The good news is that Colfax passed its budget on time. The bad news? The city expects to be in the red for another two years. City council members adopted a two-year operating budget for 2010-11 and 2011-12 on Thursday night, nearly two weeks before the July 1 deadline. The council also opted to renew the contract of City Manager Bruce Kranz for another year at the same $75,000 salary. Both general fund budgets have expected shortfalls – $3,143 in 2010-11 and $19,608 in 2011-12. At $1.1 million, next year’s budget is 17 percent lower than 2009-2010. The operating budget for 2011-12 will also be lower, at $1.13 million. Those numbers could change based on whether the state is able to come through with promised funding – like gas taxes and reimbursement for an underground storage tank – amid its own budget struggles. This year alone, the city has lost nearly $150,000 in state programs, Kranz said. “We are asking you to approve this budget fully expecting there will be revisions down the road,” Kranz told council members. Kranz said the deficits could have been much deeper without significant cuts made by the city in the past fiscal year. In all, Colfax was able to save $217,000 in general fund money by lowering the city manager’s pay from $135,000 to $75,000, eliminating a public works director, maintenance worker and part-time administrative assistant, replacing the wastewater treatment plant operator with a lower-cost contract operator and replacing two city trucks in need of constant repair. “We could have been looking at a $1 million or more shortfall,” Kranz said. Adopting two budgets at once was a tactical move made in the interest of financial transparency as the city fights costs associated with a wastewater treatment plant-related lawsuit brought by Allen and Nancy Edwards. Though the city settled in 2008, contempt charges filed earlier this year allege Colfax violated the agreement numerous times. Now the plaintiff’s attorneys are asking that the court order the city to pay $186,203 in attorney fees and other costs. “With a lawsuit looming, it’s important to demonstrate where we are financially…we believed it would be best to show a two-year budget,” Kranz explained. Adopting a timely budget is another significant step, said Mayor Josh Alpine. “The city has not been able to pass a budget by July 1 in many years,” Alpine said. “I think it’s an important thing to show we’re operational…and able to meet timelines.” On a lighter note, Mayor Pro Tem Ken Delfino presented Mayor Alpine with a 46-star American flag on behalf of the Kiwanis Club, representing the first flag to fly over the city of Colfax when it was incorporated in 1910. It had long been incorrectly assumed that the first Colfax flag had 48 stars, but the 48-star flag didn’t debut until two years later, when Arizona and New Mexico were added to the Union.