Municipal event to focus on long-term needs

City provides a week of opportunity for citizen input

The city will hold a series of meetings as part of Cities and Towns Week to hear from the public about long-term infrastructure needs and how to pay for them. Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald file

The city will hold a series of meetings as part of Cities and Towns Week to hear from the public about long-term infrastructure needs and how to pay for them.

A new police station, better storm drainage, upgraded sidewalks and many other construction projects are all needed in the city, but paying for them is challenging.

There are an estimated $210 million in long-term projects that are not listed on the city’s five-year plan, said Assistant City Manager Amber Blake.

“We currently don’t have a mechanism to pay for these needs,” she said.

[image:1,mughshot]As part of Cities and Towns Week, Durango City Council and city staff will hold a series of meetings to hear from residents about their priorities and ask for ideas about how to fund projects in the future, she said.

Staff plans to focus more on construction projects that are funded by general city tax, such as new city buildings and upgrades to streets and sidewalks. The city’s website and online security are also funded by general sales taxes.

The Parks and Recreation Department, city utilities and transit all have dedicated sources of funding.

While the city holds annual budget meetings, Blake expects feedback from these meetings to help the city prioritize projects for several years.

Unlike annual budget planning, the city’s focus is going to be high level rather than project-by-project planning.

“We’re casting a much larger net,” Blake said.

The meetings will cover how the city currently funds projects and some of the options for raising revenue, such as increasing sales taxes and property taxes. But the city is also interested in creative ideas.

“People in the community may have revenue-generating ideas that we haven’t thought of,” Blake said.

mshinn@durangoherald.com

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