Hayden releases draft budget | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden releases draft budget

Town's growth affects both sides of 2008's balance sheet

Melinda Dudley

— The town of Hayden released the first draft of its 2008 budget this week, detailing how town officials plan to spend nearly $3.5 million of revenue bolstered by double-digit growth in airport sales taxes.

The additional revenue will fund rising expenditures in the growing town, such as improvements to public safety and the Hayden Planning Department.

The proposed budget is balanced, with general fund and utility revenues exceeding planned expenditures by nearly $40,000. Additionally, two percent of sales tax revenues will be set aside for a contingency fund, in case of unforeseen expenses.

The first draft of the budget for the 2008 calendar and fiscal year was delivered to the Town Board of Trustees on Monday night, Hayden Finance Director Lisa Dowling said. Budget considerations by the board will begin at a budget workshop later this month. That meeting has yet to be scheduled.

Rising costs in Hayden continue to be funded primarily by increases in sales tax revenue from Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Sales tax revenue is expected to rise by 11 percent – or $115,800 – in 2008, due to the expected addition of 15,000 airline seats during the upcoming ski season. The airport represents 44.5 percent of Hayden’s sales tax revenue.

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Changes to the budget may be made in the coming months depending on the outcome of a use tax on building materials that will be considered in the Nov. 6 election and an energy impact grant application for a new police station.

The grant hearing will take place Oct. 18 and 19 in Westcliffe, and a decision is expected in December.

The site has already been chosen for the new police station, and an architect has designed a structure meant to relieve the force of its current cramped quarters in Town Hall, Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch said Tuesday.

Additional public safety expenditures include salary increases and the purchase of digital cameras for each patrol vehicle.

For the first draft of the budget, department heads each submitted a budget to Town Manager Russ Martin, who made preliminary cuts in order to balance the budget, Dowling said.

Expenditures are rising in several areas, including compensation packages for Hayden employees. Health care costs are anticipated to rise as much as 20 percent for next year, and salaries are rising in an effort to keep employee wages competitive.

Planning Department expenses are also rising, in accordance with increasing development in the Hayden area. Budgeted expenditures will more than triple from $4,200 to $13,750.

Planned projects for the Street Department include a redesign of Poplar Street, paving of Park Trailer Park, culverts on Lincoln Avenue, and the installation of drain pans near the Westwind Townhomes.

Mayor Pro-tem Chuck Grobe anticipates budget discussions will go relatively smoothly. The Town Board of Trustees already has been discussing many of the large proposed projects during the past few months, he said.

Grobe described the process of finalizing the budget as “juggling” to find a place for all of the projects the town wants to undertake now and during the next few years.

“There’s really no points of real contention, just different philosophies,” Grobe said.

The board is expected to approve the final budget at its Dec. 6 meeting, Dowling said. By law, the budget must in place by Dec. 10.

– To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or email mdudley@steamboatpilot.com