The town of Hayden's procedure for calculating commercial water and sewer tap fees isn't wrong, but it also isn't right.
That was how Hayden resident Don Johnson described the fee process during a Hayden Town Board meeting Thursday, when the board decided to explore a different, simpler way of devising the fees.
The impetus for the discussion was a tap-fee application for the Mountain Valley Bank being built in front of the Hayden Mercantile. The application was the first commercial tap application since the town changed the way the fees are calculated about 1 1/2 years ago, Town Manager Russ Martin said.
The implementation "surprised everyone involved," Martin said, referring to the end fee cost and the complicated process that was difficult to explain and had to be referred to several times.
The town's current fee code works under an equivalent residential unit system. The equivalent residential unit, or the standard tap fee for a residence, is $5,700.
The town calculates business tap fees as equivalents to a residential unit (EQRs), based on various factors contributing to overall use.
Andrea and Bill Hayden, who are part of the Mountain Valley Bank project, verified at the meeting that the tap fees for the bank, which will have two bathrooms and a utility sink, were estimated at more than $17,000.
Bill Hayden said the cost had to do with the fact that the bathrooms will be for public use.
"What I'd like to suggest to the council is that you review the fees ... and moderate the EQRs," Bill Hayden said.
Although cost is an issue, Martin, who proposed revising the code, said his main concern is making the process simpler and easier to explain. He noted that the town's current code, though complicated, is common and is used by towns such as Dillon and Silverthorne.
Martin suggested Hayden maintain the EQR system to determine monthly bills but base tap fees on the diameter of pipes used. The standard would be a 3/4-inch line with fees being adjusted for bigger or smaller lines.
The size system also would affect residential tap fees, Martin said
"That makes more sense," said Hayden mayor Chuck Grobe, who, with the rest of the board, directed Martin to explore different application scenarios under his proposal.
Also Thursday, the board decided it would not make any changes to its open burning laws, despite trustee Richard Bush's suggestion the town not allow the burning of paper products.
The town's code allows open burning of paper, limbs, leaves and weeds from private households and noncommercial use.
Bush argued that some paper products have a plastic residue that emits black smoke and potentially toxic odors when burned. He suggested the town not allow the burning of paper products and only allow the burning of yard waste in the fall and spring.
In particular, Bush was concerned about waste from a remodel project that was being burned outside a home in his neighborhood.
"If they are doing that, then they are not burning in compliance with town code," trustee Joe Schminkey said.
Other board members agreed that the police should be contacted about burning violations, but overall, the code did not need to be changed.
"I think you should just leave it alone; paper is a wood product," trustee Tim Frentress said.
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