Hayden lifts water restrictions

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— The Hayden Town Board agreed Thursday night to lift water restrictions that have been on the town since late summer. The only exception will be for key pump station users who will be asked to take no more that 10,000 gallons of water.

Until Thursday night's meeting, Hayden residents were not allowed to water their lawns or take more than 5,000 gallons from the key pump station.

Water levels in the Yampa River have risen since the decision to restrict usage was made, and residents have been asking that the restrictions be lifted, Town Clerk Lisa Johnston said.

"Residents need to water their livestock in the winter," she said, "and 5,000 gallons is not enough."

Water use in the town of Hayden is minimal these days, at about 250,000 gallons of water a day.

The board set the key pump limit at 10,000 after Mayor Chuck Grobe expressed concern over users who take more water than they need and sell it.

Johnston agreed that 10,000 gallons was "very fair."

"There aren't many households who will need more water than that," she said.

Though the restrictions have been lifted, board trustees expressed concerns for next year.

"We are in the middle of the worst drought in Colorado history," Grobe said. "I want people to keep thinking about conserving water."

In other business, the town of Hayden will not be hiring a fifth police officer. Police Chief Jody Lenahan asked the town for $54,000 to cover the salary and benefits of an additional officer.

The money would come out of the town's budget for the first year, he said, but a possible COPS grant effective in 2004 could be used to cover 75 percent of the costs after that.

"(The fifth officer) would ensure that at least one guy is on the street at all times," Lenahan said.

He cited a rise in domestic calls as further reason to add another member to the Hayden police force.

The board was not convinced.

"I'd like to see better management of the police force," Trustee Richard Hagins said.

"We are within the national standards (of police to population ratio)," Town Manager Rob Straebel said. "I don't think we need an additional police officer at this time."

Lenahan said he was only trying to get ahead of the curve before a possible annexation increased the population of the town.

"If the annexation goes through, they will be taking it slow," Trustee Lorraine Johnson said. "We will have time."

The board asked Lenahan to make his request again next year.

The board discussed draft three of the 2003 budget. On Thursday evening, the proposed budget was still $50,000 over revenue.

Cuts were made to the equipment replacement funds of the public works, parks and public safety departments.

The town will not be funding a utility snow machine and groomer for a proposed cross country ski trail at Dry Creek Park in the 2003 budget.

A $5,000 cut was made to Lenahan's budget request for officer overtime.

Hagins reiterated his desire to see better management of the police department.

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