Oak Creek holds public hearing on budget, awards trash contract

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— On Thursday, the town of Oak Creek held a public hearing on its 2013 proposed budget.

The Town Board has held a number of public work sessions on the budget in the past months and accepted public comment Thursday.

Oak Creek property owner Scott Wedel spoke against the town's decision to charge its enterprise funds management fees in its draft budget. Wedel has submitted a petition with former mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman to limit the town to recouping actual costs from the enterprise funds or put the matter to a public vote.

Ann Trout spoke in favor of the town's decisions. Onika Mayer, of Willow Hill and Oak Creek mobile home parks, said services like police and parks are assets that help the community retain people. She added that any increase in service fees in the town are felt by those that struggle to afford rent.

Oak Creek accepted Old West Sanitation's trash services bid. The rates for trash services will increase 75 cents per household. The town also will use about 3,000 in fund balance to cover trash expenses, which Town Administrator Mary Alice Page-Allen said she hopes is at least somewhat recouped by tighter billing procedures. Page-Allen described using fund balance to cover costs as being fair to those residents who had paid into the balance.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

max huppert 1 year, 11 months ago

Police and parks are not going to get folks to stay or move here, only infrastructure will do that. the town board needs to understand that. alot of residents cant afford to pay higher rates. Its SAD..

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 11 months ago

The petition is intended to stop government from taking as much as it feels like taking from the utilities. There is little difference in tax revenue between last year's budget and 2013's proposed budget. But they needed to take more in property and sales taxes combined from the utilities.

So how much will they take next year when property taxes decline?

Under Colorado Law, government is supposed to get a public vote of additional tax revenues. Town of Oak Creek is using a loophole to loot the utilities which will soon enough require rates increases to replace what is being taken. The Town should not be taking as much as they want from the utilities, but should be proposing an utility tax to raise the revenues they said are so desperately needed. I do not see it as the responsibility of the petition to figure out that amount. It is the job of the petition to restore order to Oak Creek's budget process so that utilities revenue are used to operate and maintain the utilities. And to force the Town Board to rely upon tax revenue generated by publicly approved taxes for the general fund. If a budget is impossible based upon tax revenues then propose the needed tax increase.

Town already charges overhead expenses to the utilities. Now Town Board says there are additional overhead expenses that are not directly attributable that need to be paid by the utilities. And these newly found expenses are nearly double the attributable costs. That is ridiculous and former Mayor J Elliott believes that is not a Generally Accepted Accounting Practice.

When the Town Board itself argues that if the police were to investigate a report of a trash can being knocked over is part of the management cost of the trash utility then it is clear they are just making stuff up. What next?

The utilities recently had severe infrastructure needs and so they raised the rates to be able to start on the critical problems. Now, suddenly when they need the money for the general fund, we are being told the infrastructure is good enough. And so instead of lowering the rates for utility needs that are claimed to no longer exist (despite leaking water lines and so on) then they take the money for the general fund.

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