Palmer Lake approves budget: Town council also approved a water rate increase

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The Palmer Lake town council approved the 2013 budget at the most recent board meeting and also approved a water rate increase.

Town residents will see a water rate increase of three percent. Residents currently pay a base of $35.92, $3.59 for capital improvements and $11.51 for a loan. With the new rate increase they will pay $37.00 for the base an additional $0.11 for capital improvement bringing that total up to $3.70. However there is no increase to the amount residents pay on the loan.

Current water rates have residents paying $3.43 per thousand gallons of water used for 0-15,000 gallons used and $5.60 per thousand for 15,001 gallons and up. In the new rate structure residents will pay $3.70 per thousand for 0-15,000 gallons and $6.05 for 15,001-20,000.If they use 20,001 or more they will pay $7.00 per thousand gallons used.

The water rate increase does not bring in revenue to the general fund but strictly goes towards the water enterprise fund.

The town expects to bring in $313,893 in general property taxes which are a slight drop from what was budgeted last year. The bond property tax is expected to bring in $145,830, again a slight drop from what was budgeted in 2012. Other taxes and fees are close to what was expected last year. Overall the town has budgeted $2.8 million in revenue for 2013

Out of that revenue the police department is expected to get $275,506 and the fire department is looking at revenue of $121,850. This year the police department continued to operate over budget which forced many cuts, including not renewing the chief of police contract. Former Chief Kieth Moreland's last day was Dec. 6.

Moreland's salary saves the town approximately $50,000 and allows the town to reinvest a portion of vacancy savings into police officer wages, training and equipment.

Tara Berreth, Palmer Lake town clerk, said what revenue the departments bring in is what they get to spend and will have to be really tight with their budget.

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