Briefs: Gypsum to spend $9M in ’07 |

Briefs: Gypsum to spend $9M in ’07

Daily Staff ReportVail, CO Colorado

GYSPUM – It’s not a misprint – the town of Gypsum plans to spend $9 million in 2007.”When I started with the town in 1994, our budget was about $100,000,” said Town Manager Jeff Shroll, shaking his head. The addition of Costco and growing revenue at the Eagle County Regional Airport contributed heavily to the town’s coffers. For 2007, the town estimates it will collect $3.25 million in sales tax, $1 million in real-estate-transfer taxes – a tax Gypsum collects when certain properties are sold – and $869,000 in other taxes. Additionally, Gypsum plans to withdraw $1.1 million from its reserve fund, which essentially is the town’s savings account. That will leave a $1.7 million balance in the reserve fund.Employee salary and benefits take up the biggest chunk of the spending budget at $1.7 million. The town employees 30 workers in addition to special contracts for legal, law enforcement and special events. Gypsum also will subsidize the Gypsum Recreation Center for a full year of operation at $214,250. The subsidy was figured into the plans for the new facility, which also is supported by money from the Western Eagle County Metro Recreation District, and by memberships and day-use fees.The 2007 budget is the largest in the town’s history. Shroll noted that compared to 2006 – which saw construction of the new rec center and a large-scale widening project on Cooley Mesa Road – Gypsum isn’t planning as many big-dollar projects in 2007. Big ticket items include: • $450,000 for re-paving Second Street.• $237,000 for Bridwell Avenue.• $160,403 for the final payment on the Gypsum Town Hall.• $1 million for undefined “land acquisitions.”• $257,000 for the law enforcement contract with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.• $45,000 for improvements at the Town Hall Park including installation of tot lot equipment.• $190,000 for the annual Gypsum Daze celebration. Additionally, the town has an “economic development” section in its budget which calls out a $65,000 sales-tax rebate to Columbine Market and a $1.3-million rebate to Costco. As part of an incentive package that lured the big-box retailer to town, Gypsum agreed to rebate 38 percent of sales tax revenues, not to exceed $4 million, for three years. Additionally, the town agreed to a sales tax revenue sharing plan with the Town of Eagle. Gypsum anticipates transferring $231,000 to its neighboring community in 2007.

The town of Gypsum is the new owner for a 3-plus acre property located in the heart of the community. Last week the town council approved the $850,000 purchase of the Tom and Joan Harned property, located at 238 Eagle Street. The deal had been developing over the last couple of months.The town doesn’t have any definite plans for the property. But water rights associated with the land made the purchase particularly attractive to Gypsum, especially if the town wants to bring a non-potable water system to the nearby town park. said Town Manager Jeff Shroll. In all likelihood, the town will retain the land (which extends down to the railroad tracks) but sell off the house and associated buildings, Shroll said.”There’s been all kinds of discussion about what to do with the property,” Shroll said. He said an expansion of the Cedar Hill Cemetery is one proposal that’s been floated. “We will engage the community in a dialogue about the land,” Shroll said. “We will figure out some good, public use for it.”

Sewer problems continue to brew in Gypsum and town officials hope to fix them with new equipment and a little help from business owners.The problem first percolated in late December when malfunctioning equipment caused wastewater to back up into basements in the Eagle River Estates neighborhood. When town crews set out to solve the problem, they found large chunks of grease, asphalt and even pieces of lumber in the sewer pipes. After clearing out the debris, town officials assumed it had addressed the issue; but problems continued to surface. “We are not sure why, all of the sudden, all this trash is compounded,” said Town Manager Jeff Shroll. The town has purchased a $50,000 grinder that will be installed at the wastewater treatment plant to reduce the amount of debris.Gypsum is also appealing to business owners to help remedy the situation. In a Feb. 12 letter sent to business owners, town officials say there has been a large amount of disposable towels and cleaning wipes entering the wastewater plant, and that has been disrupting the plant’s process. Disposable towels and cleaning wipes do not break down in the wastewater plant and need to be thrown away in the trash, instead of flushed down the toilet, according to town officials. The same goes for disposable diapers, mop heads and cooking grease. The letter urged business owners to inform their staff of the problem.- Pam BoydThis article first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

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