Steamboat Springs Hayden trustees approved the town's 2009 budget without incident or fanfare Thursday night.
The Town Board glided through most of its agenda at the meeting, accepting the revised budget, the parks master plan and increased user rates for water. The longest discussion focused on a sewer line repair at Danielle Campbell's house on Walnut Street. Campbell sought reimbursement for repairs on the line that she said resulted from faulty work by the town on a sewer line connection. Trustees voted to reimburse her for part of her bill.
Resident Dallas Robinson supported Campbell's complaint seeking $2,504.23. Robinson's company, RN Robinson & Son, replaced the full line, which had caused a backup into Campbell's house. The problem resulted from a dip in a piece of the line near the street manhole, he said. That dip had caused backups for years, which led to the need for a plumbing service to scrape out the pipe, wearing it down, Robinson said.
The town added that 13-foot section of line, which fed from the main line to the house line, between the 1970s and about 1988, Town Manager Russ Martin said. He recommended against reimbursing Campbell, saying town ordinance put the responsibility for line maintenance on residents - even for the feeder section the town added. Reimbursing Campbell would set a risky precedent, Martin said.
"I understand that precedence but, at some point, you also have to take responsibility for that which you have done," Robinson said.
Several trustees agreed.
"I was in business for a long time," Trustee Tom Rogalski said. "If I did something wrong, I came back and fixed it. That's just the way it worked. If people trusted you with that, that was how you got business. You were as good as your word."
The concern, Martin said, was that other people with line problems might flood the city to seek payment.
Trustee Bill Hayden suggested reimbursing Campbell for the 13 feet of line the town added rather than the full 90 feet replaced. That amounts to about 15 percent, he said, or about $375.60. He moved to pay Campbell that amount, stipulating that the town was making that decision "in this instance only" to avoid setting a precedent.
Rogalski voted in favor of that, and Trustees Richard "Festus" Hagins and Jim Haskins voted against it. Trustee Chuck Grobe was not present, and Trustee Trace Musgrave has resigned, so Mayor Lorraine Johnson cast the deciding vote in favor of the partial reimbursement.
The town also discussed possible changes to speed limits on the eastern edge of town. Police Sgt. Gordon Booco said there were speed zones ranging from 15 mph to 65 mph in about a square quarter-mile on U.S. Highway 40, the new Hawthorne Street, Crandall Avenue and other roads.
"As officers, to have seven different speed zones in this area, to tell you the truth, we can't enforce it," Booco said.
Trustees suggested making speeds more consistent, perhaps cutting the speed on Hawthorne to 25 mph and relocating several signs. No decisions were made.
Johnson raised the issue of spotty cell phone service, an ongoing frustration for Hayden residents. Booco and Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Hockett said they would draft a letter of concern to Verizon Wireless that could be signed by town officials, schools officials and possibly residents.
Also at Thursday's meeting, the board approved cutting the Parks and Recreation Board from seven to five members with two alternates. The town approved a 5 percent increase in user rates for water; base rates will remain the same. Trustees also voted to adopt the parks master plan and to add Hayden schools Superintendent Greg Rockhold as an alternate to the Hayden Economic Development Commission.
The town will start moving on a replacement for Musgrave, who moved to Arizona for job reasons. The board will appoint a trustee who will serve until the April 2010 elections.