Hayden to approve budget | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden to approve budget

Final proposal, parks plan, water rates on tonight's agenda

If you go

What: Hayden Town Board meeting

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave.

— Hayden trustees are scheduled to approve a 2009 budget with some slight revisions tonight.

At its last meeting of the year, the Town Board will discuss the finalized budget, the parks and recreation master plan and a proposed water rate increase.

The town finance team has adjusted its 2008 sales tax revenue projections down from the budgeted $1.17 million to about $1.12 million. It expects collections in 2009 to be close to that smaller figure.

Hayden hasn’t hit a shortfall, Town Manager Russ Martin said, because the town adjusted the projected sales tax revenue down in July and trimmed expenditures.

“We still expect to have a positive balance in 2008,” he said.

The sales tax revenue expected in 2009 is nearly $89,000 more than the sales tax revenue in 2007. Since presenting the budget draft proposal, Martin and Finance Director Lisa Dowling have tweaked a few figures.

The town must pay 34 percent more in worker’s compensation costs than expected next year, which amounts to about $5,700. Hayden officials also plan to put $10,000 toward renovations at Solandt Memorial Hospital and $6,000 toward renovations at the Hayden Heritage Center. The town also added a couple thousand dollars to replace and improve trees along Jefferson Avenue.

The town planned some wiggle room in case revenues don’t come in as expected, Martin said.

“If we’re not as rosy as we’re projecting, staff has already got some areas in some of the projects we have to do for 2009 that we can adjust, as well,” Martin said.

As budgeted, the town will be nearly $5,000 in the black next year and has planned an additional $22,500 in contingency funding.

Also at tonight’s meeting, town trustees are scheduled to approve the Hayden Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Space Master Plan. The project involved surveying and data collection aimed at guiding the future of Hayden’s parks and trails.

Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Hockett said the master plan would help the town plot its path.

“Trail-planning is one of our main goals of this,” Hockett said. “Eventually, I’d like to work it into a county trail plan, if not a bi-county trail plan with Moffat County. This is a start; this gets us going.”

Hockett said she already had used the data from the master plan, put together by Broomfield-based consultants GreenPlay, LLC, to apply for grants. She eventually would like to see a core trail in Hayden, and residents said improved Yampa River access also was a priority.

Also on tonight’s agenda are plans to increase water use rates in 2009.

Customers will pay 5 percent more than in 2008, Martin said, but base rates will remain the same. That increase puts monthly fees at $3.15 for a town residence that uses less than 6,000 gallons. The base rate remains $15.95 a month. Seniors will continue to pay less than other residents, and their base rate remains $9.57 a month.

The town typically increases rates about 5 percent a year, Martin said.

“We’re trying to just slowly keep up and make sure we don’t have to jack rates up in one year,” he said.

As part of that change, the town plans to shift the cost of replacing water meters that break as a result of residents’ negligence. Previously, the town charged a flat $75 to replace a meter. Starting next year, Hayden plans to bill the customer for the cost of the meter, which typically is more than $100.

“Everyone needs to check their water meter to see if it’s freezing,” Martin said. “They’re going to be responsible for that.”

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