Hayden continues 2012 budget discussion | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden continues 2012 budget discussion

— The town of Hayden is working to find room in its 2012 budget to add two or three part-time employees.

Hayden Mayor Jim Haskins said Sunday if the funding is available and approved by the Hayden Town Council next month, Hayden next year will add an extra employee to its administrative staff and in the police and public works departments.

"Everybody is working short staffed, and this would just be an attempt to give everyone a little more breathing room," he said.

He said the extra staff members would allow those departments to provide more training opportunities to their employees.

The proposed hires were discussed last week by the Town Council during one of the town's ongoing budget workshops. The series of workshops focusing on the proposed 2012 budget will conclude Wednesday with a discussion of Hayden's enterprise fund.

Haskins said this year's budget is projected to be nearly identical to the one approved by the Town Council last year with the exception of the addition of a few necessary capital improvement projects and a higher projected revenue from mineral leases. Town Manager David Torgler last week said the largest expenses in Hayden's 2012 budget will come from street repair and maintenance and infrastructure renovations.

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He also said this year's budget mostly consists of operating costs.

"Our budget is pretty flat revenue wise, and we're primarily making our projections based on the 2011 year end," he said. "We don't know yet how the economy is going to go, so we're being conservative."

Next year's proposed budget totals $3.7 million overall, he said.

Notable changes in that budget include an 11 percent drop in funding for public safety-related expenses that will come from the loss of a Hayden Police Department officer as well as a proposed reduction in the department's squad car fleet. Grant funding used to pay for the officer position was not renewed this year.

The 2012 budget also includes $150,000 for repainting of the town's water tank, which Torgler called the single most expensive project included in the budget so far.

Haskins said a lack of significant revenue increases in Hayden likely will prohibit the town from performing all of renovations and street repairs it might be able to initiate in a better economy.

The budget discussions come at a time when Hayden is collecting slightly more in sales tax revenue than last year. Sales tax figures released by the town last week show Hayden is on course to collect 6 percent more in sales tax revenues in 2011 than in 2010. The town so far has collected $685,684 in sales tax revenues and is just more than $60,000 ahead of the $763,000 they budgeted to receive in 2011.

Torgler said last week that any extra revenue from sales taxes likely will be put toward capital projects and additional road maintenance.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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