Hayden anticipates drop in tax revenues | CraigDailyPress.com

Hayden anticipates drop in tax revenues

Matt Stensland

— Economic times are improving nationwide, but officials in Hayden anticipate another decrease in tax revenues for 2015.

The biggest impact to the town's coffers will come from the 60-day closure of Yampa Valley Regional Airport, which lies within town limits. The closure planned for mid-April to mid-June will allow for runway repairs and upgrades. Hayden Town Manager David Torgler said the town estimates the closure will result in a loss of $60,000 in tax revenues.

"For the town the size of Hayden, that's a significant amount of money," Torgler said.

The town currently is planning its budget for 2015, and Torgler said it is too early to tell if cuts will need to be made.

"We might have some general fund revenue that we could draw on from last year," Torgler said. "I don't want to make a forecast until I see the big picture."

Hayden relies heavily on the tax revenue it receives from operations at YVRA.

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Torgler said YVRA generates between 45 and 50 percent of the town's sales tax revenues. Sales tax revenues make up about 42 percent of the town's total annual revenues, which were about $2.5 million in 2014.

"We are basically a residential community with an airport," Torgler said. "The impact, it hits our residents directly."

Fuel sales are the primary source of tax revenues from the airport. Taxes on rental cars generate about $116,000 annually. There also are businesses in the town that sell goods to the airport.

"You've got a lot of services that are provided out there," Torgler said.

In addition to a decrease in sales tax revenues, the town is projecting a decrease in property tax revenues. In 2014, Torgler said the town lost 9 percent in tax revenues, and they are expecting a 1 percent decrease for 2015.

"We cannot get that money back without going to the voters and asking for a property tax increase," Torgler said.

He said those discussions have not taken place.

Members of the Hayden Town Board already have been told about the anticipated revenue shortfalls.

"It is what it is," Mayor Jim Haskins said. "David had warned us that this is going to happen."

On Sept. 18, the Town Board reviewed the town's policy for giving donations to support local organizations and events. The town gave $14,000 in 2013 and $13,050 in 2014.

Torgler said the Town Board chose to send out letters to the organizations and event organizers to let them know the funds might not be available in 2015.

“There aren’t a lot of places where we can make any significant big cuts,” Haskins said.

Haskins said the town will have to think carefully about some projects it wanted to take on next year, including paving some soft trails and putting in sections of new sidewalk. He said there also was interest from town leaders to hire a firm or someone to help the town attract new businesses.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland