Hayden to confront expected $250,000 fund shortage

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— Hayden's elected leaders should head for their next meeting ready to make tough decisions, Town Manager Russ Martin said.

Martin warned the Town Board of Trustees on Thursday that Hayden's enterprise fund could run about $250,000 short for the year. Hayden hasn't brought in any fees for new water and sewer taps because of the lack of new construction. The town must act, and it will, Martin said.

"Also, we lost $15,000 because God gave us a bunch of rain last month," he said, citing a decline in water payments from residents. "It's not necessarily a good thing when people don't water their yards."

Martin spoke to trustees about the problem with the water and sewer fund at the end of the board's meeting. Earlier, trustees had approved final revisions to the 2009 general fund budget. Those involved a $195,850 reduction in projected revenue. Town staff members cut $212,960 in expenses to address the problem.

The board will confront the enterprise fund issues at its July 23 meeting. Martin said the town could consider a bridge loan and had spoken with bankers about the possibility. Hayden has $600,000 in reserves but shouldn't spend that to bail out the enterprise fund, Martin said.

"It's a very serious situation, but it's very solvable," he told trustees.

Also at Thursday's meeting, trustees discussed the Poplar Street road and sidewalk project. Hayden had considered using BidBridge, an online bidding system. Trustees decided not to do so on the advice of their lawyer, Mike Holloran.

The town plans to set up information for the bids next week so the trustees could approve a bid for the project in August.

"The contractors were told they'd be given two weeks : we haven't started that clock yet," Martin said.

Louisville, Ky.-based BidBridge arranges for sellers to bid online for projects. The contractors have a 30-minute window to enter a bid. Bidders can't see who else is bidding or what the other bids are, but they can see where their bids rank, from highest to lowest.

Contractors had opposed the BidBridge process because they thought bidders could put in numbers that were artificially low.

Martin also said he has chosen project managers for the Poplar Street project and a group of sidewalk projects.

Landmark Consultants will manage the Poplar Street project, and Drexel Barrell will manage the sidewalk project.

The Poplar work will include drainage and realignment of the road from the bridge over Dry Creek to U.S. Highway 40. The town plans to add sidewalks on Poplar, Third Street and Jefferson Avenue.

The town will get Colorado Department of Transportation money and federal stimulus money for part of those projects.

"We can do the job with money we've got?" Trustee Jim Haskins asked.

"Well, we'll find out," Martin said. "There's a lot of opportunity for value engineering."

Board members grappled with the issue of weeds in vacant lots, a problem that Trustee Bill Hayden said was close to his heart. He showed photos of vacant lots with tall weeds. Code enforcement is the biggest challenge when it comes to weeds, Martin said. People get a letter and then are called to court, and the process takes time.

The town would have to alter its code to address weed issues differently.

Hayden said it was crucial to deal with the problem. The weeds are seeding, and the problem will worsen, he said. Martin mentioned that some of the lot owners didn't live in town.

"I don't care if they live in Afghanistan and they're fighting for the Taliban," Hayden said. "We need to take care of this."

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