Hayden officials weigh tax increase
Steamboat Springs — Hayden officials are considering asking residents to raise taxes, with the goal of firming up the town’s coffers.
The Hayden Town Council will discuss the tax options Thursday during its regular meeting. Staff members will give their reports at 7 p.m., and the meeting will follow at 7:30.
The town is forecast to burn through its savings by the end of 2017.
“We know no one wants to raise taxes,” Mayor Jim Haskins said. “We’re going to let the voters decide.”
During the meeting, town council will look at the wording of potential ballot language. If approved by voters in November, the tax increases would go into effect Jan. 1.
One option is raising the sales tax from 4 percent to 4 1/2 percent, which would generate an additional $105,349 annually.
The other option being considered is raising the property tax to generate $143,500 in 2017.
Haskins said the town’s property tax revenue has dropped in recent years.
“We haven’t raised it in 25 years,” Haskin said.
Town council also has other options for increasing revenue.
Sales tax revenues could be projected less conservatively, though the town expects sales tax revenues to decrease in coming years.
The town could also choose to stop paying to store water, which would save about $32,000 annually.
Deferring maintenance projects is another option, though it is not preferred, because the town has deferred maintenance in the past.
The town could also raise its water and sanitary sewer tap fees.
In January, Hayden residents voted to allow commercial marijuana cultivation. The town would tax the marijuana and raise an estimated $143,500 each year.
Haskins does not want to bank on that, however, as no cultivation businesses have so far been built, and any tax revenue derived from such businesses would not come in time.
“If we realize anything at all from that, it may be a year or two down the line,” Haskins said. “We don’t think that is going to happen soon enough.”
Also during Thursday’s meeting, town council will discuss the salary range for the new town manager.
Town council members recently decided the initial search failed to identify the right candidate. Consequently, a new search will be undertaken, and town council is taking a look at the salary range with the hope of finding the right person.
Haskins said feedback they received from their recruiter indicated the salary might have limited the number of candidates.
Hayden advertised the town manager position at a salary of between $80,000 and $95,000.
Town council will review a survey of town manager salaries conducted by the Colorado Municipal League. The survey shows a salary range of between $100,954 and $140,514.
“I think we rank really low in that group,” Haskins said.
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