Citing a plethora of unexpected revenue from development permits, taxes on local options and forest fires this year, Hailey City Council put a budget for 2021 on Monday evening.
The budget for 2021 was officially changed and sealed four days before the start of the new financial year on October 1st.
In August, the city council increased the 2021 budget from $ 12.7 million to $ 13.9 million, largely to reflect the acquisition of 116 S. River St. The 2021 household budget was originally approved in the summer of 2020 with over $ 1 million worth of cuts to the general fund over concerns over financial implications related to COVID. However, pandemic-induced tourism turned things around between last fall and this summer, according to city manager Heather Dawson, and resulted in an “unprecedented” surge in the city’s revenue stream.
Dawson reported earlier this month that development permits and taxes on local options were “the highest level ever seen in the city of Hailey.” This trend continued until the end of September and made a budget increase necessary, she reported on Monday.
âWe’re getting so much more income than we budgeted for. It looks like the building permits are coming in even stronger than we expected four weeks earlier, âsaid Dawson.
City prioritizes road safety, library projects
Hailey’s budget increase for 2021 can be broken down into two categories: an increase in the city’s general operating fund revenue by $ 300,000 from development permits and the 1% increase in the city’s local option tax for Air, and an increase in the capital fund by $ 518,000. Dollar, which comes mainly from other local options, is tax income.
All of the $ 170.00 of the 1% tax will be distributed to the Sun Valley Air Service Board to be used on air traffic improvements at Friedman Memorial Airport.
Of the $ 130,000 general fund revenue from development fees, the city will spend $ 65,000 on required building inspection and inspection services; $ 20,000 for a new lane and drainage system on Countryside Drive and Woodside Boulevard, an increase from the $ 12,000 proposed earlier this month; $ 18,000 for a new police radio system; $ 10,000 for phone line, computer line, and hardware repairs at the Hailey Public Library; $ 8,000 for city hall window repairs; $ 7,000 for tree maintenance; and $ 2,000 for participating in the Wood River Valley Forest Enhancement Project.
Hailey Police Chief Steve England said a new wireless radio system was urgently needed in the armory building to receive radio communications from the dispatch.
âWe need to place handheld radios strategically throughout the building and turn up the volume to hear. There are a lot of dead spots in the armory. It’s a big problem, âhe said. “Officers have to go outside or do a little dance to find the right place.”
As for the $ 518,000 increase in Hailey’s equity fund, $ 375,000 will come from local tax revenue and will be spent on a new $ 300,000 snow blower and $ 75,000 toilet upgrade project at the Hailey Public Library . The remaining $ 143,000 received from the Hailey Fire Department’s four regional forest fire operations will help the city buy a new fire truck and pay for repairs to its existing engines.
In a public comment session, Elizabeth Jeffrey from Hailey said she wished the council had allocated more funding to the promised clean energy transition.
“With this unexpected stroke of luck, I really hope that a reasonable percentage will increase building and transportation efficiency, and that is being taken seriously,” she said.
Hailey resident Rob Blakeslee asked the council why some of the unexpected proceeds couldn’t be used to repair the popular gravel entrance that leads to Lions Park and Bow Bridge.
âIt’s nice to see that the city is doing well … but this area is an absolute disaster. It’s an abomination, âhe said. âPlan it out and flatten it so you can drive through without damaging the floor of your car. It’s embarrassing. We have to do something.”
Alderman Juan Martinez assured Blakeslee that the $ 300,000 replacement snow blower would be useful in maintaining access to Lions Park during the winter as the park no longer serves as a primary snow store.
âThat will be the one [cityâs] first new snow blower since I was in ninth grade. That’s exciting stuff, âhe said. “We invest money where it is urgently needed.”