Neighborhood runs out of plow money
SUMMIT COUNTY – Big powder days are normally celebrated in mountain towns, but residents of the sleepy Bill’s Ranch community near Frisco may not be so enthusiastic about the next big dump. It might mean they can’t make it home without hitching up a team of sled dogs.The prospect of having the entire neighborhood go unplowed due to a lack of funds collected from area residents is a real possibility, said Charlotte Clarke, past president of the Bill’s Ranch Neighborhood Association.”Until we get our January bill from the plower, which is due any day, then we’ll know what’s going to happen,” Clarke said Tuesday. “We are probably going to have to quit plowing.”
The problem is lack of funds to get the plowing done. Clarke arranges the snowplow contract for the neighborhood with local snow remover Jere Lord’s Snow Farmer operation, which charges around $600 per trip into Bill’s Ranch to clear the streets.In December – one of the snowiest months on record – the bill for plowing Bill’s Ranch was equal to the association’s total bill from last year. That left the association’s coffers nearly empty.Both Lord and Clarke called the amount being charged for snowplow service “fair,” even after Lord boosted the cost of service this year over last, mostly due to a jump in diesel fuel costs.”I don’t think there’s too many contractors that would want to do the job for less,” Lord said.
Clarke and the rest of the association board moved into crisis mode, sending emergency assessment letters to residents asking for a voluntary $100 to keep plow services for the area. The board also posted a sign in the neighborhood – literally asking for “HELP” from local residents.Early returns aren’t terribly promising, Clarke said.One option is for the main street into Bill’s Ranch, Stellar Jay Road., to be the only road that gets plowed. Residents would have to fend for themselves beyond the main drag. Another option is having just one half of Bill’s Ranch plowed the next time the flakes really fly. Clarke said homeowners in the eastern half of Bill’s Ranch are the majority funders of the association; residents on the western side of the neighborhood in the Temple Trail area mostly don’t chip in for services.
“We’ve got a lot of people up there who haven’t paid, and there’s a lot of houses,” Clarke said. “It may be that when they try to get home next time, they just might get stuck, because it’s not going to get plowed.”Vail, Colorado