Hayden: Town council raises water and sewer rates

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From Steamboat Today (Matt Stensland):

“I fully expected a roomful of people,” said Interim Hay den Town Man ager Lance Ste wart during the meeting where a 40 percent increase in water rates and 100 percent sewer rate increase were up for a vote…

Base water rates will increase from $19 to $26.60. The base sewer rate will jump from $6 to $12. Each includes a 10 percent usage fee increase, which amounts to about 35 cents per thousand gallons. The rate increases were proposed to make the water and sewer funds self-sufficient.

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Hayden: Water rate increase approved on first reading

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From the Steamboat Pilot & Today (Blythe Terrell):

The Hayden Town Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would raise base rates 19 percent, to $19 per month for most customers and $11.40 per month for seniors. Usage rates would not change. Town Manager Russ Martin and some council members drew a distinction between the rate increase and water system losses.

Resident Gordon Dowling said he was frustrated the town would raise rates when it could be losing as much as 30 percent of its water a year, according to analyses. “This 30 percent kills me,” he said.

But Martin said the town’s water fund was in debt about $90,000 a year without tap fees. Even if 100 percent of the town’s water was accounted for, that debt still would exist, he said. Martin laid it out this way: The town produces about 100 million gallons of water a year. The production cost — without staff costs, which would be stable regardless of production — is $52,000 a year. A 30 percent water loss would cost the town $15,000 a year, Martin said. The fund still would be $75,000 in debt. Much of that comes from the $115,000-a-year loan the town is paying on the plant. As written, the rate increase would produce only $25,000 to $30,000, so the town still would have to cover the rest of gap out of its general fund.

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Hayden: Town Council raises rates

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From the Steamboat Pilot & Today (Jack Weinstein):

Monthly residential rates will increase by $3.05 to $19. Monthly senior rates will increase by $1.83 to $11.40. The ordinance was approved, 5-0. Council members Bill Hayden and Jim Haskins did not attend the meeting. Town Manager Russ Martin said the increase would generate an additional $25,000 to $30,000 to help close the gap in a fund that doesn’t make enough money to cover costs. The ordinance also increased tap fees to $4,800 from $3,800 for water, and to $2,400 from $1,900 for sewer. The ordinance will go into effect 15 days after being published. Martin said the rate and tap fee increases would help eliminate a $75,000 annual deficit in the town’s water fund.

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Hayden: Town Council to hear rate increase proposal on September 17

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From the Steamboat Pilot & Today (Blythe Terrell):

Town staff members plan to present a base rate increase of about $3 a month to the Hayden Town Council at its Sept. 17 meeting. The possible hike results from a shortage in the town’s enterprise fund, which includes revenue from water and sewer systems, Martin said.

Part of the problem is a decrease in tap fees, which builders pay to tap into the water system. New construction has slowed, which means that money isn’t coming in. “We generally have identified an operating deficit annually, without tap fees, of about $90,000,” Martin said. Part of the cost is payment on the debt for the water system, which costs $115,000 per year. The town started paying on a 20-year loan eight years ago. The plant was finished in about 2003, Martin said. “Without that debt payment, we’re generally operating in the black,” he said. “But with that debt payment, we’ve got to come up with that.”

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Hayden: Town trustees okay new water tower design

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From the Steamboat Pilot & Today (Blythe Terrell):

At its meeting Thursday, the Hayden Town Board of Trustees told Russ Martin that the project was worth the risk that it won’t get funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Design for the project could cost $75,000, and Hayden already has spent one-third of that.

The water storage tank, which probably would be built near Yampa Valley Regional Airport, is expected to cost $2.5 million. The town could get as much as $2 million in stimulus money. If the town wants to keep moving, it must move now, Martin said. “They literally have to have a 60 percent design by May 27, and they will have to have a 100 percent, final design by the end of June,” Martin said. “This is the game they’re putting us in, and if we want to do it, this is what we’ve got to do.”

If the town gets $2 million for the $2.5 million project, that could mean water rate increases, Martin said. It’s too soon to know how much those hikes would be, he said.