Rollin’ rollin’ Roland Crested Butte’s Mountain Express and Rural Transportation Authority council representative Roland Mason was full of good bus news for the council at the February 4 meeting. He said the Mountain Express had received grants to purchase three new buses in the next two years. The plan is to get both a large and a small bus in 2014 and a new large bus in 2015. He said the Mountain Express hired an outside grant writing group “and it was money well spent.” Mason said the RTA will be discussing the possibility of running a bus to the Gunnison Airport as part of its regular route. “There are issues with luggage and timing but people are willing to at least discuss the idea,” he said. That meeting will take place Friday, February 8 at Crested Butte Town Hall.
Changes to the Watershed Ordinance The council directed town attorney John Belkin to make some changes to the town Watershed Ordinance. The changes are meant to increase the legal enforceability of the ordinance, enhance the standards that new development must meet to minimize adverse impacts to the watershed, and clarifies and simplifies the development permit review and issuance process.
Parking in lieu fees Local businessman Brian Schneider came to the council and declared that the council’s consideration of extending parking-in-lieu fees to a 10-year payout would not be considered fair by existing businesses that paid over the current five-year timeline. “It was a burden but it can be done. Banks will loan the money if need be,” said the co-owner of the Brick Oven Pizzeria. “I’m glad you all are trying to be pro-business and looking at ways to help businesses get started but let’s also support current businesses. We asked for an extension to pay those fees and didn’t get it. We figured out a way to pay them. It can be accomplished.” Atmos Energy agreement approved Council approved a franchise agreement for natural gas provider Atmos Energy. The town hasn’t had a gas franchise agreement for about two years. The town is looking at an agreement very similar to the one rejected by the council two years ago. Councilperson John Wirsing, who has consistently had an issue with the lack of some insurance provisions in the proposed agreements, questioned why some clauses he wants in regard to the town being named “additionally insured” continue to be left out. Atmos public affairs manager Brian Martens said it is the company policy to not provide that provision in any of its franchise agreements. Under the new proposal, in-town customers would see a 3 percent surcharge on their bill. That money would go to the town and is expected to raise about $35,000 in annual revenue. The council approved the agreement 6-1 with Wirsing voting no. It now goes to the PUC for approval.
Water meter relief? Public Works director Rodney Due and the town staff are working on a change to the ordinance regulating town water meters. Currently, the town regulation requires homeowners to replace meters when they stop working. Most of the current meters have about a 10-year life. But Due wants some flexibility that might ease the burden on citizens. The council gave the go-ahead to come up with some changes to the ordinance. That ordinance will be discussed at a public hearing on February 19. Sales tax ends up ahead for the year Finance director Lois Rozman said the town is ahead of budget as far as sales tax collections for 2012 but she doesn’t foresee a great fourth quarter. November sales tax was off by 3 percent compared to 2011. December was off 4 percent. For 2012, Crested Butte sales tax came in 3 percent ahead of last year.
BOZAR appeal coming to council The council agreed to hear an appeal of a Board of Zoning and Architectural Review (BOZAR) ruling. The owners of the Dogwood are coming to the council in hopes of getting a BOZAR decision overturned concerning noise restrictions. That appeal is set for February 19.