Council OKs budget, utility increases | CraigDailyPress.com

Council OKs budget, utility increases

Collin Smith

Other action

At its Nov. 13 meeting, the Craig City Council:

• Renewed tavern liquor licenses for OP Bar and Grill, at 534 E. Victory Way, and J W Snacks, at 210 E. Victory Way.

• Renewed a retail liquor license for Loadout Liquors, at 1800 W. Victory Way.

• Renewed a hotel and restaurant liquor license for Ocean Pearl Chinese Restaurant, at 441 W. Victory Way.

• Approved a special events permit for the Boys & Girls Club of Craig for its annual Cowboy Christmas on Dec. 1, 2007.

• Appointed Randy Kloos to the Craig Planning and Zoning Commission.

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• Approved $25,590 for the Craig Police Department to build privacy fences around its impounded and abandoned vehicle lot and its large evidence inventory.

“We are within the city limits and we have the same responsibility we hold to people as far as screening junk,” said Walt Vanatta, police chief.

The Police Department expanded a garage behind the Moffat County Public Safety Center, pushing the lots into view.

• Approved an easement with Yampa Valley Electric Association for an underground power line along the south boundary of the city’s property near the Elkhead Reservoir dam.

This easement will replace a previous one, which outlined an area for the power line that was not used. When the line was planted, it was not built in the area the Council approved.

The new easement will cover where the line was actually constructed.

— When Craig City Council members asked why he approved of the 2008 city budget that he drafted, City Finance Director Bruce Nelson answered succinctly.

“It’s a balanced budget,” he said.

The council approved the budget, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2008, on first reading after the public audience had no comments.

Out of the $27.8 million total revenue, the city projects to spend $22.8 million.

Councilors lauded the city’s fiscal restraint, which leaves an approximate $5 million reserve out of the city’s expenditures.

Mayor Don Jones thanked City Manager Jim Ferree for his effort to wrangle city department spending.

“It makes our job easier come budget time when we don’t have to have such a sharp knife anymore,” Jones said.

The city’s department heads have done the job themselves, Ferree said.

“The departments have done a good job just increasing their budgets for inflationary-type increases,” Ferree said.

The 2008 budget was easier to plan because of increased revenue through sales taxes and other city income streams, he added. With the revenue base going up, departments didn’t have to make cuts to offset the rising cost of materials and utilities.

City officials made two changes to the budget between Tuesday’s council meeting and its meeting Oct. 23, when the council held a public meeting for the budget.

The city cut a proposed salary survey for its employees and $28,000 allocation for construction projects at the Moffat County Regional Airport.

The county found a substantial reserve in its airport budget, and county officials do not believe it will need the city’s contribution, Ferree said. Money would be available in the event the projects cost more than expected, he added.

Amid the smiles about the city’s surplus, the council approved utility rate increases for water and wastewater.

The city intends for utilities to be self-sufficient, Nelson said. Each utility operates out of its own fund and is supported by the revenue it generates.

In other words, water fees pay for the city’s cost in providing plumbing, and other utilities function in the same way.

Monthly service fees for water utilities will increase for those inside the city limits by $1 per month, from $16.60 to $17.60. Usage fees will go up 10 cents, from $1.70 to $1.80 per 1,000 gallons.

Outside the city, monthly fees will increase $2, from $33.20 to $35.20. Usage fees will increase the same as in-city fees.

Residential wastewater fees will increase $1.20, from $15.30 to $16.50.

Commercial properties will see the same increase, and also a 10-cent usage fee increase, from 60 cents to 70 cents per 1,000 gallons.

The new utility costs will become effective Jan. 1, 2008.

Other action

At its Nov. 13 meeting, the Craig City Council:

• Renewed tavern liquor licenses for OP Bar and Grill, at 534 E. Victory Way, and J W Snacks, at 210 E. Victory Way.

• Renewed a retail liquor license for Loadout Liquors, at 1800 W. Victory Way.

• Renewed a hotel and restaurant liquor license for Ocean Pearl Chinese Restaurant, at 441 W. Victory Way.

• Approved a special events permit for the Boys & Girls Club of Craig for its annual Cowboy Christmas on Dec. 1, 2007.

• Appointed Randy Kloos to the Craig Planning and Zoning Commission.

• Approved $25,590 for the Craig Police Department to build privacy fences around its impounded and abandoned vehicle lot and its large evidence inventory.

“We are within the city limits and we have the same responsibility we hold to people as far as screening junk,” said Walt Vanatta, police chief.

The Police Department expanded a garage behind the Moffat County Public Safety Center, pushing the lots into view.

• Approved an easement with Yampa Valley Electric Association for an underground power line along the south boundary of the city’s property near the Elkhead Reservoir dam.

This easement will replace a previous one, which outlined an area for the power line that was not used. When the line was planted, it was not built in the area the Council approved.

The new easement will cover where the line was actually constructed.