Bayfield trustees receive financial audit

Town applying for state grant

for assessment of Fox Farm tower

Bayfield's general operating revenue was above budget in 2013, while general operating expenses were below budget, according to the 2013 audit presented to town trustees on July 15.

General fund revenue totalled $1.79 million, versus the $1.67 million that was budgeted, mainly because sales tax revenue came in at $91,890 more than was budgeted.

General fund spending totalled $1.73 million, versus $1.79 million budgeted.

However, when all governmental funds are thrown in, spending was above revenue, mainly because of capital improvement projects and debt payments, and road maintenance spending from a transportation fund created with $6.8 million that the Colorado Department of Transportation paid the town to take over Highway 160B (now Bayfield Parkway) in 2011.

At the end of 2013, the transportation fund had been drawn down to $5.1 million. Around $3 million of that is committed for replacement of the two green bridges on Bayfield Parkway.

The water and sewer funds are self-supporting utilities.

Water and sewer tap fee revenues each were about double what was budgeted, suggesting more construction activity than had been expected for 2013. Fund balances increased for both the water and sewer funds.

Trustee Ed Morlan asked why the $1.1 million in the water fund at the end of 2013 wasn't listed as restricted (committed), such as to build a new water treatment plant. "A citizen could come say, 'You have $1 million. Why are you charging me so much?'"

Finance Director Erin Dunavant and Town Manager Chris La May said fund commitments show up in the following year's budget.

The $1.1 million included a $915,000 starting balance plus $209,708 in operating income and $133,732 from tap sales.

Sewer system operating revenues were above expenses, not counting debt service on the sewage treatment plant.

Auditor Chad Atkinson said by phone conference call that, "Over all, the town's government fund resources look strong. The water fund is on a good course."

Town long-term debt at the end of 2013 included almost $4.2 million on the sewage plant and just under $1 million on the town hall.

In other action on July 15, trustees:

. Formally approved a price increase for bulk water sales from $6 per 1,000 gallons up to $10 per 1,000 gallons, as discussed at the July 1 board meeting and reported in the Times on July 11.

. Voted to notify the county clerk that the town plans to have a question on this November's election ballot. The town will seek voter approval to raise the town sales tax rate from 2 percent up to 3 percent, with the additional revenue to go for street-related maintenance or improvements. The same ballot question lost by nine votes in the April 1 town election, with 66 votes for and 75 against.

. Voted 4-3 to apply for a State Historical Society grant to assess whether the tower in the Fox Farm subdivision qualifies as a historical structure. The building is owned by the non-profit Community Development Corporation which developed the subdivision for workforce housing. The building has been in disrepair for years, and local parents think the open doors and broken windows are a hazard.

. Approved a change in the current sewer line replacement project to allow for installation of two or three water system gate valves at the Colorado/ Commerce Drive intersection being excavated for the sewer line work. The valves are needed to avoid shutting off water in large areas of town to fix a water line break, as happened a couple weeks ago.

"The break two weeks ago was on town right-of-way," Town Manager Chris La May said. "If it's under (Highway) 160, it won't be a four-hour fix. It'll be pretty dramatic. It probably should have been done when the (water) lines were installed. We would pay for this out of the Water Fund."

The exact cost won't be known until the excavation is done, he said. "Once we know, we'll bring that back to you for approval."

Public Works Director Ron Saba said: "How long it will take depends on what we find when we dig it up. There's a lot of unknowns. We'll build the valve cluster on the ground and install it at night."

. Representatives from Source Gas notified trustees that they will be replacing and increasing the size of their main gas line through town.