|Loveland - Oct. 2, 2007
As the Loveland City Council prepared to pass a 2008 budget that relies heavily on projected growth
and increasing revenues, Councilman Walt Skowron asked his colleagues to reconsider passing the
2008 budget in early October but instead wait until December when spending trends (thus city tax
revenues) could be better forecasted.
Skowron pleaded with his colleagues to consider a delay that will not impact the city in anyway but
instead allow the Council the opportunity to pass on the budget when the forecasts can be better
calibrated given the normal upswing of shopping that occurs in November and December.
He noted that 40% of world economists are projecting a worldwide recession and that Northern
Colorado is already experiencing many property foreclosures. He discussed the recent decline of the
U.S. Dollar in foreign markets and other negative national economic trends. Skowron's beef wasn't
the actual figures in the budget but instead the prudence of passing it too soon before next year's
revenues to the city could be accurately forecasted given larger economic events that are outside of
the control of Loveland's City Council.
Skowron noted that a number of foreclosed homes in the area have not been selling thus increasing
the inventory of empty homes in Loveland. Skowron stated, "only heavily discounted foreclosed
homes sell in Loveland anymore."
He asked his colleagues "are we on an island where we are immune from all these national
Mayor Larry Walsh responded, "I disagree with that in some respect, we are on an island, you talk
globally but locally things are fine." Mayor Pro Tem Pielin added, "You were the one who brought
the book to us and said we need a 6% reserve. It is a fairly flat budget [that] we can adjust.
Skowron defended his position by questioning upcoming decisions still not made regarding fire
services and other city obligations that may increase in cost thus busting the current budget as
proposed. In addition, Skowron mentioned Berthoudâ€™s financial problems and complained that
"everyone is forming library districts." Library districts are among the schemes used by local
governments to off-load spending obligations onto the taxpayers when revenues cannot meet
Normally quiet, Councilman Steve Dozier added his two cents by saying several times "the budget
document is a very liquid document" inferring the Council could change spending obligation instantly
if revenues do not meet budget projections in 2008.
Councilman Larry Heckel piled on by saying, "I kind of like you but you need to stop discouraging
the community with your comments ' we are an island.'" He promised, "by this time next year
everything will be very different."
Jan Brown also responded, "I moved here in 1985 when there really was a recession. I moved from
Nebraska where there really was a recession - in more ways than one. We are so far ahead of the
communities around us Loveland has done an excellent job. We ARE an island."
Perhaps the most sympathetic comments came from Councilman Daryl Klassen who reminisced
about a League of Cities meeting attended in Reno where they provided elected officials a course
entitled, "Guarding the Pocket Book." He stated, "I will adopt the budget with the caveat that we be
poised for early detection, as long as Council is aware of measures taken to look for early signs of
Mayor Walsh concluded the discussion by stating "our neighbors 10 miles to the North (indicating Ft.
Collins) didn't make tough decisions when they had falling revenue and now are faced with a deficit."
In the end, Council passed the proposed budget unanimously without taking a second look at the
projections or spending outlays.
|Council Ignores Cautions by Colleague of
Potential Recession Ahead
|Councilman Walt Skowron asks his
colleagues, "Are we on an island where we
are immune from all these national
|Councilman Larry Heckel responds
"You need to stop discouraging the
community with your comments - we are an