BP prepares to set sewer rates
By Joy Ufford, [email protected]
BIG PINEY – As the Town of Big Piney works on its 2017-2018 budget, the council was reminded at its April 18 meeting of a drastic drop in anticipated tax revenues from this fiscal year to the next.
For this current fiscal year ending June 30, mayor Ben Jenkins said, sales and use tax revenues from the state came to $545,428 – but for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the town will be working with an estimated $350,000 in sales and use tax revenues.
“As you are well aware, we took a 36-percent cut this year,” Jenkins said. “So we’ll be sharpening the pencil. … We went from $545,000 projected to $350,000 – that’s a big drop.”
Although the town has other revenues, this tax distribution is a large source of its budget funding, according to town clerk/treasurer Kristi Gray.
The council held a special budget session on April 11 and will have another, not scheduled yet, in May. Budget requests will be heard at the Big Piney Town Council’s regular meeting on May 16.
One big agenda item was tabled last Tuesday – Resolution 2017-01 – to set user rates for the municipal sewer system. Big Piney’s wastewater is pumped to the Marbleton wastewater treatment facility on a system set up last year. The town set a flat monthly fee until operating costs were determined.
However, after the council discussed recouping its costs for “excessive discharge” due to customers’ infiltration into the system at several key locations, Scherbel said, “Maybe we should relook at the numbers.”
“I agree with you,” said Jenkins. “So let’s table it. … We have until July 1. Maybe we can talk about it at the next budget meeting.”
Deputy clerk Linda Morton said she would send out letters to customers whose excessive water going into the sewer system could add to the town’s costs, as well as a letter to all customers notifying them the sewer rates will be changing in the near future.
Water/sewer manager Joe Dankelman reported on a possibility to run a camera through the sewer system and film its condition.
The Town of Pinedale offered a loan of its camera but it only reaches 100 feet and Big Piney would need one that reached “at least 250 feet,” he said.
“Sewer cameras run from $10,000 to $30,000 and some don’t capture the video; you have to sit and watch it,” he added.
Councilmember Scott Scherbel noted manholes are 400 feet apart, saying, “If we had our own camera we could film down there while we were cleaning (pipes).”
“That would be really nice to have,” Dankelman said. “Handy to have for sure.
Councilmember Michelle Hymas asked him to “take a look” at different cameras and “check the price.”
“It’s a thought, not a gift,” Jenkins said.
The council also held the first of three readings to amend its municipal Ordinance 17-01, to set closing hours for retail liquor sales within town limits.
Town attorney Scott Sargent explained that state law has been changed so incorporated towns could take oversight and set different hours if they choose.
“The towns set theirs now,” Sargent told the council. “The county attorney’s office said they want everyone’s to be the same … but it’s your home rule.”
Jenkins read the ordinance, which allows liquor “dispensaries” to open at 6 a.m. and close at 2 a.m., which can be modified for four separate 24-hour stretches for special events.
“Leave it the same as it’s been?” asked Scherbel.
“We’ve never had a problem,” Jenkins replied.
Councilmember Sherri Redden made a motion to approve the first reading, seconded by Hymas. The council, with Aimee Davison absent, voted “aye” to approve the ordinance. It will be read twice more at regular monthly meetings and then take effect.
Also at the April 18 meeting, the council heard about citizens’ concerns of speeding vehicles near the Marbleton Pavilion and drivers “going fast and cutting corners” around Beck Street and Miller Way.
The council wasn’t keen on installing any “stop” signs. Parks and streets employee Kara Losik said she would install “yield” and “children at play” signs on a post on Beck Street.
Also in Big Piney news:
• Apartment owner Roy Christensen described “two issues, both involving water,” which the council, Christensen and Dankelman resolved. The council decided to treat apartment buildings the same as trailer courts regarding vacancies, when it comes time for monthly bills.
• Mayor Jenkins and the council approved SAFV’s proclamation for the town’s participation with April designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
• Darren Davison gave the Big Piney recreation report, saying he needs riders weighing less than 200 pounds to volunteer for the April 26 donkey basketball game. He also invited the public to stop by Friday for community cleanup day.
• Losik reported on needed sidewalk repairs as the concrete is failing. Hymas told her the Boy Scouts were looking for community service projects and Losik suggested they could hand-rake the town parks.