Star Valley Finances Remain Healthy

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A mid-year checkup shows Star Valley’s finances are in good health. The town has almost $3 million in cash and savings halfway through the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Financial Administrator Chancy Nutt told the Star Valley council Feb. 4 that the town is on track to have $3.33 million at the end of the fiscal year, with $2.9 million earmarked for various special projects. When it set the 2013-14 budget, the council asked to have $2.6 million available by June 30.

“The general fund is producing $16,030 revenue over expenditures each month,” Nutt said. “Current projected fiscal year carryover is $192,360 that can be utilized for current year projects or held in contingency funds for one- to five-year plans. Large projects within the next five years benefit by using contingency fund savings plans,” she said.

Grier reminded the council to prepare for the continuing reduction in the revenues produced by the town’s photo enforcement program.

Nutt’s report detailed this warning.

“As of the second quarter of this fiscal year the photo enforcement program is exceeding expenditures by $19,532 each month with a projected decrease of 9 percent in revenues for the last six months of the fiscal year. Projected revenues are $208,370 at fiscal year end. It is important to keep in mind that multi-year analysis of this program reflects a steady decline of 10 percent each fiscal year. This decline becomes compounded into future fiscal years. Retained funds from photo enforcement fines are used to supplement the cost of law enforcement in Star Valley ... the annual cost is $383,273, leaving a deficit of $174,903 ... covered by other revenue sources.”

Star Valley contracts with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office for police protection at a rate that works out to about $167 per capita. For comparison, Payson next door has its own police department which costs roughly $300 per capita based on Payson’s proposed fiscal 2014-15 budget.

The report shows Star Valley’s revenues are running about 1 percent ahead of projections for the first six months of the budget cycle. By contrast, town spending is about 4 percent below the adopted budget.

The town’s water department is showing a slight loss at mid-year — it is $2,621 in “the red.”

However, projections call for a $11,500 surplus by the end of the fiscal year.

“The goal with the water company was never for profit, but providing a reliable resource. The rates can run the water company without going up,” said Grier.

Among the improvement projects accomplished or in progress in the first two quarters of FY ’13-14:

• Installation of a pressure reduction valve

• 30 water meter change-outs

• Successful placement of new holding tanks and storage facilities at the Milky Way and Quail Hollow sites

Additional projects accomplished since the purchase of the water company from Brooke Utilities:

• Development of a well-monitoring program

• Creation of an intergovernmental agreement with the Town of Payson for a back-up water supply and emergency response service

• Rebuilding of plumbing for The Knolls well site

• Pump replacement at The Knolls well site

• Pump replacement at Star Valley number 2 (well)

• Chlorinator replacement at The Knolls site

• Chlorinator replacement at the Star Valley 2 site

• Improvements and maintenance to property at Quail Valley site

• Grant options research and application

• Installation of new water customer service

• Successfully secured Community Devel­opment Block Grant money for two well site improvements: Milky Way and Quail Hollow

Grier advised the council that Star Valley will not take part in the next cycle of funding through the CDBG program, so that needs to be kept in mind as new projects are considered.

“We are still in sound financial position. Staff needs to know if the council wants to keep the ($2.6 million) goal set when the budget was approved or make adjustments. Council also needs to prioritize projects,” Grier said.

CURRENT PROJECTS

Star Valley projects that get started in the current fiscal year include:

• Sprague Crossing, a streets project expected to cost $120,000

• Main Line installation, a water project that may cost $60,000

• Demolition of house on recently purchased property, $13,000

• Granite Butte Road, another streets project, $8,000

• Moonlight Road, second phase, an additional road project, $120,000

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