Council gives new budget first reading

Nathan Oster

The Greybull Town Council on April 8 approved on first reading its proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The budget is very similar to the one that was approved for the current fiscal year, according to Administrator/Finance Director Carrie Hunt.
Ordinance 895 anticipates $3.4 million in revenues:  $1.35 million general fund, $900,000 water fund, $360,000 sewer fund, $380,000 sanitation fund and $433,000 capital improvements fund.
Expenditures of $1.35 million in support of general fund activities along with $1.64 million in enterprise (water, sewer and sanitation) spending are projected.
The budget for the current fiscal year earmarked $1.34 million in general fund spending.
Town residents are likely to experience some pain in their wallets, however. Ordinance 896, which also passed on first reading, would raise water rates by approximately 3%.  
The money is needed, Hunt said, because the town was hit by a 10% increase from the Big Horn Regional Joint Powers Board, which oversees the water system that serves communities and districts as far south of Kirby and Lucerne.  For Greybull, it’s a supplementary source, utilized only when needed. The 10% increase adds about $20,000 to the town’s fee.
The new rates will take effect July 1.
In other April 8 business:
• At the request of Big Horn County Fair Board member Tracy Haley, the council waived the applicable fees for the Squeal Your Thirst fundraiser April 20 at the Los Gabanes Events Center.  The purpose of the event is to raise money for the construction of a new pig barn.
• The Greybull Days of ‘49 committees annual request for a street closure for the Saturday night dance was approved.  The council also gave the Big Horn County Arts Guild, represented by Rebecca Kinane and Deanna Skillman, authorization to utilize the parking lot across from town hall and block off a portion of South Fifth Street for a vendor fair on the Saturday of Days of ‘49 weekend.
• The Silver Spur asked for and was granted permission to close the portion of South Fifth in front of the bar for special musical events on May 10, June 7, July 12, Aug. 2 and Sept. 6.
• Chief Ken Blosser reported that the GPD had hired a new officer who is expected to start work in early May.
• The council approved the subdivision of a parcel of land owned by Cliff and Brooke Fink behind the Greybull Body Shop.  Their land is currently in the form of four parcels; they are requesting two. Along with the subdivison, the Finks are requesting that the new parcel closest to the body shop be re-zoned from residential to commercial, as they would like to put an RV park there.  The residential zoning of the other parcel, the one closest to the levee, would not change.  The council intends to hold a hearing on the rezoning proposal at its May 13 meeting.
• The council agreed to schedule a public meeting to discuss issues related to the takeover of the Shell Town Water Improvement District water system. The district initiated the discussion and  was represented at the meeting by Ev Dunklee and Patty Tyrell. The town’s engineer, Jake Wright of Nelson Engineering, opined that the risk to the town of doing so would be “minimal” and described it as “a small, simple system that is already supplied by the town and seems like a natural fit.”
• The council sold a lot in the Frontier subdivision to Josh Yoder.  He paid $16,524 for Lot 37, which measures 1.08 acres.  That price is a 15% discount off the full price.  From the start, the council has offered the lots at discounted rates to stimulate its development.  The question it’s wrestling with now is how much longer to discount and at what percentage.  The 15% discount will also apply to the two more sales that are in the works. After those two go through, the town will have sold 14 of the 37 lots and it will drop the discount to 10% for the next three months.
• The Big Horn County Fair’s bid of $100 for 40 of the town’s old streetlights was tabled by the council.  Clarification will be sought from Cash Duncan, the fair manager and submitter of the bid.
• The council approved a short-term rental application submitted by Landon Aspen Francis LLC for the property at 432 First Avenue North, but rejected a second one from the same LLC for the property at 719 13th Avenue North because it lacked signatures of nearby property owners.
• Among the ordinances that passed on third and final reading was Ordinance 889, the permanent financing piece of the sewer project.  It details the funding arrangement for the $979,583 project, which includes $219,583 that the town will need to repay over time.
• The council authorized the purchase of a mower to replace one that is not working. Money from the recent sale of surplus equipment will fund the purchase, which will be finalized before the end of the fiscal year.