John Scarffe, Nederland. A new Waste Water Treatment facility and sewer maintenance dominated the 2018, $4.9 million budget approved by the Nederland Board of Trustees during a regular meeting at 7 p.m., December 5, 2017, at the Nederland Community Center. Town Treasurer Jennifer Hogan explained the budget in detail and discussed changes in the Nederland fee schedule.
Mayor Kristopher Larsen thanked Hogan and staff for their work in preparing the budget. They conducted a series of meetings, public hearings and charrettes.
The proposed budget has been presented and discussed in its component parts since September 12, according to background. The latest review was conducted by the Board on November 21, 2017.
The following Budget is adopted for the Fiscal Year beginning January 1, 2018, and ending December 31, 2018. Estimated revenue and sources of cash: Anticipated revenues from all sources: $4,926,054; Anticipated use of reserves: $19,610; Total: $4,945,664.
Estimated expenditures for each fund: General Fund: $2,793,371; Conservation Trust Fund: $16,000; Community Center Fund: $391,068; Water Fund:
$708,808; Sewer Fund: $812,422; Downtown Development Authority Fund: $30,700; Downtown Development Authority TIF Fund: $2,900. Total: $4,755,269.
The Nederland Downtown Development Authority (NDDA) Board of Directors recommended adoption of the NDDA budget at its regular meeting on November 15.
Hogan said that budget highlights include increased sales tax to 9 percent over projected 2017 taxes for an increase of $271,000 and total budget of $1.4 million. Property taxes are reassessed every two years.
The Town has 24 full-time and six part-time employees. Salary costs to increase a part-time street employee to full time is budgeted at a $7,000 salary and $7,000 in benefits for a total of $14,000, Hogan said. Personnel expenses will total $1.2 million.
For the general fund, professional services will total $231,000, and the Town will spend $90,000 for maintenance on such items as building repairs, police rent, park maintenance and street lights.
Capital improvements include $10,000 for a concrete pad and a parks upgrade with a $6,000 matching grant. The snow plow truck has a seven-year loan, so payments will be made.
The Sewer fund capital improvements have multiple items such as manhole repairs, mains and a new vehicle. The design and engineering of the Waste Water Treatment Plant Biosolids project will get up to 100 percent in 2018 but will be reimbursed by a loan, Hogan said, and will hopefully be awarded a $950,000 grant for improvements. It is a $2 million project.
Capital improvements from the water fund include the other half of the new vehicle, a Micro Hydro Feasibility Study with a matching $8,000 grant, and other projects, Hogan said.
Grant activity includes a Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant for the Biosolids project, a Great Outdoors Colorado grant for Fishing is Fun; a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment grant for Pursuing Excellence Raw Water Filtration, a Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority grant for the Micro Hydro Feasibility Study with an $8,000 match and a GOCO Parks grant with a $6,000 town match.
For the fund year comparison in the General Fund, sales and property taxes have increased with a total revenue increase of $1 million including grants.
Increased are personnel related expenses, increasing salaries based on the three-year living wage initiative. Law enforcement is up $50,000, and that includes salary related increases. The Police Department audit will cost $15,000, Hogan said. For revenues versus expenditures, operating expenses will be up $114,000, but the Town will be bringing in $177,000 in operating revenue more than it did last year. Capital expenditures total $41,000, and the net change in assets is a negative $18,000.
For the Water Fund, the changes in rates are explained in the fee schedule. Total revenue is $707,000, operating expenses are $475,000, capital improvements $91,000 and debt payments of $143,000, resulting in a net change in cash of negative $1,200.
The Sewer Fund will also contain a fee schedule increase. Total revenue is budgeted to be $814,000, operating expenditures $527,000, capital improvements $42,000 and debt payments of $244,000, resulting in a positive net change in cash of $2,000.
Trustee Dallas Masters said: “I think we should be spending more money put into street maintenance, and I’m surprised that we pay more for parks than road maintenance. Hogan said she has an additional line for salt, asphalt, etc.
Masters said: “I don’t think we spend enough money on street maintenance. JVA did a study and we should be spending more than we currently do. I hope we get streets more weight when we do our budget. I’m not sure how we reallocate funds here.”
Trustee Kevin Mueller said the budget shows a 78 percent increase in water and gas usage and a 55 percent increase in gas costs for the Nederland Community Center. “Do we have any control over our utilities? With a 78 percent increase in gas usage, I want to go check out the heaters and see if they are set correctly. Electrical and gas consumption continues to rise every year in all of our facilities.”
Mayor Larsen said the budget is the same or reduced compared to last year. Mueller said: “This is back from 2015, three years, a 55 percent increase. We don’t have a plan to address our emissions. What do we do to address the two issues we face, fires and floods? They tell us to reduce emissions, but here we stand with no plan to address emissions.”
Hogan presented the 2018 Fee Schedule. Noteworthy increases include the water fee with a three percent increase, and the sewer fund with a four percent increase. To use Chipeta Park for 100 people will now cost $500. The deposit has increased but the rental fee remains the same. Dog licenses through the Police Department will now be $10, but parking violations will now be reduced from $75 to $50.
Hogan said that for water and sewer utility bills, Town staff will work with people if they come in and are working toward paying their balance down.
You can pay online, which includes a processing fee, or you can pay by cash or check at Town Hall.
The Board approved the 2018 Budget and Fee Schedule, with Trustee Mueller voting against it.
(Originally published in the December 14, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)