City Manager Craig G. Kocian, in submitting his proposed budget to the City Council, stated: "You are confronted with the most complex and difficult set of forward-thinking public policy debates and decisions that I have witnessed in over 30 years of City management.
It is important to acknowledge the extraordinary difficulty for the City Council and staff to draft a budget that manages to both maintain services to the community and meet at least some of the important priorities of the Council. The 2005-2006 Budget comes at a unique time in Arvada's history when many forces - some expected, some not - have come together: the end of the Urban Renewal Authority's ability to collect tax increments in 2006; a limping economy; continually increasing salary and benefit costs; a host of unmet but necessary capital projects; the completion of 1998 roads construction projects, some of which exceeded budget due to uncontrollable circumstances; and much more."
The annual Spring Curbside Cleanup program was among a handful of cuts made to the City's budget in order to achieve a balanced model. During the past seven years, in preparation to adopt a new two-year budget the City Council has undertaken an extensive study of the needs of the community, prioritizing goals in a process called targeting." "Targeting" translates the City's longer-term strategic vision for community building into a two-year work program which is directly correlated to the City's two-year budget plan. The first step in each targeting process is the Arvada Citizen Survey, conducted last in August of 2003, which provides the City Council with detailed information from the community. With the data from the survey in hand the Council then turns to City departments to review work plans and begin prioritizing both existing and proposed projects and programs.
The major emphasis in the 2005 - 2006 Budget is to balance the ongoing needs of the community while achieving a portion of the targets prioritized by the City COuncil. Therefore, a number of existing programs were eliminated which, while appreciated by the community, are not a necessary service in meeting the health, safety and welfare needs of the community.
The most visible program eliminated in the 2005 - 2006 Budget is the annual Spring Curbside Cleanup program. This program has been offered to Arvada residents for the past 5 years and has been very popular; however, the program costs the City approximately $250,000 per year.
No layoffs or hiring freezes were included in the 2005 - 2006 Budget; however, due to the current employment market, City employees will experience a rise in medical rate premiums and limited annual raises, saving the City several million dollars over the course of the next five years.
In these uncertain economic times and the flattening of sales tax revenues, many Denver-metro areas have experiences layoffs, major service reductions, etc. The Arvada City Council's historically conservative budgeting methods have spared the City from such drastic action; nevertheless, as expenses continue to rise, it is clear that new sources of income will be a critical need in the future.