Grand Lake may dump recycling in 2009 town budget | SkyHiNews.com

Grand Lake may dump recycling in 2009 town budget

Tonya Bina
tbina@grandcountynews.com
Grand County, Colorado

Grand Lake, Colorado’s, recycling program is in jeopardy in the town’s 2009 budget.

Without help from the county, Grand Lake Town Manager Shane Hale said it would be hard for the town to continue this service to residents.

The town announced its preliminary draft budget last Monday.

This year’s $30,000 price tag for recycling is one that town officials may choose to pass on next year.

“We could end recycling after this year,” Hale said.

On mandatory waste removal, however ” with a draft ordinance already in the town’s possession “residents could see that happen as early as next mid-summer.

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Depending on public input, the town’s plan is to contract with waste haulers to remove trash curbside, and all residential properties would be charged for trash service.

The town would establish a separate supplementary enterprise budget in 2009 for administering the program. Local waste providers have told the town they would make available bear-proof receptacles for residents, a component of the town’s mandatory trash service.

Water

The “big focus” reflected in the 2009 budget is “everything storm water,” Hale said.

As much as $265,000 is being carried over from last year to create a new storm water treatment facility that would hook up to the existing system, allowing for cleaner in-town watersheds. Another $25,000 is budgeted for improving drainage, such as a ditch system and similar infrastructure.

Town officials are hoping a Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant helps offset costs as it seeks a 65 percent to 75 percent matching funds grant.

Trees

The town’s large-scale tree-removal project that for three years commanded a large chunk of the budget, has culminated this year.

In 2008, the town spent more than $250,000 on removing 6,000 to 7,000 trees. The 2009 budget reflects much less, at $25,000 for “clean-ups, remaining trees and clumps missed,” Hale said.

“The board has recalibrated its focus toward water quality, the biggest issue facing the town right now,” he said.

Nonprofit donations

Grand Lake hasn’t cut back on donations from this year, but for those organizations that sought more funding over last year, “They won’t receive it,” Hale said.

For the most part, board members kept donations steady.

There are a couple exceptions, such as Grand Lake’s fireworks committee and the Mountain Family Center. Both increased, the latter by $1,000 due to the economic instability of the time and the likeliness families will be in need of extra help.

“The board felt our money can go a long way there,” Hale said.

Two multi-year sustaining grants are new to the budget. In 2008, the board approved a $50,000 sustaining grant with payments over 20 years for the Grand County Library District, and a $30,000 over 20-years grant for the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre.

For 2009, the town also has budgeted $10,000 for the Snow Shoot event, facing its third winter in Grand Lake. Over the last three years, the town has paid more than $60,000 toward the snowmobile manufacturer’s expo.

Improvements

The town has set aside “placeholder” funds for $30,000 to create another pedestrian connection to the town boat docks, but expects to pay less, Hale said.

Landscaping at the town entrance and visitor center should take place in 2009, with receipt of a Colorado Department of Transportation grant for $176,000. The town is spending $19,000 for a consultant to prepare the required CDOT project manual for the landscaping.

And a final significant 2009 budget item is a new $185,000 lease-purchase for a backhoe. The town has budgeted $40,000 in annual payments.

Revenue

Sales tax income is 5 percent down from what was budgeted last year, at $890,000, but use tax is up by 25 percent, at $125,000. “A lot of building permits retired this year,” Hale said.

All in all, income for the town is flat.

Although town finances remain steady, “it’s just the uncertainty of what ’09 will bring,” Hale said.

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