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Water rates may rise

Increase would help balance budget

Nick Foster

The combination of water being lost through old, corroded pipes and money being lost through old, corroded water meters drains money from the town of Hayden every day, Town Manager Rob Straebel said.

The town raised water rates this year to combat its monetary losses and, in a continuing effort to balance its budget, is considering raising rates again in 2004, and possibly again a few years later. The increase could be as much as 50 percent next year, which means less than $3 extra per month for the average user, Assistant Town Clerk Susan Irvine said.

Even with that increase, Hayden’s water rates would still be below average, Straebel said.

The Town Board will discuss increasing water rates at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Town Hall.

While expenditures have far outweighed revenues in terms of water usage and production, the town has been using money from its general fund to keep producing treated water, Straebel said. To balance the 2004 budget, rates must go up, Straebel said.

While the town considers raising rates, it also is working to stop the problems at their source, Straebel said.

The town has received a $283,000 Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grant to replace the oldest and most troublesome waterlines, and the town recently applied for a $164,400 Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grant to install radio-read water meters to replace the old ones.

Straebel said the new meters would reduce costs by eliminating the inaccurate meters and the need for multiple employees to read those meters.

In other business:

n A representative from consulting firm Winston and Associates will make a presentation Thursday night about revising the scope of work the company has agreed to do in relation to the town’s community planning efforts.

Senior Associate Bob Perletz will talk about the change in plans, which were made to eliminate duplicative work by separate planners, the town or developers, Perletz said.

“Some areas of community planning would be more efficient to have one person do it,” Perletz said.

Perletz also will discuss other changes made in the contract with the Gates Family Foundation, the group that gave the town a $158,000 grant for its growth studies. The changes are the result of other changes in plans over the nine months between when the grant proposal was written and now, Perletz said.

One change was having the Sunburst Ranch developers, 4S Development, pay for some of the planning efforts. Whereas the contract stated that the developers’ money may adversely influence the planning process, Perletz said there is no way the 4S funds could do so.

“It’s difficult to manipulate the (CommunityViz) software,” Perletz said. “You could do it, but then the whole program wouldn’t make any sense. There’s really no way to manipulate it.”

Perletz said the CommunityViz model for Hayden would probably be complete by the end of January, as he and others from Winston have been working on the model for more than a month now.

In other business:

n The Town Board will hear a request from a representative from the city of Steamboat Springs for a donation to the regional bus that travels from Steamboat to Craig daily. The Town Board has requested updated information about how many riders from Hayden ride the bus and how often.

n The Town Board will discuss reworking its snowplowing ordinance to eliminate jargon. The ordinance will not go through any major changes. Currently, the ordinance states that no one can be parked on main city streets between midnight and 6 a.m. during snowy months.


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