Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hailey finalizes LOT expenditures

$425K budget to be reached despite slow summer

Express Staff Writer

Fortunately for Hailey, the negative economic impacts from the Castle Rock Fire and the subsequently canceled Wagon Days events won't be enough to keep the city from reaching its proposed 2007 local option tax budget.

While the final LOT revenue has yet to be determined, as August's figures, final month of year for LOT revenue, are still coming in, City Clerk Heather Dawson said she expects the total to exceed the $425,000 the city allocated for LOT expenditures.

At their meeting on Monday, Sept. 24, City Council members approved final expenses of $122,131 to purchase ballistic shields, pay off a lease on a fire truck, purchase a snow blower and install strobe lights for two pedestrian crosswalks.

This final item produced some debate among city officials as to the most beneficial placement of the sidewalk project. They finally decided on the Main Street intersections at Myrtle and Croy streets because of the lack of illumination at the former and the business of the latter.

The project is estimated to cost a total of $100,000, with $60,000 from 2007 LOT revenues being rolled into the remaining $40,000 in 2008.

Dawson said there is a chance that the city will receive more than the budgeted amount and that the council will have to decide on how to spend the excess revenue. Councilman Rick Davis made a request to consider giving any available funds to the Hailey Chamber of Commerce for marketing purposes to help local businesses recover from revenues lost because of the fire.

In other Hailey news:

- City Engineer Tom Hellen recommended amending the water and sewer rate ordinance in order to help residents of Old Hailey who have to run water in the winter to keep their pipes from freezing, as well as those who had major leaks. Because the city's base water rates are determined by winter wastewater use, Hellen thought it only fair to apply the same 6,000 gallons per month used for new homes with no previous winter use history. Hellen will bring an amendment to the council for a decision at an unspecified future meeting.

- Lieutenant Dave Stellars of the Hailey Police Department reported to the council that the department will undertake a program with the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, which is designed to improve the delivery of public safety services largely by maintaining standards. Stellars said that at this time the only other city in Idaho with such an accreditation is Pocatello.

- On behalf of the U.S. Forest Service, Councilwoman Carol Brown presented Hailey Assistant Fire Chief Carl Hjelm with a certificate of merit for the department's quick response to and continued work on the Castle Rock Fire. The certificate came in the form of a large framed picture of a bomber dousing flames with a firefighter standing nearby.

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