Hayden raising water rates to cover loan

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— Of Hayden's three enterprise funds sewer, water and electric only water is not self-sufficient.

"Enterprise funds should be run like a business," Town Clerk Lisa Johnston said. "But our water has always been a losing venture. (Hayden) subsides it."

The problem began years ago, Trustee Chencho Salazar explained, when the board decided to keep water rates low, out of consideration for the large number of senior citizens in town who may not be able to make high water payments.

Rates have not been raised in 10 years and as a result, the town is faced with a decision to raise rates by as much as $10 a month.

The board should consider raises slightly each year to avoid this ever happening again, Town Manager Rob Straebel said.

As it stands, Hayden water rates will go up $1.80 to cover payments of a $200,000 loan taken out for water-treatment plant improvements.

Rates would need to go up an additional $10 a month to make the enterprise fund pay for itself, Johnston said.

"Let's do this incrementally and as painless as possible," Trustee Jim Frentress said.

The Hayden Town Board met Tuesday night for the second time this month to discuss next year's budget.

Recreation coordinator Lindsay Heer presented the budget for the recreation board. The numbers were higher than last year for two main reasons.

First, the recreation board hosted the first-ever Hayden Summerfest this year in the Third Street Park at a cost of $5,000.

If money is approved, the recreation board hopes to hold the art and music festival again next summer.

The other major expense pending approval was the purchase of a utility snow machine and groomer for a one-mile cross country ski loop for Dry Creek Park.

"I want to build interest and activity at Dry Creek this winter instead of waiting for next spring," Heer said.

Town plans for Dry Creek involve developing a multiuse, multifield recreational area for the town.

The cross country ski trail would open the park to town use year-round and to skiers of any age and ability, Heer said.

A used utility snow machine would cost the town about $3,000 and a groomer would cost $2,000, according to the recreation board proposed budget.

The item was set aside for later consideration.

A budget proposal presented at the last budget meeting by Police Chief Jody Lenahan came to the table again. The major point of discussion was Lenahan's request for another full-time officer.

A new officer would cost the town, at most, $28,945, according to a memo to the town board from Johnston.

The matter was postponed until an official decision could be made at the regular town board meeting, scheduled for Oct. 31.

The board returned to four donation requests by organizations that had been tabled at the last meeting pending a presentation by the groups.

The city of Steamboat Springs requested $5,389 for bus service between Craig and Steamboat. Six seats are reserved for Hayden residents on each bus. The request was up from last year's $4,238 allocated funds.

The board agreed by consensus that the donation amount should remain at last year's level.

The Community Agriculture Alliance originally requested $5,000 and then cut its request by half.

"I think it's a good education tool for people who buy places near Hayden and don't know how to manage their land," Frentress said.

The board agreed to fund the group at last year's $1,000 level.

The Hayden High School Spanish and Art Club asked for $600 to fund a trip to Italy. The full amount was approved.

Partners of Routt County, a one-on-one mentoring program that pairs adults with youth partners, asked for $1,000 to fund a school outreach program in Hayden. The full amount was approved.

In other business, the board recommended several cuts to the public works budget, including several land purchase line items.

Johnston will calculate new figures with cuts taken into consideration and brought to the table for further discussion at the next budget meeting.

The board will meet again Wednesday.

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