February sales tax numbers look optimistic. The numbers were up 4 percent for the month, bringing the first two months up 8 percent over 2012.
More open space Crested Butte Land Trust executive director Ann Johnston gave an update to the council at the regular Monday meeting on March 18. She went over past projects and said the organization has several projects in the hopper for this year. One of those might involve a partnership with the town and its open space fund. The council and Johnston then went into a closed-door executive discussion to discuss possible negotiations over a potential land purchase in the area.
Bus art Council representative to the Mountain Express bus system, Roland Mason, told the council an artist has been chosen to paint what is currently known as the white prison bus that circulates on the condo route. He said the board received 12 applications but they chose a design that depicted scenes of Crested Butte with fairy tale characters. “It’s really cool,” he promised. “And the artists should know that we are expecting three new white buses in the next two years, so there will be plenty of artistic opportunity here in the near future.”
April Fool’s art Speaking of art: The council members spent the April Fool’s Day meeting dressed in black, with the exception of Councilperson David Owen, who was a Technicolor marvel in lime-green shirt and crimson tie. The joke is that Owen has dressed in predominately black clothes for close to a decade, in a form of political protest. Owen looked splendid in 3-D Technicolor garb while the rest of the council looked like caricatures for various renditions of Johnny Cash’s life. Good exercise at the school: summer wildfire incidents possible; college kids’ incidents likely Chief marshal Tom Martin reported that the school training exercise held last month was a success. Several local safety agencies participated in the event that simulated an active shooter inside the Crested Butte Community School. “The amount of volunteers that came out was tremendous,” he said. “Compliments to those volunteers.” He also gave kudos to marshal Mike Reilly and his ability as an instructor. Martin also informed the council that local safety agencies are already meeting to discuss the potential summer wildfire situation. Last summer, a fire ban was implemented and, given precipitation numbers at the moment, a similar measure might be expected for the coming summer. Town planner John Hess said the Snotel sites are showing snowpack in the area at 50 percent to 60 percent of normal right now. And finally, Martin told the council that 500 to 600 college kids are expected to come to town and party for the last weekend of the ski season. “We will be staffed accordingly,” he promised.
Party at Big Mine! Parks and Recreation director Jake Jones said the town has already received three applications for using Big Mine Ice Arena this summer, events that would put more than 300 people in the facility. “Hopefully it will be easy for us all to move forward,” he said, “at least easier than it was to get to this point.” The town and fire district have agreed in concept to utilize a “fire-watch” provision that will allow the facility to exceed crowd numbers under current town code. Details are still being worked out, but look for more than a few parties in the ice rink this summer.
Hess officially retires Interim town manager Bob Gillie informed the council that town planner John Hess has officially submitted his letter of retirement. He will stay on staff through the end of May, with May 20 his last day in the office. Gillie said he is acting to get anything associated with the Planning Department that needs council approval on the upcoming agendas so Hess can be part of the discussion.
Farnell appointed to BOZAR Crockett Farnell was appointed to the Board of Zoning and Architectural Review. He completes the board as the seventh member. The BOZAR board hasn’t been full for about a year. “Do you have any extra thick skin lying around?” Farnell asked the council, acknowledging what he might be in store for.
Changes to ordinances A number of ordinances came before the council for public hearing at the April 1 meeting. Among the issues that were approved: changes to the real estate transfer tax ordinance; an ordinance addressing some “housekeeping” changes to the payment-in-lieu-of-parking rules; revamping of affordable housing fee calculations; and new floodplain management regulations to be updated to fit better with state and federal regulations.