Snowmass Unveils Ambitious $31 Million Budget for 2024, Prioritizing Community Infrastructure

Stephanie Kroll

Snowmass, a picturesque town nestled in the Rocky Mountains, is gearing up for a transformative year in 2024 with a proposed budget of $72 million, allocating a significant portion—$31 million—to crucial capital projects. The Snowmass Village Town Council, after careful deliberation, made final adjustments to the budget during their third session on Monday night, aiming to strike a balance between community development and financial responsibility.

The heart of the budget lies in a strategic allocation of $31 million to various key projects, primarily focusing on transportation, land, road, and housing initiatives. Town Manager Clint Kinney revealed that these investments would be primarily funded through the town's accumulated reserves, reflecting prudent financial planning.

  1. Mall Transit Plaza Improvements ($9.5 million): Enhancing the town's transit hub to cater to the growing needs of residents and visitors alike.

  2. Town Park Improvements ($3.4 million): Revitalizing the communal spaces at Town Park for increased recreational opportunities.

  3. Brush Creek and Kearns Road Culvert Construction ($2.7 million): Addressing critical infrastructure needs following a culvert failure in June 2023.

  4. Faraway Apartments Purchase for Workforce Housing ($4.6 million): Acquiring 10 units to bolster affordable housing options for the local workforce.

Revenue and Fiscal Responsibility:

Snowmass anticipates generating approximately $61.4 million in revenue for the year 2024. Emphasizing a conservative approach, Kinney stated during the budget meetings that the town intentionally underestimates revenues and overestimates expenses to ensure financial stability.

Mill Levy Adjustment:

In response to a projected 85% increase in property values, the Town Council took proactive measures to alleviate the burden on taxpayers. Council members decided to lower mill levy rates, ensuring that the cost increase on homeowners is moderated. The chosen rate, decided on Monday night, will result in homeowners paying $142.50 more per mill in property taxes compared to 2023, contributing an additional $1.1 million to the town's revenue.

Council members engaged in thoughtful discussions regarding various scenarios for mill levy changes, weighing the need for increased funds for road projects against reducing the tax burden on residents. Council Member Tom Fridstein advocated for lessening the cost burden on taxpayers, highlighting the unique impact of property taxes on residents and part-time residents.

After considering multiple proposals, the council reached a compromise, opting for an in-between option that would reduce the mill by two points. Mayor Bill Madsen emphasized the simplicity and effectiveness of this scenario in communicating with the public, ensuring a balanced approach.

Town Manager Clint Kinney assured the council of slight adjustments to the budget before the official adoption on November 6. These changes would accommodate pay increases for transportation drivers, addressing concerns about potential driver migration to RFTA due to a recent pay hike.

As Snowmass prepares to embark on a year of significant development and community enhancement, the carefully crafted 2024 budget reflects the town's commitment to responsible financial management, infrastructure improvement, and a thriving community. The collaboration between the Town Council and the community at large is poised to pave the way for a prosperous and sustainable future in the stunning mountain town of Snowmass.

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