Fraser Board approves 2016 budget | SkyHiNews.com

Fraser Board approves 2016 budget

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

The Fraser Board of Trustees approved its 2016 budget at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The budget includes a number of allocations for programs and issues identified as priorities throughout the year, including economic development, affordable housing and downtown planning.

The town has budget $50,000 for economic development programs.

Half of that will go toward Fraser's Business Enhancement Grant Program, which disburses money to local business owners to improve the physical appearance of their business.

The rest will go to consulting services aimed at developing economic development policies.

The budget also allocates $25,000 to attainable housing consulting services and $50,000 to downtown planning initiatives.

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Voters approved a 1 percent sales tax increase for transportation and trails, and Fraser will begin collecting that revenue on Jan. 1.

The budget presented to the board establishes a new fund, the Restricted Revenue Fund, to account for that revenue.

Finance Manager Nat Havens and Town Manager Jeff Durbin kept 2016 trail expenditures in the town's general fund "to ensure adequate funding through the establishment of the system," according to the budget message.

Water and wastewater fees will increase 5 percent next year.

Water and Wastewater Committee Member Ron Anderson told the board that he supported the fee increase given impending regulations from the state.

"It's a business," Anderson said. "We have to increase rates. I pay a lot monthly for sewer and water personally, out of my pocket. I don't want to see it, but I understand we have to do it for the business aspect of the town and just to keep things going."

Havens said he expected the town would find grant money to help defray any new costs.

The increase will generate around $71,000, Havens said.

The board also approved transferring $250,000 in the general fund to the fund's committed reserves, bringing its total committed reserve to $1 million. In the water fund, the board transferred $40,000 in to the operation and maintenance emergency reserve fund, bringing the total reserve to $500,000. In the wastewater fund, the board transferred $500,000 to the operation and maintenance emergency reserve fund, $221,000 to committed reserves for capital emergencies within the collection system and $330,000 to committed reserves for joint facilities fund emergencies.

The moves reflect an emphasis on building the town's reserves that Havens had encouraged early in the budget process.

"I'd really like to say that by approving the resolution for reserves, I think that is such a huge and positive move for this community that we'll all be really proud of," Havens said.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.

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