Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hailey hunts for savings, stimulus

Express Staff Writer

The city of Hailey is cutting operating expenses by eliminating open positions due to the economic downturn. City officials are also requesting millions of dollars from the federal government, which may become available next year from a proposed $825 million economic stimulus program.

The requests for capital improvements in the city amount to $21 million for wastewater treatment facilities, water system upgrades, sidewalks, street resurfacing, and a city bus.

The information was presented during a City Council meeting Monday night and further clarified by a press release sent from City Hall the next morning.

The city's operating expenses during the first quarter of fiscal 2009, which covers the period Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, were $1,368,314. That exceeded revenues by $642,234. The difference was covered by $603,000 from cash reserves in the city's capital fund, which has a current balance of $2.2 million.

City Administrator Heather Dawson said the city could use portions of the capital fund to match grants that could be made available to as part of a federal government stimulus program, which will be voted on by Congress next month. Funding from the stimulus program, if it passes and money is awarded to Hailey, would not reach the city until at least 2010.

"It will all depend on how the rules are established for the disbursement of the economic stimulus funds," she said.

In the meantime, the city has eliminated a police patrolman position and shifted half of a building department position to the street department to save $115,000 in operating expenses.

According to a press release from Hailey City Hall, the city received $200,000 less in revenues last quarter compared to the same time period last year. In addition, the city expects $100,000 less from state sales tax and highway fuel taxes revenue than last year.

The press release also states that Hailey's capital fund balance decreased by about $358,000 due to several capital expense projects including adding the Countryside traffic signal and completing development of the eight-acre Keefer Park.

Hailey's requests for federal funding from proposed $825,000 economic stimulus package


· Expand Woodside sewer trunk line: $5.4 million

· Rehabilitate wastewater plant aerobic digester and miscellaneous repairs: $1.2 million

· Construct third SBR basin at treatment plant: $5.6 million

· Two-stage filtration and chemical feed: $6.1 million


· Expand transmission pipeline to Quigley tank through Deerfield, pipeline enhancements in Old Hailey, new well, pressure zone for Northridge area: $2.5 million

Transportation and sidewalks:

· Purchase of a circulator bus within Hailey through Mountain Rides: $110,000

· Safe Routes to School projects at Hailey Elementary School: $150,000

· Sidewalks along Woodside Boulevard to Woodside Elementary School: $95,000

· Sidewalks along Myrtle Street from Highway 75 to Second Avenue to join existing sidewalk to Wood River Middle School: $80,000

· Sidewalks along Elm Street to connect Hiawatha and Deerfield subdivisions to Hailey Elementary School: $150,000

· Improved ADA parking and disability ramps on side streets near Highway 75: $100,000

· Additional, more efficient sidewalk snow removal equipment: $40,000

· Highway resurfacing project: $80,000

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