Hayden officials cut budget | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden officials cut budget

Town slices nearly $250,000 as it expects decreased revenue

Blythe Terrell

Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch works at his desk Thursday inside Hayden Town Hall. Departments throughout the town will be affected by budget revisions, including the police department.

— Hayden officials took a hard look at the 2009 budget Thursday, agreeing to cut nearly $250,000 from planned spending.

The Hayden Town Board of Trustees revised its general fund revenue expectations from about $3.91 million to about $3.67 million. Trustees revised spending to about $3.66 million, a 6.4 percent decrease.

“We’re being a little bit more conservative on our expenditures than our revenues, so we’ll see where we come in,” Town Manager Russ Martin said.

The town plans to cut nearly across the board, reducing contributions to Yampa Valley Regional Airport, the Hayden Police Department and snow removal, for example. The largest single decrease was a $30,000 cut from street maintenance funds.

Trustees Jim Haskins and Tim Redmond said they were concerned that the town was making cuts that would hurt it later.

“What aren’t we going to do on street maintenance that’s going to come back and potentially cost us?” Haskins asked.

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That money came from planned road improvements in the Vista Verde Drive area, Martin said. The Public Works Department will do what it can to mitigate problems without that $30,000, he said.

Hayden still plans to hire seasonal workers, Martin said.

“It’s not necessarily a hiring freeze, but it’s also not a hiring extravaganza,” he said.

As part of the plan, the town won’t replace Deputy Town Clerk Bonnie Carrico, who was set to be the police clerk when the new Hayden Police Station is finished. Instead, Carrico will split her time between town and police department duties, Martin said.

Town staff members are eyeing expenses and trimming where possible, he said.

“Staff has always done a good job to take a number and try to make it down, whether it’s in office supplies or travel, whatever it may be, so I’ve asked them to do the same,” Martin said.

The town had budgeted $6,000 to help replace a storage shed at the Hayden Heritage Center. The museum told the town it wouldn’t need that money this year, Town Clerk Susan Irvine said. Trustees approved all budget changes.

Martin also discussed the Hayden Speedway. The Western Colorado Racing Association holds the contract for the track and recently said it wouldn’t have concessions at the track, Martin said. The leaders of that group have butted heads with the town about whether they should be required to allow the American Legion to be the sole concessionaire.

“We all feel like it’s just an absolute kick in the gut,” said Police Chief Ray Birch, a Legion member.

The American Legion is trying to work out the situation, Birch said. Concessions at the racetrack are a significant source of revenue for the group, he said.

Also at Thursday’s meeting:

– Martin noted that residents should scrape scoria to the streets by April 25 if they want the town to remove it.

– Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Hockett said the town expected a decision from Steamboat Springs next week regarding Triple Crown Sports’ use of Hayden fields. Steamboat might pay for the completion of Dry Creek Park baseball fields in return for Triple Crown use.

Hockett noted that the new Dry Creek Park building probably won’t be finished until late May or early June because of weather.

– Trustees heard a presentation from the Transportation Solutions group, a volunteer organization offering suggestions about transportation issues.

– To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com