Draft of budget: City's OK


The town of Hayden is in a financially sound position with projected revenues exceeding expenses in 2005, according to a draft of the 2005 budget.

The Hayden Board of Trustees on Tuesday held its first work session regarding the forecast budget, which they received Oct. 7. The meeting was one of several in which the board will review the town's operational budget, adding costs of capital projects it wants to pursue.

"I feel it's one of the most important functions the board has," said Town Clerk Lisa Johnston, who devised the budget draft with other staff and department leaders.

The operational budget is comprised of the general fund, which includes projected property tax, sales tax and other revenues as well as the costs of running departments.

In 2005, general fund revenues are expected to exceed expenses by more than $90,000.

Among the town's biggest sources of revenue, sales taxes are expected to jump the most, from $700,000 in 2004 to $750,000 in 2005. Most of that will be due to additional flights from Houston to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, Johnston said.

Sales taxes from the airport typically make up about 37 percent of Hayden's sales tax revenue, she said.

The budget draft also indicates that general property taxes may increase about 6 percent to about $290,500. Town staff based that number on their predictions that there will be about 20 new homes built in Hayden next year, Johnston said.

So far, grant revenues for 2005 total $97,000 and include funds from the Gates Foundation, which is being used to revamp the town's comprehensive plan and a Great Outdoors Colorado Grant that is going toward the development of a soccer field and trail in Dry Creek Park.

Among the biggest changes in general fund expenditures are in the parks department, which will have spent about $248,000 on Dry Creek Park by the end of 2004. About $60,000 in park improvements are projected for 2005.

A 3 percent cost of living increase was figured into employee salaries, which also include performance-related merit increases recommended by department leaders, Johnston said.

For emergencies, the budget draft shows a contingency fund of $27,000, about 2 percent of general fund revenues. The board also may get emergency money from a reserve fund of almost $1.5 million, which the town has accumulated through years of conservative spending, Johnson said.

"It's been careful spending over the last 10 to 15 years," she said. "The board tends not to want to dip into that."

Revenues in the enterprise fund, which includes tap fees and water and sewer rentals and a contribution from the general fund, are projected to outpace utility expenses by about $128,000 in 2005.

Among the biggest changes compared to projected costs in 2004 will occur in the water treatment plant, which is projected to have about $550,000 in capital improvements, including two additional water filters.

The meters department in 2005 likely will see a drop in expenses because of the meter replacement project that took place this year.

Some expense projections likely will change depending on which capital improvement projects and department needs the board decides the town can afford.

Each department has categorized its needs into three categories: Immediate needs, high priority and "for board consideration."

The town's immediate needs, according to the proposals, include drainage ditch bridges, expanding the recreation coordinator's position to full-time, a groomer for the cross-country ski track and taser weapons for the police department.

High priorities and other needs include $22,500 for economic development and marketing, culverts on Lincoln Avenue and a new police station for the five full-time officers currently working out of two small rooms in the back of Town Hall.

The board also will consider the more than $74,000 in nonprofit donations requests the town received for 2005. Under a new policy, the board will limit its donations to $30,000.

The board's next work session regarding the budget will be Nov. 1. The public is invited to attend. Trustees are expected to approve a final budget in December.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com


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