Where the money goes: Over $1.3 million awarded in grants from sales tax increase fund | SkyHiNews.com

Where the money goes: Over $1.3 million awarded in grants from sales tax increase fund

Voters of Grand County approved a sales tax increase a year-and-a-half ago to provide additional revenue for work on local lands, trails and rivers, and on Tuesday, Grand County commissioners approved the first round of projects that will be funded using those additional tax dollars.

In November 2016, voters in Grand County approved Ballot Measure 1A imposing an additional .3 percent sales tax throughout Middle Park for the next 10 years. The tax went into effect Jan. 1, 2017 and, over the course of the ensuing 13 months, raised an additional $1,383,912 in revenue.

Those revenues are specifically earmarked to fund projects related to open lands, rivers and trails.

Last year, per the ballot measure, the county board established an open lands advisory committee, which includes nine individuals from across the county.

The advisory committee receives funding requests from local entities seeking tax dollars from the 1A fund then presents recommendations to the county board as to which projects should be funded and to what extent.

In total, the committee recommended, and the county approved, releasing $1,262,614 in funds out of an existing fund balance of $1,383,912, approving $57,200 for open lands projects, $199,164 in trail maintenance projects and $1,006,250 in river projects.

A total of 10 projects received funding out of the 11 applications received, with one application rejected entirely.

Who gets what

The single largest recipient of funds was the county, which was awarded $1 million for the Windy Gap Reservoir Modification and Connectivity Channel Project. The county initially requested $3 million. In its recommendation to the county board, the advisory committee explained that the project includes a perpetual agreement on an easement for public fishing access on a one-mile segment of the river and future connectivity channel.

A conservation easement project, called Roy N. Enter, being spearheaded by the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust received the second largest amount of funding at $57,200. The funds will go towards legal fees, appraisal fees, surveying costs and other ancillary fees related to the establishment of a conservation easement. The easement is set to encompass 82.28 acres located east of the Gore Range off County Road 14M, roughly seven miles west of Kremmling. The easement includes a five-acre building envelope reserved on the western edge of the parcel.

The county board also approved funding for a series of four trail projects for Headwaters Trails Alliance.

The group’s East Shore Trail project received $51,300 for maintenance and improvements on a two-mile section of the East Shore Trail to accommodate bicycle use and other existing trail uses.

The Trail Smart Sizing project from the Headwaters Trails Alliance was awarded $43,400 for its first phase, which includes development and improvement of historic trails as well as 18 miles of new trail construction, trail reroutes, maintenance and restoration work and bridge work.

The Wolford Area Trail Maintenance program for the Headwaters Trails Alliance will receive $21,950 that will go towards reroutes, rock armoring, improved drainages, deadfall and hazardous tree removal among other work. The group’s Winter Trail Grooming project also was awarded $16,400 to assist with maintaining 30 miles of existing winter, non-motorized multi-use trails including the Fraser River Trail, Fraser to Granby Trail, and other trails in the Fraser Experimental Forest.

The town of Fraser was awarded $43,500 for maintenance work on the Fraser River Trail, and Grand Lake Trailgrooming Inc. is set to receive $10,000 to apply towards equipment repair for trail maintenance. The Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District will receive $12,614 to be allocated towards maintenance and vegetation work on trails within the district. The town of Granby was awarded $6,250 to apply towards water diversion upgrade projects on the Fraser River near Kaibab Park.

The only project listed by the committee that did not receive funding was an application from Headwaters Trails Alliance that requested $75,000 to be applied towards general operating expenses.

The committee explained that it felt general operating support is not allowed per the resolution and Open Lands Rivers & Trails Bylaws. The committee further stated that it supports funding administrative costs tied to specific hiking and biking trail maintenance projects.

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