Public meetings on sales tax bond
The Town of Grand Lake held two open-house meetings to discuss a potential sales tax bond issue for the November ballot that would help pay for the implementation of the Grand Avenue streetscape master plan, which would involve and incorporate signage and landscaping improvements.
The meetings were held on July 7 and 19 and were attended by 15 and 20 people, respectively. Grand Lake Town Manager Jim White presented the plan, along with Mayor Jim Peterson and a representative from the design committee. White said attendees were interested in the scope of the work being proposed and were generally supportive of the improvements discussed, but that they won’t really know how much support there is for the project until election day.
The Town has until Sept. 9 to submit a ballot measure to the county for the 2016 election. “We’re optimistic that we can make the deadline,” White said.
The effort for the ballot measure came in response to extensive efforts by the citizens of Grand Lake to initiate improvements in town. At the meeting, Peterson brought up the number of committee meetings that have been held to address improvements to Grand Ave.
Peterson also pointed to the fact that the historically low interest rates currently in place make it a good time to borrow the money for a project of this scale. While exact numbers have not been set, White gave an approximate total between $2.2 million and $3.6 million for the entire master plan implementation.
This week White also formally selected a firm to conduct the survey and design work for the project after receiving a directive to select from three competing bids at the Town Board of Trustees meeting July 11. White chose the proposal from Diamondback Engineering and Surveying out of Lakewood, a firm that has been involved in multiple large projects in Grand County.
White said the design and survey work would give the town a more accurate sense of the total cost of the project.
The exact increase in sales tax that would be proposed in the ballot measure has not been set yet. White said the town will work with professionals to get the ballot question set. There will be several more public forums between now and September to continue to gather public input on the project and how to pay for it.
White pointed out that while there have been a mix of residents and non-residents involved in discussions about the ballot measure, ultimately it will be the people who live in town that will have the final vote.
Dates for future public forums on the issue are set to be decided at the Town Board meeting on July 25.
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The Grand Lake Fire Protection District has abandoned a voter-approved effort to run its own EMS transports as the department and county officials re-evaluate how that service might be provided.