad Walters and John Nichols.
Third from top, Members of Manitou Springs Boy Scout Troop 18 helped with a variety of jobs.
Fourth from top, Fire chief Keith Buckmiller, center, presents a turkey to a lucky winner as announcer Steve Schopper looks on.
Bottom, the silent auction proved extremely popular with the hundreds of attendees.

Photos by Larry Ferguson

Manitou Springs City Council passed on first reading a 2015 budget that estimates General Fund revenues of almost $7.7 million, expenditures of $6.6 million, and a reserve of a little more than $1 million.

Council made few changes Tuesday in the draft budget it has been working on for more than a month.

Council members approved a $2,500 appropriation for a document storage pod at the Public Works facility but declined to fund wildlife-resistant trash containers and extra funds for materials and technical equipment related to Phase II of the Manitou Aquifer Study.

Police Chief Joe Ribeiro had requested $15,000 as “seed money” to replace municipal trash cans with bear-proof trash containers, which would cost about $2,000 each, and to educate citizens about preventing bears from raiding garbage cans.

“We want to set a good example,” Ribeiro said.

Nancy Wilson, a resident of Pilot Knob Avenue, told Council she is part of a group of citizens who have been exploring how to deal with bears getting into garbage.

Wilson said that, according to the Colorado Department of Wildlife, nine bears have been euthanized and three more relocated in the Pikes Peak region this year.

“Aspen and Vail have had great success by requiring bear-resistant containers,” Ribeiro said. But Councilwoman Coreen Toll said trash collection rates in Manitou would rise if the city required bear-proof containers.

Council has approved a $78,000 proposal from the Mineral Springs Foundation for Phase II of the aquifer study but declined to add $4,940 to the budget for estimated costs not included in the original proposal.

The study will be conducted by John Shomaker & Associates of Albuquerque, which performed Phase I of the study. Phase II involves drilling a well in Upper Williams Canyon and taking measurements to monitor the aquifer over time. It aims to determine how the aquifer is recharged and evaluate the effects of the Waldo Canyon fire.

Although the requests regarding bear-proof containers and additional funds for the aquifer study were not included in the 2015 budget, that does not mean they won’t be funded. Council could amend the budget during the year to authorize the expenditures.

“I recommend we don’t include these costs in the budget,” Mayor Marc Snyder said. “My goal is to get to a 17 percent (General Fund) reserve; we’re closer to 16 percent.”

Snyder said he was hesitant to include estimated costs in the budget that could change when final costs are determined.

He described the trash-container allocation as “a dartboard number” and said Council would revisit the issue when a plan is in place.

“I think we’ve shown a commitment to funding the aquifer study, but I’m still going to urge that we go slow,” Snyder said. “I think we don’t amend the budget at this time but wait until the actual contractor proposals come in. I want to see the whole project costed out. Before we actually authorize any expenditures, we’re going to want every T crossed and every I dotted.”

Council is scheduled to approve the final version of the 2015 budget Dec. 2.