County, Gypsum officials wrestle with grant possibilities |

County, Gypsum officials wrestle with grant possibilities

Eagle County Commissioners, June 21 work session.

Present: Sara Fisher, Peter Runyon.

Who they talked to: County staff, as well as Gypsum Town Council member Tom Edwards, Town Manager Jeff Shroll and Town Engineer Jerry Law.

What they talked about: The prospects of finding local matching funds for a grant application. The federal government has reserved money for rural projects in its latest round of transportation improvement grants under the “TIGER” program. The county failed in its request for money for the Eagle County Airport Interchange project last year, and officials are trying again.

County and town officials talked about the possibility of finding local matching funds for the $65 million project. Gypsum officials said they could re-direct some existing sales tax money into bonds, but county officials said they’d probably need a new stream of taxpayer money for the project.

Is that going to happen? Don’t bet on it. Taxpayers would have to approve, of course, and time’s running short to get any proposal on the November ballot. Even if the ballot issue was worded in a way that a new tax would be levied only if the grant came through, there’s no guarantee voters are in a particularly generous mood this year, even toward a sales tax increase of .06 percent.

“I think we need to take this year and let the voters get it all out,” Shroll said.

What’s next? It’s hard to tell. County and town officials continue to watch the various federal grant programs rolling out.

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