Growth to figure into 2006 budget

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As Hayden officials look to 2006, they expect growth -- residential and commercial -- will start to figure into the town's budget.

Hayden already is seeing a steady increase in sales tax revenue from Yampa Valley Regional Airport and local businesses.

The number of homes and values also are increasing, but that won't necessarily translate into more revenue for the town.

For the first time since at least 1999, the town expects that next year it will have to reduce its mill levy for property taxes from 25 mills to about 22 mills, Town Manager Russ Martin said.

The reduction will temper rising values and keep the town in line with a revenue cap set forth by the Gallagher Amendment.

As a result, property owners likely won't see an increase in the town's portion of their property taxes, he said.

Property taxes will make up about $315,000 of the town's overall budget.

A preliminary draft of the 2006 budget projects about a 5 percent increase in sales tax revenue. Sales tax dollars this year are almost 2 percent more than projections.

Sales tax growth from Hayden businesses is healthy, but not as dramatic as revenues from YVRA. Those sales tax funds have made up almost 40 percent of total sales tax revenues since last year, compared with about 30 percent in 2002, Martin said.

The numbers prove that "the success of the airport is success for our town," he said.

Hayden typically sees most of its sales tax revenue in the beginning and end of the year with fall hunting traffic and winter airport business.

So town officials typically have a good sense of whether the town will make projected revenues within the first few months of the year, Martin said.

"We can adjust fairly easy here," he said.

The preliminary budget also accounts for two big capital-improvement projects for next year: Dry Creek Park and realignment of Routt County Road 37.

Hayden is working with students from the University of Colorado Center for Community Development to design multi-use fields, concessions, bathrooms and storage facilities for the park. The town will be requesting grants from Great Outdoors Colorado and the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program to pay for most of the estimated $750,000 project, Martin said.

The town also is working with developers, Routt County and other parties to relocate the "L" section of C.R. 37 from U.S. Highway 40.

Developers of several residential and commercial developments are paying for the design and engineering process and also will split the total cost of construction with the town.

Hayden expects to dip into reserve funds to help pay for its portion, though officials are hoping to secure an Energy Impact grant for most of the cost.

Town staff also are proposing the Hayden Town Board set aside funds next year to begin designing a facility.

Even with some reserve spending, Hayden officials expect the overall reserve fund for 2006 will be about $1.5 million -- enough to run the town for 11 to 12 months.

"It's one of the best positions in the state. ... That's just good conservative budgeting," Martin said.

The town will work to finalize the budget in October and November, and the budget will be up for the board's approval in December.

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