HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS - Construction of a pedestrian bridge and work on the town's sewer lagoons are major players in Hot Sulphur Springs' 2013 draft budget.
Longer than five-years in-the-making, the pedestrian bridge project may come into fruition during the summer of 2013, with a $232,000 Colorado Department of Transportation grant budgeted for the project. Also being paid for with about $50,000 in Conservation Trust Fund money supplied by Great Outdoors Colorado, the bridge design is in its final review with CDOT, according to Hot Sulphur Springs Town Clerk Sandy White. The town has spent about $18,000 of town funds up to this point on the bridge project, mostly on engineering.
The bridge will accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and cross-country skiers from the location near the new water treatment plant, over the Colorado River to the town's Pioneer Park. The project may go to bid as early as this spring.
Meanwhile, major work is under way on the town's sewer treatment facility. Due to extreme high runoff in April 2011, hydraulic pressure pushed up the liner of one of the lagoons, reducing the capacity of the lagoon and affecting treatment. The state issued a cease and desist a year ago July for not meeting treatment standards. The town has since contracted services with the engineering firm Kumar and Associates Inc., Denver, to help determine a solution to the problem, since the liner has not settled back down in spite of the dry summer. The town has executed a loan agreement with the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority in the amount of $706,000 to fix the problem, as well as make improvements to the aeration system, the headworks, splitter box room and infiltration and inflows in the collection system.
Because of the cost of pending improvements to the sewer treatment facility, a sewer rate increase went into effect on Oct. 1, and will show up on customer bills the end of December. Sewer rates increased by $7.98 per SFE.
Addressing the town's aging streets, the 2013 budget does not reflect any streets projects, but does show $80,900 for a "Street Improvements" line item. The town's 3 mils tax on its residents was passed three years ago, the tax proceeds of which are being set aside "for a few years to save to able to do a larger project" on streets, said White.
In terms of administration, for budget decisions such as cuts or raises, the town board has not indicated any changes, according to White.
A review of the 2013 draft budget took place on Nov. 15, with adoption slated for Dec. 6.