Water rate hike up for approval

Hayden council to consider second reading of ordinance today

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What: Hayden Town Council meeting

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave.

Call: 276-3741

— Water rates in Hayden will increase if the Town Council approves the second reading of the water base rate ordinance at tonight's meeting.

The Town Council approved the first reading earlier this month. A public hearing will precede the second reading. If it's approved, the monthly rates will increase by $3.05 to $19, which is a 19 percent increase. The senior rates would increase $1.83 per month to $11.40.

The ordinance also would increase the tap fees by 25 percent, from $3,800 to $4,800 for water and $1,900 to $2,400 for sewer.

Town Manager Russ Martin said the water rates don't generate enough revenue to cover their costs, which enterprise funds are supposed to do. The water and sewer systems' budget is separate from the town's general fund.

He said raising rates would generate about $25,000 to $30,000 a year. And along with the tap fee increase, the hike would help eliminate a $75,000 annual deficit in the town's water fund.

"The gap is so wide right now, it's not sustainable," Martin said. "We have to find some ways to close that gap."

Martin said he thought the $3.05 monthly increase was reasonable but said more rate increases could follow. He added that during an abnormal year with high rainfall, such as this year, residents used less water, which meant they paid for less water.

Council member Jim Haskins said it's important to make the distinction between the rate and tap fee increase and water loss in the town's system.

"Those issues have morphed into one, and they're not," he said. "They're separate issues."

The town could be losing close to 30 percent of its water each year, according to reports from city staff members. But Martin has said that apparent loss might stem from inaccurate measurements of water flow at the plant.

Haskins said he doesn't think the water loss is as severe as it appears. But even if it is losing water, he said, the town still isn't generating enough revenue for the water fund to support itself.

"Regardless, it does not address the issue that it costs us a lot of money to produce water," he said. "The way we've set up the water and sewer, they're supposed to pay for themselves, and we're not even close without these fee increases. We've had to borrow money from general fund."

He said whether the town covers costs by increasing rates or borrowing money from the general fund, it's still using taxpayer dollars.

Haskins said he hasn't heard from Hayden residents about the proposed fee increases, and only one member of the community attended the last meeting.

The ordinance also would require that residents fix a broken water meter 60 days after receiving written notice. The town could shut off their water if that repair wasn't made in 120 days.

Also at tonight's meeting, the Town Council will hold a public hearing and decide whether to approve the second reading of the winter parking and street obstruction and encroachments ordinance.

Haskins said the issue was identified by public works employees, who noticed that after they plowed, some residents shoveled snow into the streets.

He said that snow would freeze, which created problems for drivers. Hopefully this ordinance would take care of that problem, Haskins said.

The Town Council also will make a decision tonight on Creek View Grill's change of manager, to Phillip Davis from Steven Chamberlain and corporation EPIC's Inc. Council members also will consider renewing its liquor license, which expires Nov. 3.

Comments

George Robertson 5 years, 2 months ago

actually als362 wouldn't it just be easier to mug every tourist that comes through town?

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als362 5 years, 2 months ago

Actually nimrod, that was a fairly stupid thing for you to say.

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Gold_Coins 5 years, 2 months ago

I am sure some residents will complain. I hope they can lessen it instead of making it high.

Regards, http://www.goldcoinsgain.com

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als362 5 years, 2 months ago

I know that the city needs money to operate, but it seems to me that every 6 to 8 months we are faced with another water rate hike. I wish the city would consider a $2.00 a night on each hotel/motel room. There are always people staying in these places, and this would be a way for the city to add to its coffers with no pain to the citizens. Another way to raise money would be to add $.50 to each meal served in all Craig restaurants. Niether of these would effect competition, because all would be charging the same amount. I really think this would work. This is also a good way to raise money for a rec center.

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lonelyone 5 years, 2 months ago

Actually I think there is already something like that going on in Craig. I just glanced at the article but I thought this was for Hayden and not Craig???

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Rebelgirl 5 years, 2 months ago

lonelyone you are correct it is for Hayden and NOT Craig. It seems to me that peole on the discussion board are yet again jumping at something to argue about instead of reading the article.

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Ray Cartwright 5 years, 2 months ago

I could be wrong about this but I do believe that MC did have a Tourism Tax that funded the visitors center and put moneys into the coffers. It was put on the ballot and voted down some years ago because the people of MC didn't want to have to pay any extra taxes just to go out to eat. Maybe ALS is right we should bring back the Tourism Tax. OH my; did I just say the T word? Sorry!!!

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als362 5 years, 2 months ago

I do not know the details of the tourism tax. Perhaps dentedfender could enlighten me about that. But I know that Routt County, and Steamboat assess a dollar amount on each motel/hotel room night sold. That is how they pay for a lot of their facilities. No, we don't have the motel/hotel traffic that Steamboat does, but that would be money coming into the city with no pain to the residents here. I just think there are more inventive ways to raise money than asking for rate hikes on the things that we that live here have to pay for. I think there are ways to get the people that don't live here to pay for them. $2.00 per room night would likely bring in $200.00 to $300.00 each night on average. That adds up to $72000.00 to $108000.00 per year. Surely that amount of money would ease the amount of money we would have to pay.

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