Grand Lake Board of Trustees opt out of state paid leave plan, approve marijuana ballot question |

Grand Lake Board of Trustees opt out of state paid leave plan, approve marijuana ballot question

Sunlight highlights the sign at Grand Lake Town Hall in this 2020 file photo. The town's board of trustees meets every second and fourth Monday of the month.
Robert Mendoza/Sky-Hi News archive

The Grand Lake Board of Trustees opted out of Colorado’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance plan Monday, just as Granby did last month. The board also approved three ballot questions that could legalize marijuana sale in the town and implement a 15% tax on the product.

Trustees opted out of the state insurance plan for reasons similar to the ones Granby’s board cited last month. The program allows towns to opt in and pay half of the premium for their employees, who pay the other half. 

Opting out as a town, though, allows individual employees to opt in and pay the same amount in their premiums. Opting out meant the town could spend less money on the program but still allow town employees to participate.

“It’s a little crazy because by opting out, the employee can still opt in,” Treasurer Keike Wilson said. “They have to be responsible for their share of the premium unless the board decides that they want to kick it in. But if we don’t opt out, then each employee has to contribute and the board has to contribute for each employee.”

Wilson presented the resolution to the board and said the town notified employees of the plan to opt out July 27. She said the program has not yet been fully developed and if the board wants to opt in later, they can.

To weed or not to weed?

For several months, the board has discussed putting a question on November’s ballot to legalize the sale of marijuana in Grand Lake. After discussing specifics of the questions at the last meeting, town staff presented three questions to the trustees Monday. The questions would legalize marijuana dispensaries and create taxes on recreational and medical marijuana

At Monday’s meeting, trustees expressed concerns about the questions sounding like a tax increase and scaring off voters, taxing medical marijuana the same as recreational and limiting the location of dispensaries.

Town Manager John Crone said the town attorneys recommended not putting limitations to dispensary location in the ballot measure, but in the rules and regulations that the board will consider later. Crone said the attorneys also suggested using the ballot questions’ language regarding taxes and said medical and recreational marijuana can be taxed at the same rate.

The rules and regulations will contain other factors the board previously discussed, like limitations on the number of permits allowed in the town.

Other business:

  • In their workshops, the trustees received a summer day camp update from Elaine Menardi of Colorado AreoLab, discussed the town’s local employee residence program with Community Development Director Kim White and heard a Grand County Tourism Board update from its president Ron Ellis.
  • The board excused the absences of trustees Mike Arntson and Michael Sobon 
  • In his manager report, Crone talked about new sand on the beach, upcoming events including an Arts and Crafts Festival and Buffalo Days, the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre ending its summer season soon, the town’s auction of boats, the town’s hiring of an administrative assistant and permit technician, the thickness of pay-as-you-throw trash bags, public works’ effort to clear trees and increase visibility at the entry of the town, a potential replacement of the front entry marquee sign, an application for a Colorado Housing and Finance Authority loan, a large bear that has been seen around town, and the board’s retreat next week.
  • During public comments, Brook Mark of Grand Lake asked the board to consider making the town more cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly with bike paths and roundabouts. 
  • Kenda Fuller and David Wise asked if the board would consider creating more oversight for blasting, or using explosives to break up rocks, after a company set off explosives without giving the town proper notice near their home. Crone said the town and fire department have filed a complaint with the state about the blasting. Resident David Raffaelli suggested contacting the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety
  • The board approved the accounts payable for Aug. 8.
  • Corinne Lively gave an update on the Grand Lake Cemetery’s finances to the board.
  • Trustees approved a resolution updating the rules and regulations of the town cemetery, including a requirement for a specific type of burial container, a prohibition of burials during the winter between Oct. 15 and May 31, a prohibition of any lighting and new rules about plants allowed in the cemetery.
  • The board approved a resolution recognizing the rights of nature with a few adjustments recommended by Town Attorney Scotty Krob. Live Water Alliance first presented the resolution to the board at their June 28 meeting.
  • Trustees voted to amend the town code relating to non-conforming uses and structures to allow less expansion of such structures. 
  • Crone explained the town staff’s plan to vacate the right of way for all of the Heckendorf property except for a one-inch strip adjacent to another property, which would guarantee the Heckendorf family receive the right of way. The board will vote on the issue at a later meeting.
  • Trustees discussed the possibility of building a dog park in Grand Lake.
  • Mayor Steve Kudron spoke about the dwindling labor pool at the end of the summer season, the importance of affordable housing, next year’s budget, infrastructure needs and the illegal blasting in his update.

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