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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:17 pm 
This begins a series about infrastructure using Silver City as an example as it is the largest and most developed Municipality in Grant County while recognizing that the smaller municipalities will have many unique issues. Each aspect will get its own article so those wishing to discuss a specific topic please wait for that specific topic article so we can have a coherent discussion by topic that is easily researched.

Over the past few years then Mayor James Marshall often warned of the general decreasing funds, grants and allocations from the state for a number of reasons, while Town Manager/Finance Director Alex Brown warned of increasing volatility in Gross Receipts Taxes into the General (Operations) Fund. Although there were problems before the 2008 general meltdown of the US economy that kept the administration and workers at less than optimal levels the situation has further deteriorated to the point that another major manipulation of the budget is taking place to maintain infrastructure, adequate work force and finish a few major projects. Though at the moment there is a temporary bump-up of GRT income from a major remodeling of the Holliday Inn and a new building, CSV Pharmacy, these are short lived GRT increases leading to only a few more substandard paying jobs.

Hold Harmless?
One major decrease in funding is the phase-out of the "Hold Harmless" payments from the state. When the sales tax (GRT) on food and drugs was eliminated some 10 years ago, municipalities and counties faced a big and sudden hit to their general fund that would drive many into bankruptcy so the legislature passed the "Hold Harmless" bill wherein the grocery stores and pharmacies would report their non-taxable food and drug sales and the state would send an equivalent "tax" payment to the municipality or county as if tax had ben paid on those items. Silver City receives about $1.6 million per year but starting next year, Year 1 of the phase-out, SC will loose $100,000; Year 2 - $200,000; Year 3 - $300,000 and by Year 5 - $500,000 the formula changes slightly until by Year 15 all payments are stopped assuming nothing is changed by the legislature. Municipalities under 10,000 population have an option of keeping the Hold Harmless payments or raising their GRT by 3/8 percent but those with larger populations only have an option of raising GRT by 3/8 percent. Silver City , with a population of about 10,315 is contemplating the tax increase for the near future, but…. According to Alex Brown, the 1/8 percent will not cover the losses so an ambitious restructuring of the finances is underway and is already causing some questions and criticisms concerning water rates which will be covered right a way in Part 2.

First some basic numbers- Silver City is 10 square miles with a population of 10,315 according to 2010 census. In reality on any give weekday the population can nearly double to 20,000 because Silver City is the shopping hub and County Seat with a few tourists thrown in.

There are 36 miles of Town owned streets (highways are not included), an average block is 350 ft making about 15 blocks per mile. It costs about $162,000 per block to redo the pavement, including base coarse, sidewalk, curb and gutter and 4 ADA pedestrian ramps at each corner. All these are important and will be covered more in-depth as the articles proceed.

Facts and numbers quoted in the articles come from Town Documents, Department heads, US Census data, and Town Manager/Finance Director Alex Brown and others as cited.

Topics will include:

Water Rates, water infrastructure and Sewer;
Streets, paving and repair;
Parks and Recreation;
Police and Animal Control
Living Wages

Other suggestions can be posted here or emailed to me- gilacomm@gilacommunity.net

 Author: Suzaan
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:40 am 
US Census data, and Town Manager/Finance Director Alex Brown and others as cited.

 Author: eman
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:52 am 
Enough for now, more soon, but may this kick off communication leading to change and a better community.

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