Steamboat Springs Although they stopped a few times to ponder the minutiae of town cell phone plans, Hayden trustees powered through their second budget talk at a work session Monday night.
The first workshop, Oct. 20, focused on police and administration costs. Monday's conversation centered on public works, parks and recreation and the enterprise fund, which consists of water, sewer and utilities.
Public Works Superintendent Sam Barnes detailed the streets budget for 2009. Town staff trimmed 20 percent compared with the projected 2008 budget. Barnes pointed out a few needs that go beyond the draft of the budget, asking trustees to allow his department to borrow money from the general fund to buy a new plow truck. The department would pay back the money next year.
The current truck is a black 1981 model that needs $15,000 to $20,000 worth of work to meet Colorado Department of Transportation approval.
"If somebody gets into an accident in that thing, whether it's his fault or not, it could get ugly," Barnes said.
He found one in Denver that the town can buy for $51,000 and is seeking the go-ahead.
"Is it a good idea for the long term? Absolutely," Town Manager Russ Martin told the Town Board. "By this time next year, we will probably have to purchase it. : That's the other issue is if we have an issue with the black truck, we will be facing an emergency situation."
Trustees seemed open to that idea, though no firm decisions were allowed at Monday's discussion.
"We're in a position now where we could fairly easily accomplish this now, and we don't know where we're going to be in a year," Trustee Chuck Grobe said. "We have a truck that's toast, basically : it's kind of a no-brainer."
The board also heard from Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Hockett and Parks Superintendent Dave Bantam. The town trimmed parks costs 69 percent and recreation costs 35 percent from the projected 2008 budget.
The reductions came partly from a cut in professional service funds, some of which went toward the parks master plan, and money for one-time projects, such as Dry Creek Park. Hockett asked the town to add in a few hundred dollars in a few categories budgeted at zero but sought few other changes to the draft. Most recreation programs will be unchanged for 2009, Hockett said.
Martin praised his sewer and water staff members for working to save money. Public Works Director Frank Fox and Senior Plant Operator Scott Price have done well, he said.
"I'll just tell you I'm actually pretty proud of the way they've handled things," Martin said. "I've been in other places, and we've got a pretty good staff of people who try to save money by doing it themselves."
Income for the utility enterprise fund is projected to increase about 5 percent over the projected 2008 budget. Costs are expected to increase, however, for the enterprise funds.
Overall, town trustees said they were comfortable with the 2009 projections, which Martin has classified as conservative. Martin and Finance Director Lisa Dowling will put together a final draft of the budget, which is scheduled for discussion in December.