Some negotiating and creative juggling turned a cost over run into a road repair bargain in Star Valley.
The sharp pencil employed on items like a chip seal bid, could help account for the town's relatively good financial picture.
The town has gone through 83 percent of the fiscal year, but spent only 43 percent of the money budgeted -- mostly because of the deferral of some capital projects. By contrast, the town has already taken in 102 percent of the projected revenue, with two months left in the fiscal year, Town Manager Vito Tedeschi reported to the council on Tuesday.
"Even though some cities and towns are having some problems, we're in good shape," observed Mayor Chuck Heron.
Heron said even though many other cities are facing layoffs in their building departments as a result of a statewide slowdown in the housing industry, Star Valley's small building department remains busier than ever.
"Times are hard all over Arizona, but our building department has never been busier than right now," said Heron.
But the town continues to economize.
Several weeks ago, the Town Council had reluctantly rejected bids to chip seal several streets in town, when the price of oil sent the cost of the oily mixture used to seal and protect town streets soaring.
The town had budgeted $71,500, but the lowest bid came in at $87,630. Town Manager Tedeschi came back with some good news at Tuesday's meeting.
The town had adjusted the bid, using town crews to do some of the preparation work, including blading, ditching and preparing culverts. The town also scheduled the work to dovetail with the contractor's other projects. As a result, the contractor's new bid came in at $59,450 and the council approved the work.