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Cortez advances 2017 budget; clerk wins state honor

Cortez council also advances ’17 budget
Cortez City Clerk Linda Smith holds her award for Colorado Clerk of the Year, which she won last month from the Colorado Municipal Clerks Association. From left are city councilor Jill Carlson, Mayor Karen Sheek, councilor Bob Archibeque, Smith and councilors Ty Keel, Shawna McLaughlin and Orly Lucero.

Cortez City Clerk Linda Smith has been named the Clerk of the Year by the Colorado Municipal Clerks Association.

She was presented the award at the association’s annual conference last month after City Manager Shane Hale nominated her for the honor. Council members recognized her at their meeting Tuesday.

“It was special,” Smith said. “I feel really honored.”

Smith has worked for more than two decades as city clerk, administering elections and assisting citizens with liquor licenses and other permits. Smith’s family and friends crowded the council chambers as she was recognized for the award.

Hale said Smith goes above and beyond working as clerk. He said once during an election, a man turned in his ballot but forgot to sign it, so Smith drove to the man’s house to make sure it got signed.

“I think she’s awesome,” Hale said. “She deserves this.”

Hale and Mayor Karen Sheek traveled to Denver for the conference when Smith was awarded the honor. Hale said there was big applause from the crowd when Smith was announced the winner.

Sheek, along with former mayor Dan Porter and council member Tom Butler, submitted letters of support for Smith, commending her for her years of service for the city.

“We are really proud and really pleased that she won this,” Sheek said.

Smith said though she isn’t originally from Cortez, it’s become her home. She thanked council members and city staff for their support.

“The city council takes care of their employees,” she said. “Thank you all.”

Council passes ‘17 budget

Also Tuesday, council members passed on first reading the city budget for 2017. The total proposed budget for 2017 is $30,819,841.

The council will hold a public hearing and second reading on the budget ordinance at their next meeting, on Dec. 13.

The proposal is a decrease of $1,036,000 from the 2016 budget, according to city documents. The general fund is about $12.8 million, with the remaining funds going into enterprise funds such as water, refuse, airport, dispatch center, recreation center, hydro plant and Cortez Community Network, which is for the city’s fiber internet infrastructure.

About 63 percent, or $19.2 million, of the 2017 budget is allocated to operations, including staffing costs. About 22 percent, or $6.8 million, is devoted to capital projects and about 7 percent, or $2.1 million, is allocated for interfund services. About 5 percent, or $1.4 million, is allocated for debt service, about 4 percent, or $1.1 million is allocated for depreciation and less than one percent is allocated for grants.

Also Tuesday, the council voted to approve a final reallocation for the 2016 budget, which the city is allowed to do after eight months of the fiscal year. The budget will be lowered by about $2.3 million, from $31.9 million to $29.6 million. That money will be reallocated to the 2017 for capital projects that were planned for 2016 but have been delayed to next year, finance director Kathi Moss said.