Fraser-Winter Park aim to formalize sharing agreements
Special to the Sky-Hi News
For many years Fraser and Winter Park, as well as other Grand County towns, have shared resources as circumstances dictate.
These “collaborations” function under the auspices of intergovernmental agreements, or “IGAs.” And they allow for significantly better utilization of resources, especially in today’s difficult economy.
“The Towns of Fraser and Winter Park have been practicing this for several years,” explained Fraser Town Manager, Jeffrey L. Durbin. “It allows us to provide the highest possible level of customer service in the most cost-effective way.”
Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson echoed Durbin.
Recently, both towns have been exploring ways to create a more formal agreement to share public works equipment and personnel.
According to the preliminary paperwork, “Fraser and Winter Park have staff and equipment unique to municipalities …” they could share in mutually beneficial ways.
Both town managers anticipate formally “inking” the agreement sometime in the next calendar year.
“Historically, one of our most successful intergovernmental collaborations was the establishment of the Fraser-Winter Park Police Department,” Durbin said.
Another notable project was the combined effort put in to developing the Fraser River Trail, a 5-mile, multi-use greenway connecting the towns.
The two municipalities worked hand-in-hand to not only protect and improve the fragile ecosystem of the Upper Fraser River, but also to build and maintain the trail. Collectively, under an early intergovernmental agreement, they garnered project funding in order to accomplish their mission.
As trail users hike, cycle and cross-country ski their way from Fraser to Winter Park and back, they can avail themselves of many amenities installed along the route, all funded through proceeds from the Colorado Lottery, Great Outdoors Colorado.
Nelson and Durbin have also worked together for years. Before Nelson was appointed to his current job, he worked for Durbin in the Fraser Planning Department.
“Here’s just another example of intergovernmental cooperation,” Nelson said. “When we hold our holiday get-togethers, personnel from other towns step up and help cover, just in case. For instance, officers from the Granby PD cover us and, in turn, when Granby does theirs’, we cover them.”
“When our Public Works Personnel hold their holiday get-together,” explained Durbin, “Winter Park’s staff stands-by, again, just in case.”
Durbin said Fraser has “unofficial” IGAs with several other entities, as well.
“We have one with the East Grand School District,” Durbin said. “When it snows, we’ll plow the parking lot at the Fraser Elementary. We’ve got our equipment out and working anyway, so it’s no big deal to clear their parking lot.
“In turn,” he added, “the school district folks will come-in and ‘certify’ our playground equipment. It’s easy, it works, and it works well.”
“We have another with the recreation district,” Durbin said. “They use one of our buildings and in return, they cut some of our grass.”
Durbin went on to explain other successful IGAs, working to maximize municipal dollars countywide.
Among them: combining the Fraser-Winter Park municipal Courts, as well as the Fraser, Granby and Winter Park Building Departments.
Regarding the most recent intergovernmental agreement, both Durbin and Nelson cited an example of sharing a specialized piece of equipment owned by the Town of Winter Park.
“Take the ‘bucket truck,’ for example,” Nelson said. “Winter Park has one and Fraser does not. Every once in a while, Fraser Public Works needs it to get up high and change out a street light bulb at the intersection by Safeway. We lend it to them; they use it and bring it back. It is as simple as that.”
“When times get tough,” Durbin concluded, “we all have to get more creative. “These intergovernmental agreements help everyone save resources while still maintaining the high standard of customer service we provide to taxpayers and guests alike.”
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Editor’s note: The following letter to the community was submitted to the Sky-Hi News by Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos.