Gypsum Town Council eyes prep costs of three roundabouts in 2018 budget
GYPSUM — When figuring out household expenses, sometimes the focus is on spending and sometimes it is on planning and saving.
The same holds true for municipal budgets. For the town of Gypsum in 2018, saving and design is the focus.
What’s the town saving up for? Three roundabouts — and they won’t be cheap.
According to Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll, the town plans to build roundabouts at Cooley Mesa Road and Valley Road, Valley Road and U.S. Highway 6 and Schoolside and Highway 6.
“It’s in the 2018 budget to do all the design,” Shroll said. He noted the Cooley Mesa roundabout is the top priority of the three. Depending on how long it takes to engineer the project, construction could begin late next year.
“We think that is the most critical roundabout because that intersection doesn’t have a traffic light at it,” Shroll said.
He noted the town has actually been putting money aside for the roundabout project for a few years.
The 2017 budget included $182,000 for roundabout design and next year’s spending plan calls for a $740,000 expenditure for the Cooley Mesa roundabout project.
Shroll added that the town will also be looking at the Eagle Valley High School entrance intersection, but will delay action at the site until the EVHS renovation is completed.
“We don’t want that planning to get too far ahead of us,” Shroll said, noting that when the EVHS project is completed, parking and student drop off will be split between the current lot and an expanded lot located on the south side of the school.
Until the town sees traffic patterns that develop as a result of the school changes, Gypsum officials don’t want to sink lots of money into improvements at the intersection.
Gypsum is in a position to consider major construction projects such as roundabouts because its 2017 revenues have been strong. While sales tax figures are showing a modest 3 to 4 percent growth, the town’s 1 percent real estate transfer tax is on track to bring in $1 million this year.
“There is just a lot of real estate moving at this end of the valley,” Shroll said. “The real estate transfer revenues are at pre-recession levels.”
The town is projecting revenues to top $8 million by the end of 2017 and is planning an $8.9 million budget for next year. The additional money will be pulled from the town’s reserves, which will still stand at 16 percent net year.
Big Ticket items
In addition to the roundabout planning and construction, here are some of the big ticket items for the 2018 Gypsum budget:
• $1.5 million to build a hydro power plant at the town’s raw water line up Gypsum Creek Road. Power generated from the plant will be used to offset electricity used at town facilities.
• $870,000 for a new wastewater lift station to improve flow handling near the plant location at Eagle River Estates.
• $400,000 for two new snowplows so the town can keep up with the additional demand resulting from taking over maintenance of U.S. Highway 6 between Eagle and Gypsum.
• $900,000 for the continued law enforcement contract with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. The contract calls for the assignment of an additional officer to Gypsum.
• $123,500 for additional trails work in the Gypsum area.
• $65,000 for visual improvements at the Highway 6 railroad bridge.