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For the week of August 6 - 12, 2003


Hailey city budget
up for review

Council follows ‘not to exceed’
$9.6 million plan

Express Staff Writer

The 2003-2004 Hailey city budget has seen little discussion at city council meetings this year as it nears a Monday, Aug. 18, public hearing.

The council approved a "not to exceed" sum of $9.6 million when Mayor Susan McBryant presented the first draft of the budget July 14. The public can comment on the budget and make suggestions or ask questions, but the budget may not be increased.

The reason the budget has not gone through many permutations this year is largely because city departments do not need to lobby the council for funding, said city clerk Heather Dawson. "The departments are fairly cooperative . . . needs rotate through the departments."

If the police get a new vehicle one-year, the fire department might wait for another year, she said. The city has a lease option on their vehicles that helps with the rotation.

Dawson said that beginning with Mayor Steve Kearns in the 1990s, the city has been looking in a forward way at capital needs, focusing on how to keep budgeted.

The big line items in the new budget include an increase in annexation fees paid by Airport West for becoming part of the city. The fees are in exchange for open space the developer would have been required to provide. The developers of the subdivision will pay the city $1.8 million in installments. Next years budget includes a $450,000 payment.

"Annexation fees must go towards capital improvements," Dawson said.

The Airport West money, which will go into capital improvements reserve for the 2003-2004 budget, is earmarked for the engineer’s budget totaling $527,000. The money will go to a new city maintenance shop, a project just getting under way. Part of the engineer’s budget includes a $7,000 traffic survey.

As a part of the subdivision annexation, Airport West was also asked to contribute $90,000 for the new airport traffic light.

Annexation fees can impact the city budget at any time, said Dawson. "There could be several annexations in a year or none."

A party may come to the council and apply for annexation, but the city council has the full authority to accept or deny the request and negotiate the terms of any annexation.

Negotiations for a northern annexation could require that developers supply land for open space or a new fire station if the development would impact city infrastructure.

The East Coast consulting company Tischler and Associates set the formula for setting annexation fees and the types of zoning and development.

The budget includes an $86,000 ceiling for a new city administrator, which would be an increase of $56,000. A group of about 20 candidates is being considered. The city council will be asked to look at the list and make any recommendations at the Aug. 18 regular meeting.

The chief executive office has seen a big jump in its budget from $47,600 to $107,300 because some administrative items like $14,000 for animal control have been shifted into the department. The mayor has been approved for a raise of $4,000 to reflect hours worked over 20 per week. An increase of just over $8,000 is going to medical and dental insurance for the mayor and the future city administrator. About $6,000 is being saved in departmental supplies, advertising and publishing, although there is $4,500 increase in copiers and office equipment. Lease and contract revenues go up next year because the city has negotiated a new rubbish franchise. Revenues from the franchise fees represent a 100 percent increase from $48,000 to $96,000.

The Transportation Safety Administration airport security contract with the city has also been extended another year and includes a 6 percent increase from $132,000 to $140,000.

Water and wastewater funds were taped this year for infrastructure improvements, although a Department of Water Quality loan will raise the water user fund by over $2 million from $1.7 million this year to $3.2 million in 2003-2004. The increase will go to pay for a $2.7 million water tank to be installed next spring. The money for the project will trickle in to the city in the form of an installment loan from the DEQ revolving fund.

The water infrastructure replacement fund was reduced to $526,500 from the $918,000 in 2002-2003. The city spent $392,000 to replace a water transmission line in Indian Creek. There are no such maintenance projects scheduled for 2003-2004.

Another 20 percent, or $85,000, was taken out of the wastewater infrastructure replacement fund for a mobile television monitoring system that checks sewer lines much like a camera used for arthroscopic surgery.



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