Should Gypsum, Eagle work on traffic? |

Should Gypsum, Eagle work on traffic?

GYPSUM ” Eagle and Gypsum both face burgeoning traffic problems; but the two communities don’t necessarily share a common approach to their issues.

And judging by a recent exchange during a Gypsum Town Council meeting, forging a traffic-solving alliance between the two communities may be a dicey proposition.

During its Jan. 8 session, the Gypsum Town Council discussed a request from Eagle Town Board member Scot Hunn to schedule a joint meeting. The purpose of the session would be to discuss a recently completed study regarding traffic improvements on U.S. Highway 6.

The study, completed by THK consulting firm, was jointly funded by Gypsum, Eagle and Eagle County. Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll told council he was disappointed with the study’s findings. The study showed substantial tax increases across the board would be required to fund the desired traffic improvements. Shroll said large tax increase would be politically impossible.

However, he also told council that Eagle representatives had contacted him to discuss the study in detail. They pointed to the possibility of taking information gleaned from the study to identify one or two top priorities for each town. The general idea is for the three government entities to band together and increase their bonding capabilities.

Even this proposal has its drawbacks, said Shroll. Because Highway 6 improvements are so expensive, the towns might have to take turns spending money. But who would get first priority and who would have to wait a few years?

“Neither town is going to go with that,” Shroll said.

When he asked members about scheduling the joint meeting, Shroll received a lukewarm response from some members and a flat refusal to participate from others.

“This council, with the development coming on, we have been very adamant about developers paying their own way on Highway 6. You don’t see that same effort going on in Eagle,” said councilman Tim McMichael.

“It’s going to be the same thing as other stuff we’ve done with Eagle. Gypsum is going to foot the bill,” McMichael added.

However, councilman Tom Edwards said a joint meeting might be a good idea because Eagle and Gypsum do share Highway 6 traffic issues.

Councilman Dick Mayne said Gypsum has already stepped up to help with Eagle’s traffic issues. The communities entered into a cost-share agreement when the Costco project was first proposed. The agreement states the communities will share unencumbered sales tax receipts. Gypsum gets 60 percent while Eagle gets 40 percent under the deal.

But currently there are several specific allocations for sales tax revenues in Gypsum. After these items are allocated, Eagle sees $6.80 of every $100 in sales tax revenue generated at Costco.

Mayne said the cost share was proposed so Eagle could address its road issues related to the additional traffic from Costco. He asked if Eagle was actually spending the money for that purpose.

“I don’t think anybody ” I don’t even think the town of Eagle ” is expecting or planning on the Town of Gypsum sales tax revenues paying for road improvements in the town of Eagle,” Shroll said.

The purpose of a joint meeting is simply to discuss long-term needs and possible financing, he said.

Council members agreed to the session but no meeting date was determined.

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