By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley)– On Jan. 12, the Town Council voted to create a Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee to seek community participation and input in the review and recommendation process for the annual Town budget.
Due to rising costs and flattened revenues, worsened by the economic impacts of COVID, major budget cuts have been proposed to help balance the upcoming 2021-22 annual budget. In late 2020, the Town presented a sales tax measure to Apple Valley residents for consideration on the November ballot, which was ultimately rejected by voters. If passed, the measure would have generated an additional $6-7 million dollars to be used for general fund services such as police officers, parks and fields, recreation programming, and more.
This host of factors required the Town to make even deeper cuts, including to prominent services and programs such as the Recreation Department’s After School Activity Program, Day Camp, and Aquatics Center. Hiring freezes were also implemented. Other considerations not yet enacted include the closure of the municipal Apple Valley Golf Course, which would save an estimated half million dollars per budget year. Other potential cost savings include reducing the number of police deputies as well as Town staff furloughs.
“Prior to making even more drastic budget cuts, the Town Council wants to hear from the community. After the election, many residents expressed concern about what should and should not be cut,” said Mayor Curt Emick. “This committee, and the subsequent public budget workshops, will ensure that our residents and user groups have an opportunity to share their ideas about how we address this looming budget gap. I’m optimistic the community will come together to find solutions to these issues.”
Committee members will help advise the Town Council on the prioritization of how Town dollars are spent and will review and discuss financial reports and the current year’s revenue and expenditure projections. Committee members will be asked to take information learned in the meetings back into the community and to bring questions/concerns back to the committee for further discussion.
The 15-member Committee will include all five Councilmembers and ten community members, two appointed by each Councilmember. The Town Council desires a representation of select user groups to include, but not limited to development, aquatics, recreation. Members must reside in the Town limits or within the Sphere of Influence of the Town.
Applications are due Feb. 5 and members will be appointed at the Feb. 9 Town Council meeting. The Committee is expected to meet once in February and twice a month in March, April and potentially May. All meetings will be livestreamed for public viewing.
For more information or to download an application visit: www.av.town/CBAC
Please email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.