Less fun, more function in Eagle budget | VailDaily.com

Less fun, more function in Eagle budget

Pam Boyd
Eagle Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE ” The past decade of accelerated growth has enabled Eagle to develop some pretty cool projects ” such as the pool and ice rink and the Broadway streetscape.

As the town looks toward its 2008 budget, growth is still steering the ship. But the projects are decidedly less glamorous.

“This year’s budget is all about capital expansion,” said Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell. He said dramatic growth in town is creating a need to increase expand the capacity of the town’s roads and its water and wastewater systems.

For folks who are caught in commuting gridlock at the Eby Creek roundabout, the town is launching a $2 million traffic study of Eby Creek Road in 2008 and making some minor street improvements.

Next year’s Eby Creek construction plan involves building a second traffic lane from the Eby Creek roundabout north to Chambers Avenue. Because there is already a second traffic lane from Chambers north to the Interstate 70 eastbound exit, Powell said the lane extension should help morning commuters.

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The town anticipates the project will cost between $1 million and $1.2 million.

In looking at its long-term traffic needs, Eagle has forged a partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation and Eagle County to help fund its comprehensive traffic study. The study will look at various traffic improvements , cost, and effectiveness in alleviating congestion.

Powell said projects such as roundabout construction at Chambers Avenue and at the interstate exit ramps will be included in the study.

“Next year we will be fully into the planning process, deciding design alternatives and developing plans for construction,” said Powell.

All this work takes time, he added, because Eagle isn’t solely in control of Eby Creek Road. The road is a Colorado Department of Transportation right of way which means the state has to sign off on any construction projects.

The biggest capital improvement project ever undertaken by the town is currently under construction. But if everything goes according to plan, residents will never notice a change.

The wastewater treatment plant expansion is expected to cost in excess of $13 million with the 18-month construction schedule slated for competition in February, 2009.

The current plant is fast reaching its capacity. Expanding the facility at the confluence of Brush Creek and the Eagle River is supposed to meet the residential and commercial needs of the town for the next 20 years.

Planning and engineering will begin for a secondary water treatment plant adjacent to the sewer plant. The 2008 budget earmarks $1.4 million for the planning and permitting of the new water treatment facility.

While large infrastructure expansion projects dominate Eagle’s 2008 spending plan, the budget also includes:

– Revenue growth projections of 5 percent. Last year the town forecast 7 percent growth. Actual revenues to date have grown 8 percent.

– Completion of a wastewater rate study which will determine new monthly charges and a tap fees.

– Study of a curbside recycling program.

– Addition of one police officer.

– More money for landscaping, reflecting the new planters along Broadway and additional work at the roundabouts.

– Completion of the Eagle Area Community Plan update. The town decided to terminate the contract with the planning firm initially selected for the update and has been interviewing other firms to complete the work.

– Expanded efforts to inventory and protect the town’s urban forest including research to quality Eagle as a “Tree City USA” as determined by the Arbor Day Foundation.

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