The Saratoga Sun -

High Country talks budgets

Board debates current, previous budget

 


At 6:25 p.m. on Friday, at the Hanna Town Hall, the High Country Joint Powers Board (HCJPB) held a special meeting to discuss the budget.

“Medicine Bow did not accept our budget as presented,” Toby Smith, Chairman of the HCJPB and Medicine Bow rep said. “They asked us to redo it. I guess Hanna Town Council did the same thing.”

Besides Smith, those in attendance to this special meeting were Sharon Biamon, mayor of Medicine Bow and rep for the town; Morgan Irene, mayor of Elk Mountain and rep; Marcia Beals, Hanna rep and HCJPB treasurer; and Lois Buchanan, mayor of Hanna.

“The suggestion that was made to me, (was) that until we have some real data, we take last years budget and work off of it,” Biamon said. “Then see what we come up with in two or three months. We have no facts to go with.”

Irene voiced concern the old budget might leave the towns in a position of having to make up a considerable amount of money because not enough money had been collected.

The Hanna landfill is scheduled to be closed June 27 and trash for the three towns will be taken to Laramie to be disposed of. This leaves uncertainty on how much it will actually end up costing the towns for the new system of getting rid of the towns’ trash.

The board had proposed a budget that was going to increase costs to residents of the towns substantially. For Hanna, Buchanan said it would come to an extra $21 a month.

“What Hanna would like to see, the first budget we saw said it would cost $175,000 instead of the current number of $184,000,” Buchanan said. “If we need to go up, we can come back to the citizens, and ask for an increase.”

Biamon said Medicine Bow town council was adamant about not raising the resident’s bill by $20-$30.

“It just is not going to happen,” Biamon said.

Beals and Irene said they were concerned about using the 2019-2020 budget, that there were not expenses that will occur as the landfill closes.

“I don’t have a problem going in with lower numbers, but I want us to be aware there are going to be expenses we know are going to occur with the closure,” Irene said. “I understand everyone’s thoughts, that you don’t want to go in high and have residents shocked with their bills.”

Biamon said there was too much unknown and she wanted to go with the budget from the year before and work off that.

There were moments of tension between the board members trying to come to a budget that was acceptable to all.

“I appreciate all the work that has gone into the budget presented, I really do, but I just wish we had a lower point to start with so that we don’t whack our residents with a large bill all at once,” Buchanan said. “If we need to climb it up as we go along, it would be much easier.”

“Just so everyone understands that if we run this for six months, and costs are what we expect them to be, we don’t have savings to bail us out of a hole,” Irene said.

“If it looks like we are going into the hole, we can reevaluate in two months, instead of waiting six months,” Biamon said.

In the end, the board decided to go with last year’s budget.

“I make the motion to do away with this budget and go with last year’s budget amount until we figure out exactly what it is going to cost us,” Biamon said.

Irene seconded it.

Beals did dissent.

“Just for the record, I don’t want to go with last year’s budget, just a budget lower than what was presented at the town council on Tuesday,” Buchanan said.

The next scheduled meeting will be at 6 p.m. on July 2 at Elk Mountain Town Hall.

 

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