Orchard City trustees held their first work session for the 2017 budget on Sept. 21. In addition to reviewing department spending proposals, trustees discussed donations the town may make next year.
The town will pay $53,900 to the county sheriff department next year to cover sheriff's expenses for one full-time patrol officer. The town will also pay the sheriff's department $36,000 for a patrol vehicle as is done every four years, according to town staff.
The organizations that may receive donations from the town in the finalized budget are Delta County Economic Development, All Points Transit, Friends of Cedaredge Animal Control, Surface Community Services Food Bank, Orchard City Trustee Student of the Month Program, Delta Housing Authority, Hope West, Dolphin House, Juvenile Diversion, Delta Correctional Facility for work crew transportation costs, and Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce.
Trustees looked at three project priorities in the water fund. They are to complete a GPS mapping of the entire system; making a study of water rates with an eye toward a possible increase in the future; and writing a capital improvements plan looking out five to 10 years.
Trustees are considering hiring additional staff for field personnel and an office worker.
The town's roads got a lot of discussion at the work session. Discussion centered around the lack of funds available for needed work. Trustees then noticed a large road fund balance carryover and decided to add money for crack sealing and chip-and-seal work yet this fall if it can be scheduled.
A truck bed-mounted device for laying down road shoulders bought in 2014 has never worked as expected. The purchase is being deemed "a $6,900 mistake" and the equipment will be advertised for sale on e-bay.
The town has 40 miles of roads to maintain.
Trustees and staff are looking into the idea of a 2 percent sales tax for the town. Roads have been identified as a priority use of money raised from a town sales tax. A voter approved sales tax might also require the town to begin issuing businesses licenses to help ensure tax payments are being collected, trustees noted.
Guidelines for beginning winter snow plow operations will be revised in order to save damage to town roads caused by plowing when snow accumulation is still light.
Equipment maintenance is a top priority for parks department capital spending. Major maintenance on mowing equipment and rebuild of a pump motor are under consideration for the town's 2017 spending plan.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.