Yampa faces a tighter budget

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The town of Yampa is poised to dip as much as $80,000 into its financial reserves next year to cover operating costs, infrastructure improvements and equipment replacement, according to its proposed 2009 budget.

With new equipment for public works and expensive infrastructure projects including an additional water storage tank looming on the horizon, town officials are planning to put aside much-needed street resurfacing until 2011.

"For the dollars (resurfacing) Main Street would cost, we could probably resurface all the streets in town and have plenty of dollars leftover," Mayor Bruce Pitts said.

Resurfacing Main Street and building a new water tank are the two biggest projects the town is likely to undertake in the coming years, Pitts said. The town is poised to begin preliminary water tank plans in the coming months.

More than half of the proposed reserve funds to be used in 2009 are earmarked for replacement of the town's front-end loader or photocopier and will be spent only if Yampa's current equipment calls it quits. More than $23,000 from reserves will be allocated to cover basic operating expenses for the town, and $10,000 will go toward ongoing dust abatement and culvert improvement projects on town streets.

The remaining $5,000 scheduled for use from Yampa's reserves will pay for revisions to the town's municipal code. On Wednesday, the Town Board approved a contract for Weiss and Van Scoyk, LLP - the Steamboat Springs law firm of Yampa's town attorney, Bob Weiss - to carry out the revision next year.

The proposed budget assumes rate increases for Yampa's water and sewer customers, raising combined bills from $46 to $55 a month. The current base rate for water and sewer service is $23 each, according to Town Clerk Janet Ray. The proposed increases would increase water bills to $26 and sewer bills to $29 a month.

One dollar from each water bill would be earmarked as funds for the new water tank.

If Yampa uses all $79,122 the Town Board thinks it may need from its coffers in 2009, the town still would have $284,978 in its reserves. Yampa last dipped into its reserves in 2007, but only by about $2,000, according to budget documents.

The Town Board is poised to formally adopt the proposed 2009 budget at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Ladies Aid Hall in Yampa.

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