Friday, December 16, 2011

Hailey plans survey on city’s needs

Citizens can weigh in services, capital improvements

Express Staff Writer

A community survey aimed at gathering opinions from Hailey residents on the status of city services and capital improvement projects will be conducted early next year.

The survey will be used to help prioritize funding for the library, fire department, affordable housing, parks and trails, and other city services.

The 2012 survey will gather input on how Hailey residents would prefer to fund large-scale capital projects, such as road reconstruction, playing-field developments and alternative-energy projects.

Funding options include property taxes levied against property owners with voter approval, special assessments not requiring voter approval, and franchise fees and grants.

The city's local-option tax, or "tourist tax," is also a source of revenue. It is used each year to fund a variety of city services.

The survey was initiated to provide information for a fiscal-impact study associated with a proposed 440-home development in Quigley Canyon. Results of the survey will be used to update the city's development-impact-fee schedule sometime next year.

A similar survey conducted in 2009 led to the redevelopment of the Hailey Rodeo Grounds. Such large-scale projects typically require additional funding mechanisms such as bonds, annexation fees or special taxing districts.

Public Works Director Tom Hellen supplied a capital improvement plan summary to the City Council on Monday outlining $2.6 million in necessary Street Department projects and $1 million in Water and Sewer Department upgrades needed by 2015. The city also needs almost $2.5 million in land and infrastructure upgrades to provide for snow removal.

"Without a funding source, we are not able to plan these projects," he wrote last week in a memo to the council and mayor containing a draft of the survey.

The survey will be delivered in sewer and water bills to Hailey residents sometime early next year.

Tony Evans:

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