Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hailey leaders pass $17 million budget

Committee recommends funding ‘Welcome to Hailey’ park

Express Staff Writer

    The Hailey City Council approved a $17,013,521 budget for fiscal year 2015, including a $6.5 million wastewater construction project for a new bio-solids treatment facility in Woodside.
    General Fund expenditures will be $4.73 million, up $97,000 from last year’s $4.63 million.
    “Our budget is very similar to last year,” said City Administrator Heather Dawson.
    The city estimates an increase of $5,000 in available local-option-tax revenue in the coming year, up from $340,000 last year. Overall, however, the city’s LOT is down from a high of $425,000 in 2006-07.
    The new budget shows a 22 percent decrease in public works and engineering spending, and 21 percent increase in the parks budget.
    To allow for an increased wastewater bond rate for the bio-solids facility, the city plans to raise sewer rates by $3.50 per month, necessitating a second round of public comment at the next City Council meeting on Sept. 15.
    The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission recently was appointed to act as an advisory committee on development-impact fees and to make recommendations to the City Council on how they should be spent.
    The budget calls for the city to spend $191,000 of development-impact fees, combining the fees, per state law, in various ratios with other city funds.
    The advisory committee’s recommendations were:
- To reduce expenditures for siting and designing a new Police Department facility from $50,000 to between $10,000 and $20,000 by doing a needs assessment study instead of a full design because a new site has not yet been identified.
- To fund, at an undetermined amount, construction of a “Welcome to Hailey Park” at the south end of town, but not to fund the planned “Welcome to Hailey” sign, as Mayor Fritz Haemmerle had recommended.
- To allocate an undetermined amount of funds to expand and improve the Hailey Fire Station, perhaps focusing on an equipment storage area.
    In other Hailey news:
- Three Girl Scouts made a $950 donation to the Hailey Parks Department for park improvements. Arlee Allred, Abbie Heathy and Britta Heathy, with Girl Scout Troop 20 of the Silver Sage Council, raised $450 by selling baked goods and cookies. The remainder of the funding was donated by the Papoose Club. The Girl Scouts will present their ideas for park improvements to the Hailey Parks and Lands Board on Sept. 3.
- The Hailey City Council passed an amendment to the city’s municipal code that allows for fireworks only on July 1-5 and on Dec.31-Jan 1.
Tony Evans:

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