Eagle County is strong, officials say
“With each year, the state of the county gets stronger,” Gallagher told an overflowing crowd in the commission chambers at the county building in Eagle. “We continue to build a strong financial reserve sufficient to weather a storm. We also continue to fund capital improvements.”
The State of the County address aims to make citizens and employers aware of what is happening in county government over the past year.
“During the past years, the county has experienced tremendous growth,” Gallagher said. “One of our chief responsibilities is that we prepare for growth.”
In an effort to tackle growth issues, county planners are updating the county master plan, which is a set of laws and guidelines that regulates development, Gallagher said.
“A lot of work was done last year to update the plan and we look forward to its completion this year,” he said.
Governmental highlights in 2003 included:
– The county’s acquisition of the Golden Eagle senior apartments in Eagle. In March, Eagle County bought the Golden Eagle Apartments complex, where 36 seniors are paying more affordable rents.
– The completion of dozens of affordable homes at the Miller Ranch complex project in Edwards. Forty families have so far moved into homes there.
– The opening of the Miller Ranch Road Bridge, part of a $6-million transportation improvement plan to ease traffic in Edwards.
– The completion, at Berry Creek – adjacent to Miller Ranch – of soccer fields and continuing construction there of a pond similar to Avon’s Nottingham Lake.
– The new FlyVail summer project, which was successful last summer and will be expanded this year.
– ECO Transit buses recorded the highest satisfaction ratings from passengers.
“And 2004 looks brighter with the completion of the Avon to Dowd bike path trail,” Gallagher said.
When Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Stone addressed the residents, he said he was concerned with how the county is planning for future use of its natural resources.
“We need to decide now with how we will use the air and water supplies,” Stone said. “I’m glad to see a lot of people moving to the county bringing new ideas.”
In his speech, Commissioner Arn Menconi expressed appreciation for Eagle County’s employees.
“I want to thank county employees for helping me understand my job with your experience and professionalism,” Menconi said.
Other county achievements last year included five departments in the county that received awards from the National Association of Counties for various projects. Among the departments recognized were the county’s engineers for work on Miller Ranch Road and Animal Control for managing a “no kill” shelter. :
“This team would be useless without these employees,” Gallagher said.
The Eagle County Room was full for the event. Applause, laughs and tears accompanied the distribution of the county service awards and a five-minute long video looking back on 2003 accomplishments and happenings in the county.