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Heart of the Mountains Hospice suspends services

Heart of the Mountains Hospice suspended all Grand County services effective today, Monday, Jan. 4.

“It is with great disappointment and sadness that Heart of the Mountains Hospice suspended services to Grand County residents,” wrote Joy Blum, a board member of Heart of the Mountains Hospice in a press release.

The hospice has provided services to the county since 2001. Due to economic factors, the hospice has depleted all funds available to provide services, she wrote.

“The cost of providing hospice services has continued to escalate over the years while funding from grants and Medicare reimbursements have declined. During the past 18 months, grant funding to the hospice decreased $80,000 which resulted in an economic hit too large to overcome.

The residents and business community of Grand County have been very supportive and giving over the past 15 years and the hospice is forever grateful. However, due to patient levels, escalating costs and decline in grant receipts, all services have been suspended until further notice.”

“Thank you Grand County for the 15 years we were able to serve,” wrote Blum.

Call the hospice office with questions 970-725-3378.

Grand Lake approves 2016 budget

With 2015 drawing to a close municipalities throughout the state spent the month of December performing a number of perfunctory actions from passing resolutions levying property taxes to ordinances setting fee schedules. The Grand Lake Board of Trustees had their own year-end house cleaning session during their last official meeting of the year. During that meeting the Board approved the town’s 2016 budget.

Board members and town officials have been developing the budget for some time now and have been conducting budget work sessions for several months. For 2016 Grand Lake’s General Fund will begin the year with a leftover fund balance of $1,201,623. The leftover fund balance represents the amount of money remaining in the Town’s General Fund at the end of 2015.

Grand Lake Town Treasurer Erin Ackerman has budgeted $2,641,747 in revenues for 2016 with the town expected to take in approximately $1,702,900 in General revenue and $938,847 in Capital revenue, or revenue that can be attributed to specific capital expenses.

For 2016 Grand Lake is projecting General Fund expenditures totaling $2,873,125. After taking in account both the projected revenues for 2016 and the 2015 General Fund ending fund balance Grand Lake expects to end 2016 with a General Fund balance of $970,244.

Budgets for municipalities are developed a year in advance and many of the specific figures within the budget are projections or estimates that can and do change over the course of the year. The projections are based on a number of factors including the future economic outlook and ending tallies from previous years.

Grand Lake collects taxes and has expenditures through the end of December every year. Similarly the town has a two-month time frame between the end of any given month and when official figures on revenues and expenditures for that month become available. The budget presented to the Board during the December Trustees’ meeting includes projections for 2016 and 2015 year-end totals. The 2015 year-end totals use estimates on expenditures and revenues for November and December.

Grand Lake further breaks down their General Fund expenditures by the various departments within town government. The department with the single largest budget is the Grand Lake Public Works Dept. with a total 2016 budget of $577,321. Of the total for the dept. $342,271 is applied to personnel costs while $235,050 is designated for operations.

The town’s Administrative department has the second highest departmental budget with a total of $553,818, of which $294,709 is for personnel costs while $259,109 is for operational costs. The Public Safety department. had the next highest budget for 2016, though the totals for that department, $193,840, are significantly lower than the totals for both Administration and Public Works. The Parks department. has a 2016 budget total of $119,102 broken down between $48,402 for personnel and $70,700 for operations.

The Town has projected a total cost of $90,787 for the Board of Trustees with the entirety of that budget designated as operational costs. The Greenway Committee has a total projected budget of $41,197.

The Town’s remaining departments; Cemetery Committee, Post Committee and the Planning Commission/BOA, each had projected budgets less than $10,000 with the Post Committee having a projected budget of zero.

Grand Lake has projected $130,007 in debt service payments in 2016. The town is projecting $113,961 in debt service payments on Administrative work and $16,046 in debt service for public works projects. The town also sets aside a Tabor Reserve Fund which is set at three percent of the overall General Fund, or $57,566.

Grand Lake’s 2016 budget is a part of the public record.

Grand Lake preps for spring elections

A new year is right around the corner and 2016 means election season.

While many in the nation are already transfixed by the Presidential election, which began taking shape nearly a year ago with announcements from Republicans in the spring of 2015; 2016 will also see a multitude of state, county and local municipal elections.

Among the many local elections scheduled for the coming year the town of Grand Lake will hold elections for Grand Lake Town Mayor and four Trustee seats. Of the Trustee seats that will be up for election in 2016 three of the seats are for four-year terms while one of the seats is for a two-year term. The lowest vote tallied winning Trustee in the 2016 election will fill the two-year term. The Mayor of Grand Lake serves a four-year term.

The Grand Lake Town Trustees whose terms end next year include Trustee Kathy Lewis, Trustee Jim Gasner, Trustee Elmer Lanzi and Trustee Jeanie Baird; likewise the term for Grand Lake’s current Mayor, Judy Burke, ends as well.

Trustee Elmer Lanzi and Trustee Jeanie Baird will not be seeking reelection. Baird resigned her position on the Board of Trustees during the Dec. Board meeting. Her resignation was prompted after Baird and her family moved outside the boundaries of Grand Lake proper, which requires Trustees be Grand Lake residents. Trustee Lanzi confirmed his decision not to seek reelection Monday Dec. 28.

“I will not be running again,” Lanzi said. “I have served eight years. I loved it, I still love it but I think it is time for younger people who have a future in our community to step up.”

Grand Lake Mayor Judy Burke was undecided as to whether or not she would seek reelection.

“I need to make a decision somewhere around the fifth,” Burke said. “But I have not made it yet.”

Similarly both Trustee Lewis and Trustee Gasner were undecided regarding their possible election campaigns.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” said Trustee Lewis.

Trustee Gasner was also undecided as to whether or not he would campaign for a seat in municipal government this spring. He decided not to seek another term as a Trustee but may consider running for Mayor.

Election day for Grand Lake municipal elections is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Grand Lake’s only election polling station will be located within the Board Room at Grand Lake Town Hall, 1026 Park Ave.

Anyone interested in running for office in Grand Lake must meet the following qualifications: a registered elector of the town of Grand Lake, at least 18 years of age on April 5, 2016, must have resided in Grand Lake for 12 consecutive months as of Monday, April 4, 2016, and may not run or hold two offices simultaneously.

To officially appear on the ballot a potential candidate must pick up a nominating petition from the Grand Lake Town Clerk. Nominating petitions can be circulated within the community from Jan. 5 to Jan. 25. The signed petitions must be returned to the Grand Lake Town Clerk by 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 25. To qualify the petitions must be signed by at least 10 registered electors of the Town of Grand Lake. Registered electors who sign petitions may sign only one petition for each separate office.

Write-in candidates must file an Affidavit of Intent with the Town Clerk before March 15, 2016. Anyone interested in voting in the Grand Lake elections March 14, 2016 is the last day to establish residency in the State of Colorado to be qualified to vote. Absentee ballots and new voter registration forms are available at the Grand Lake Town Hall.