Star Valley Council Conservative With Funds

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The Star Valley Town Council will continue to stash its cash.

“Probably the most important issue a council can decide is what to spend its money on and how much money it should have,” Town Manager Tim Grier told the council.

At its Aug. 7 meeting, the council voted to keep a cash reserve of $2.4 million, which includes the restricted Highway User Revenue Fund and the Rainy Day Fund.

The town will use the estimated $30,000-a-month it makes in excess of its operating costs to replenish the town’s Rainy Day Fund over a five-year period and for special projects.

The council will take up the matter of bringing the Rainy Day Fund back up to its original $1 million balance, as dictated by current ordinances, at another meeting. The council had asked for a resolution on the Rainy Day Fund repayment to be presented at the Aug. 7 meeting.

Grier told the council that as he reviewed the town’s ordinances to draft that resolution, he discovered a regulation requiring the Rainy Day Fund to have $1 million, and a super majority vote is needed to change that requirement. The fund recently held $1.2 million, but the town used half of that to buy the Payson Water Company serving the community from Robert Hardcastle and Brooke Utilities.

The council has been debating whether to repay the $600,000.

The existing ordinance requires the council to put the money back into the Rainy Day Fund over the course of five years. That would require payments into the fund of $80,000 annually, presumably from the estimated $360,000 the town has in excess of its operating expenses each year.

The council could use the remaining $280,000 for projects to benefit the community.

The town gets about $200,000 annually from the state as its share of the gas-tax-based HURF money. The HURF money comes from gasoline and use fuel taxes, motor carrier taxes, vehicle license taxes, motor vehicle registration fees, and other miscellaneous fees, mostly for use in road and highway projects.

Star Valley ordinances restrict the separate Rainy Day Fund to emergency use only.

Grier said knowing the amount of money available for special projects at the outset would make the decisions about which projects to pursue more logical and easier for the council.

“With this approach, you can decide where you want to be (as a town) by June 30, 2013,” Grier told the council.

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