Help a park, take home a tree and other council business

Mt. Crested Butte asked for more fireworks funding
Earn a tree this summer
The Crested Butte Town Council supports the idea of Parks and Recreation director Bob Piccaro to have residents earn a tree in honor of Arbor Day this year. In the past, the town has given away aspen trees to residents on a first-come, first serve basis. But recent belt-tightening by town departments due to budget constraints have slashed the tree budget to about $2,000.



“This year I want it to be something along the lines of a ‘Help a Town Park, Get a Tree’ program,” said Piccaro of his idea, which he said came to him at two in the morning a few weeks ago. “This year it will be the west side of Rainbow Park and if people come by and help plant trees, they can take a tree home. They won’t have to be there all day but I think they need to show up for more than 15 minutes.”
During the regular Town Council meeting June 2, Picarro said he was disappointed last year when some of the trees for the program were stolen, and he didn’t feel some residents that came to get a free tree appreciated the program. “I like this idea of giving something back to the town and the town gives something back to the residents,” he said. “It helps the town, the people, and it tightens the budget.”
“I think the idea is terrific,” said councilmember Skip Berkshire. “It’s a good positive proposal.”
No date has yet been set for the Earn a Tree day.

Town seeking Parks and Rec director
Six people have applied for the Parks and Recreation director job so far for the town of Crested Butte. Three of the applicants are local residents. After two years in the position, current Parks and Rec director Bob Piccaro is leaving to return to the Crested Butte Community School. Applications for the job will be accepted until June 16; then a thorough interview and selection process will begin.

Crested Butte checking on its affordable housing units

The town will conduct an affordable housing compliance survey this summer. The staff will check all the deed-restricted units in Crested Butte to make sure they are in proper compliance. Crested Butte building and zoning director Bob Gillie said the survey is usually done every few years to make sure deed-restricted housing units aren’t being misused either on purpose or through misunderstandings.

Bear-proof trashcans ordinance will get an update
Crested Butte is updating its ordinance dealing with bear-proof trashcans. The town will allow “wildlife-resistant refuse containers” to be placed outside after 6 p.m. the day before trash collection day. The change to the ordinance will be considered by the Crested Butte Town Council in about a month.
In Mt. Crested Butte, during a regular town council meeting on June 3, town manger Joe Fitzpatrick said the town was beginning to step up its enforcement of their wildlife ordinance, which is quite similar to Crested Butte’s.  “As of last trash day we found three pages of non-compliant situations,” he said.  “We were doing a lot better last year than we are this year.   We are going to start writing tickets… we’re through messing around.” 

April sales tax down from 2007
April sales tax is down about 7 percent from last year, but Crested Butte finance director Lois Rozman explained that a few significant businesses are late in filing the tax, so April is more likely to show about a 3.5 percent decrease. That is in line with the rest of 2008 so far. “Despite the article in the paper last week, three-and-a-half percent isn’t dire, is it?” asked mayor Alan Bernholtz.
“We’re on a downward trend, and that isn’t good,” explained Rozman. “It’s going the wrong way and when one of the biggest months, in this case March, is down 10 percent in sales tax revenue, that is big.” The council will begin budget work sessions in July.

International fireworks shortage increasing the price of July 4

An international shortage of fireworks has left local officials scrambling to find extra money to buy enough fireworks for the upcoming Fourth of July Celebration. 
Due to the short supply, caused by a massive fireworks factory explosion in China back in February, fireworks have become quite expensive.
During a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 3 Mt. Crested Butte manager Joe Fitzpatrick told the town council that the Crested Butte/ Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce was asking the town for $2,500 in additional funds to buy enough fireworks for an adequate spectacle.
Mayor William Buck said, “It’s a little frustrating to get this at the 11th hour.” Councilmember Andrew Gitin said when fire chief Ric Ems looked to buy the fireworks for this year’s display he was informed of the shortage and the price jump.  
Buck said the event was a great benefit for the entire community, but the town of Mt. Crested Butte was at a loss because much more of the focus was in Crested Butte.  Buck said he would like to see the entire fireworks display improved over previous years.  But before agreeing to increase Mt. Crested Butte’s financial share, Buck said he would like to see local businesses and the town of Crested Butte increase their contributions as well. “This show needs to step up.  I’d like to throw more money at it in a three way partnership,” Buck said. 
The council then unanimously agreed to increase Mt. Crested Butte’s funding contribution by $2,500, providing that the town of Crested Butte makes a similar match.  The council is also asking the Chamber to organize a better partnership between local businesses and the two towns for next year’s celebration. 



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