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The Aspen Budget: Tales from the Campaign

Funds accounting, or governmental accounting, or municipal accounting is different than regular book-keeping.  It's pretty complicated. CAFR...what?  The City of Aspen has 6100 registered voters and 3200 actual voters per the last election.  The City of Aspen also has a huge budget.  It's 480 pages and weighs about 8 pounds.  

The total budgeted revenues for 2015 are $123,465,148.  Appropriations are budgeted at $124,206,420.  This includes $31,241,680 in inter-fund transfers.  An inter fund transfer is a double journal entry...so if you subtract that out the total budget is almost $93,000,000.   The operating budget is $60 million. Capital Outlays are $27.5 million and we pay $5.5 million in debt service.  

It doesn't take a Wharton MBA or a C.P.A. to know that is a lot of green.  Any way you slice it...Aspen is overflowing with money.   It's an incredible amount of cash flowing through the coffers of a very small...but high profile mountain town at the end of the road.  Hunter S. Thompson was right when he nick-named Aspen..."Fat City"

To call me a financial expert would be a compliment.  For most of the past 12 years i've been skiing and blogging and FBing and tweeting.  But my spider senses are tingling.  I'll be digging into the 2015 Aspen Budget. Trying to figure out why we need a new 55,000 sq ft City Hall with cost estimates of $40 mil....errrrr $80 mil....errrrr $120 mil.

Just because Aspen has an embarrassment of riches...doesn't mean we should keep making poor decisions about money and growth.  


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