Guns in school...doing the training Crested Butte chief marshal Tom Martin informed the council there would be a practice session at the Crested Butte Community School in March to deal with a potential worst-case scenario in an “active shooter” gun situation. The exercise will involve public safety personnel in the region and deal with what to do if there is ever a shooter in the school. “We will be doing a table-top session on Thursday, March 21 and an on-site drill Saturday, March 23,” Martin said. “The exercise will involve an active shooter training scenario and is designed to train responding emergency personnel of their roles and responsibilities in these types of situations.
“It will be lights and sirens and maybe even a helicopter on Saturday,” said Martin. “Then we will have a debriefing with the participants.” Councilperson John Wirsing asked if there could be some public involvement in the exercise. “I’ve had a lot of people ask if citizens who are good with a firearm might be able to add something in such a situation,” he said. “People have also asked if our local officials would consider getting rid of the ‘gun-free zone’ at the school and train teachers to safely have guns.” “We’ve heard similar concerns and questions,” responded Martin. “We will be meeting with the school district and I’m sure the issues will come up.”
Love, the Constitution and parking-in-lieu fees The council rejected a request from local business owner Kylenna Falzone to extend the length of time businesses have to pay the town parking-in-lieu fees. Currently, the town gives them five years to pay off the fee. But Falzone was asking to extend that period to 10 years. She is renovating the Company Store building and some of the changes triggered fees for additional parking spaces. “I certainly don’t want to take 10 years to pay it off but it would help with the finances in the early stages of the business,” she told the council. “I know some people in the business community are against the idea but that’s why we have new councils...to consider new things. Hey, the Constitution has been amended 27 times. You might consider amending the payment schedule.” The general council feeling was that they didn’t want the town to become a banking institution. They also questioned the greater good to the community in general if the payment fee was extended to a decade. “I’ll still love you no matter what decision you make,” she assured the council. In the end, Councilperson Jim Schmidt made a motion to put the matter on the next agenda for discussion at the next council meeting. No other councilperson seconded his motion, so the issue was rejected. The council did instruct town attorney John Belkin to come up with “housekeeping” changes to the ordinance. He will tighten up the rules that allows businesses to pay the fee over a five-year period to the town. It will be more strict for businesses.
Other stuff: PBR, best drinking water, record sales taxes! * The council re-appointed Ben Eden as municipal judge. He said he continues to be amazed at the “PBR effect” when it comes to the cases that come before him. * The town received an award from the Colorado Rural Water Association for having the best-tasting drinking water in Colorado. Public Works director Rodney Due said he submitted a sample that came from Town Hall. “That guarantees that I didn’t cheat,” he said. * Town finance director Lois Rozman said the town had a record sales tax year in 2012. It beat out the previous record holder of 2007. With the exception of four months in winter, all the other months showed an increase in 2012 from 2011. * The council appointed a subcommittee to look over whether the town should make changes to the real estate transfer tax to close up some perceived loopholes. They agreed changes would be needed. Attorney Belkin will draft such changes. The town is also considering changes to the town watershed protection ordinance. * Staff is gathering data to record how much money is spent by the town for special events. For example, the Alley Loop cost the town about $4,000. If the organizers had paid out of pocket for things like equipment rental provided by the town, it would have been closer to $12,000. * Affordable housing fee calculations will also be revamped. Currently, annual changes to the fees are made based on the previous year’s real estate transactions. The council wants to take the average of the transaction sales over three years to come up with the fee. * The council is preparing for the new Spring Service Grant cycle. Local non-profits can apply for funds between April 1 and May 15. There is $17,295 available in the spring program. * Parks and Recreation Director Jake Jones said a grant application has been submitted to Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to improve the town tennis courts. Spearheaded by a group of local tennis players, the project would renovate the courts at the Four-way Stop replacing the existing courts with three new courts. Total cost is estimated to be $276,000. The citizen’s group has raised about $36,500 toward its $40,000 contribution goal. The hope is to do the work this fall if the grant is approved. * And the search for a new town manager continues. The field has been trimmed to 10. That will get trimmed in the next two weeks to five applicants or less.