New Castle won’t ask developers for a $45K check |

New Castle won’t ask developers for a $45K check

John Colson

NEW CASTLE — The trustees here will not require the developers of Castle Valley Ranch to write a check for up to $45,000 payable to the town, although they could have.

Instead, the board of trustees decided on Tuesday night to keep that option open for the future, since the town really does not need the money this year, according to Town Administrator Tom Baker.

Baker explained that the town and the developers have an arrangement going back to the late 1990s, when the town was worried about coming up with the money to meet its growing debts every year. Baker said the developers of Castle Valley Ranch agreed to help out with what Baker said was “essentially a loan” anytime the town’s tap fee collections fell below $90,000 in a given year.

The deal, Baker said, was for the developers to pay up to $45,000 to help the town meet its obligations

“The intent here was to backstop us on debt service,” Baker said, “but that is not required now, in 2013.”

As the flip side of the deal, Baker continued, any time the town’s tap-fee revenue rises above $90,000, the town is expected to use the overage to pay back previous “loans” by writing a check to Castle Valley Ranch.

Baker said the trustees several years ago reworked their debt load and that this year’s anticipated tap-fee income of $48,000 is expected to be sufficient to meet the town’s obligations.

The debt in question, according to town finance officer Lyle Layton, is on the $8.2 million spent to upgrade the town’s water-wastewater plant in 2008.

In other action, the trustees agreed to raise their annual contribution to the Clear Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER), an organization providing assistance to local governments, businesses and homeowners to increase the energy efficiency of houses, businesses and government facilities.

The town will be contributing $15,500 to CLEER for 2014, Baker said, an increase of $2,500 to the originally budgeted amount of $13,000.

He noted that CLEER had asked for an increase of $5,000, and pledged to use that additional amount only for energy-efficiency projects in New Castle, but the town opted instead to “give them an extra $2,500 with no strings attached.”

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