Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hailey aims to increase 2013 budget

Water and wastewater projects require extra $830,000

Express Staff Writer

    The Hailey City Council proposed Monday to increase spending during the last two months of fiscal year 2013 by $830,000 in order to cover unexpected water and wastewater system expenses, as well as insurance premium costs.
    The change would increase by $440,000 spending from the city’s water fund, in order to cover several unexpected expenses, including an irrigation system in a planting strip alongside the newly rebuilt Woodside Boulevard.
    A portion of the $440,000 would be used to pay SPF Engineering to administer an 1883 surface water rights transfer from Northridge subdivision to Heagle Park and Hop Porter Park, and dig wells in the two parks to utilize the transferred water right for irrigation. The remainder of the $440,000 would be used to cover Idaho Power bills for hooking the new wells up to the electricity grid.
    The proposed Heagle and Hop Porter parks wells are expected to limit reliance on municipal wells in the future. The wells would be dug by the end of September, said Public Works Director Tom Hellen.
    Hellen said $40,000 of the proposed total $830,000 budget increase for 2013 would come from the general fund to pay the water department for irrigation water from municipal wells during August and September to irrigate city parks.
    Hellen said the increase is necessary because the Hiawatha Canal, which usually delivers water to city parks, went dry before reaching city parks two weeks ago.
    “Usually it has water until late August or September,” Hellen said.  
    The City Council proposed increasing by $170,000 revenue from the general fund to pay for increased insurance premium costs under the III-A self-insurance pool, and an additional weekly pay period that will occur during fiscal year 2013.
    “We ended up with an extra week this year,” said City Administrator Heather Dawson.
    The City Council also proposes increasing the wastewater fund portion of the city’s budget by $220,000 to cover engineering and pilot-testing costs that are necessary to research the cost and feasibility of a proposed new bio-solids treatment facility at the Woodside Boulevard wastewater treatment plant.
    About $170,000 of that increase has already been generated by a water rate increase instituted early this year by the City Council.
    The City Council has discussed over the past few months the need for a taxpayer-supported bond of up to $5 million to pay for the new bio-solids facility.
    The council will gather public input prior to a public meeting scheduled for Aug. 19 to vote on the proposed budget increase.

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