Written by Mark Reaman
Wednesday, 03 October 2012
Nordic skiers plus hockey players equals chaos!
Nordic Council board member Skip Berkshire asked the council for some help. He said that while the new Big Mine ice arena was a “home run,” it came with some negative ramifications on the local Nordic program that he’d like the council to fix sooner rather than later. The Nordic Warming House is shared with ice skaters.
“There were people who came to town to Nordic ski and they couldn’t even try on their boots because there was so much chaos in that building,” he told the council. “It made the New York subway system look like a stroll on the Woods Walk. The ice rink is a great amenity but I am pleading with the town to deal with the ramifications. It’s all about money and you are in the budget process.
“I implore you to think hard about the unbridled success of the project,” Berkshire continued. “The Nordic program had a rough season last year with the low snow and this could further negatively impact the Nordic program in Crested Butte. You need to address the problem sooner rather than later.”
Sales tax is up and lots of people want to be the clerk
Town finance director Lois Rozman told the council August set another sales tax record for Crested Butte. Compared to 2011, August sales tax was up 1.8 percent. For the year, sales tax in Crested Butte is up almost 4 percent. “June, July and August of this year were all record months for us,” she said.
“June is only a little behind March,” observed town councilman Jim Schmidt. “That’s incredible.”
Rozman also told the council that the town has received 55 applications for the position of Town Clerk.
Standard Mine looking better
Town planner John Hess said work at the Standard Mine is about completed for the summer. He said the amount of water now coming out of the mine is relatively small. He suggested that decrease in water volume could result in a new plan for dealing with the polluted water originating from the mine.
The council gave a collective thumbs-up to a conceptual plan concerning renovating the current tennis courts at the Four-way Stop. A group of local tennis enthusiasts have been working with Parks and Recreation director Jake Jones in developing a plan to replace the courts. They presented the council with a concept that included a slight shifting of the courts, the addition of a new pavilion and the replacement of some near-by trees. The cost of the project would be funded without any town financial contribution, save for some in-kind contributions.
“Given our budget situation, using private funds to pay for the bulk of the project is the only way such a project would get done,” said Rozman. “That is terrific. You need to leverage money like that.”
The council agreed in concept to the new plan.
A public hearing on a new Gunnison County Electric Association franchise agreement with the town will be held November 5. The town will also begin the process of readdressing a franchise agreement with Atmos Energy.
The council heard from Arts Alliance chairperson Jenny Birnie that the arts are a real economic player in the valley. Based on recent studies, it was determined that millions of dollars are generated and circulated from arts in the community. “We are serious about the work we do,” Birnie told the council. “We are here and we support the local business community and we have an impact.”
The town is preparing to extend sewer services to seven homes in the McCormick Ranch subdivision just east of town. According to a report from director of Public Works Rodney Due, this will help protect nearby wetlands as well as protect public health. Construction on the project will start this month. Tap fees to the homes will be one-and-a-half times the town rate, while monthly service fees will be double the town rate.
ORE changes and Tipsie Taxi
Councilperson Glenn Michel reported to the council that he and Office for Resource Efficiency (ORE) executive director Maya Silver sat down and had a “heart-to-heart” talk after an article in last week’s Crested Butte News. In the article Michel expressed some major concerns with ORE. He said a board retreat will be held this month and the meeting “will address the difficult issues.”
Michel also said as a member of the Mountain Express board, he and fellow council representative Roland Mason would be lobbying to make sure the Late Night Taxi was adequately funded. “We understand the value of the Tipsie Taxi,” he said. “The 2013 Mountain Express budget is not officially approved yet and we’ll be discussing that issue.”
Mason also suggested the town look at taking its contribution for the late-night service out of the town transportation fund instead of its service grant budget.
Waste Management might help promote winter?
The council is also pondering how to set aside some money to promote winter events. Mayor Aaron Huckstep said there has been some discussion about a plan that would create a pot of money to help promote winter events that impact both Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. The two towns along with Waste Management would theoretically contribute $7,000 each to the pot of money. “No details have been worked out but Waste Management asked how they could contribute something to the community,” Huckstep said. “It is a way for us to leverage some dollars that can perhaps stimulate the economy.”
The rest of the council was intrigued by the “not quite fully baked idea” but wanted more specifics on possible proposals and contributions.