Oak Creek Town Board continues budget work | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek Town Board continues budget work

Michael Schrantz

— Another meeting, another budget work session for the Oak Creek Town Board. Predicting a 50 percent drop in property tax revenue in 2014, Oak Creek Town Administrator Mary Alice Page-Allen said her goal was "to stabilize the general fund and not have this looming property tax hurt" the town.

The Town Board spent the first part of its meeting Thursday night working on community funding requests: donations from the town to nonprofits and community organizations.

Page-Allen has worked to standardize the process, and the review committee — Page-Allen, Oak Creek Treasurer Sandy Jacobs and trustee Jenny Lewis — checked applications for completeness and offered feedback.

The town received four requests totaling about $9,000.

As part of the larger budget picture, Oak Creek will start to assess a management fee on its utilities, which are run as enterprise funds. According to projected budget numbers, that fee will add about $180,000 to town coffers in the next budget year, providing a needed boost before the expected property tax revenue decline.

Page-Allen described the process as putting the profits of the fund back into the community.

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"This is how it'd have to be done if we outsourced it," trustee Wendy Gustafson said, referring to management of the utilities.

The utilities recently have been evaluated for rate levels and the need for capital projects. There are no rate increases in store for the electric or sewer utilities in the near term. The trash utility has been put out to bid. Meters still are a priority for the water utility, and Page-Allen said she expects to find grant funding for residential users to install meters. The town likely would contribute 10 percent of the cost as a matching part of any grants, according to Page-Allen.

Officials hope to have water meters installed across town by the end of 2013.

The management fees from utilities also will be going to a department that has been missing in Oak Creek for a while: a police department.

The town's newest police officer, Bobby Rauch, was sworn in at Thursday night's meeting.

Page-Allen said his first day is Monday. Rauch said he most recently worked in detentions in Jefferson County and lived in Maryland before that. He said he's excited to work and live in Oak Creek.

"My hometown is smaller than this," Rauch said.

Oak Creek's other new police officer already is familiar with Routt County. Ed Corriveau is making the transition from Hayden's Police Department to Oak Creek as soon as his two weeks are finished.

Describing himself as a skier, runner and cyclist, Rauch said, "It's going to be fun."

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

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