Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hailey raises sewer and water fees

Council OKs 2006 budget of $10,288,477

Express Staff Writer

Beginning Oct. 1, Hailey residents will be paying higher water and sewer bills as the result of action taken Monday by the City Council.

Water bills for a single-family home were raised 4 percent, from $15.13 a month to $15.74 a month. Bills also include $4.05 for a bond to raise money for a new water storage tank.

Sewer bills were raised 7 percent, to $28.12 a month.

Water hookup fees were raised from $2,881 to $3,009. Sewer hookup fees were raised from $2,089 to $2,187.

City Clerk Heather Dawson said the city's water and wastewater budgets will stay solvent as a result of the increases. Currently, she said, the city has to dip into reserves to fund the services. She said the new fees will also allow the city to obtain a lower interest rate on its bond issue.

In other action, the council:

· Gave tentative approval to a fiscal 2006 budget of $10,288,477. The budget includes a 3 percent raise, the maximum allowed by law, in the salaries of the mayor and council members. The mayor will now earn $18,480 per year and council members will earn $6,180 per year.

"I just want you to know that you're worth every dollar of it," McBryant jokingly told council members about their $15-per-month raise.

· Amended city ordinance to require dogs on public property in the city to be on a leash. Previously, city code allowed dogs to be under "voice control" of their handlers. Councilman Rick Davis said the change had been requested by the city's animal control officer.

The change was discussed primarily in relation to aggressive dogs. However, Public Works Manager Ray Hyde also said he had seen many instances of loose dogs running into traffic.

"In the city limits, there's just too much conflict between dogs and pedestrians and traffic," he said.

McBryant's vote broke a 2-2 tie on the question.

· Unanimously approved a special-events permit for the weekly Back Alley Parties hosted at The Wicked Spud on Main Street. The permit includes a provision that the bar and grill monitor noise levels.

Council members complimented the business for the concerts, held Wednesdays during the summer, saying they added vibrancy to Hailey's downtown in the evening. They allowed The Spud to host the Back Alley Parties once a week and also have one other night of live music.

"I'm sorry the city doesn't have a park downtown so that we're holding them too," Councilwoman Carol Brown said.

· Approved the six-lot Frosty Acre subdivision on Winterhaven Drive in Woodside.

Bradley Construction North plans to build four single-family homes and two duplexes on the property. One of the duplexes will be for deed-restricted affordable housing.

Final plat approval includes a condition that soil studies be done to find a way to eliminate pooling of water on the property.

· Exempted the subdivision of condominiums in previously approved developments from the city's subdivision moratorium. Planning Director Kathy Grotto said the city's failure to do so sooner was simply an oversight. She said two affordable housing units are ready to be occupied but cannot legally be used until they are subdivided.

· Considered, but postponed, a proposal to require mailboxes and other encroachments on the city's street right-of-way to be at least eight feet from the edge of the asphalt.

Street Superintendent Allan Stowell said mailboxes had damaged the city's snowblowers.

Council members agreed that mailboxes and most other items should be moved out of the way, but were uncertain about what to do with trees. The proposal was returned to city staff for more work.

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