County adopts 2014 budget
After several months of review and consideration, Gunnison County has approved and adopted the 2014 budget. The budget includes total appropriations of more than $96 million and an overall increase of 31 percent from 2013, according to the county administration office. Much of the increase is related to the courthouse project, which is currently under way and will cost the county about $14.5 million. The majority of county funds are used for capital outlay expenses; these include expenditures for infrastructure, equipment, vehicles or machinery. To view the budget and a description of the budgetary process, visit http://www.gunnisoncounty.org.
Winter trailhead regulations to be enforced
Winter trailhead regulations are in effect, and Marlene Crosby, director of Gunnison County Public Works, wants people to know that overnight parking restrictions and posted regulations will be enforced—not only at the very popular Kebler Pass trailhead, but also at Slate River, Brush Creek and White Pine near the old Monarch Pass intersection.
County gives WSCU $20,000 for marketing efforts
The Gunnison County Board of Commissioners has gifted the Western State College University $20,000 of unallocated funds from the 2013 budget for use in promotion and marketing of the school. Brian Barker, marketing director for WSCU, approached the commissioners in early December with a proposal requesting funding to update the school’s website and advertising materials. Commissioner Phil Chamberland said he was willing to give the money because of the role WSCU plays in the community. “Western is a huge economic boon to the community,” he said. “We need to get enrollment numbers up to 2,400 to 2,500 students.” Barker told the commissioners the money would be put to good use and “will get our name in front of the very people we’re trying to bring to the university.”
Economics Indicator Report in development
The Gunnison County Community Development Office is developing an Economics Indicator Report to help improve local understanding of how the community is doing financially. Russ Forest, director of the office, said the report will rely on existing data and should not require additional new money or information. “It has been our assumption that we would use existing information that is readily available.”
Trampe concerned over
Local rancher and long-time water authority Bill Trampe is raising concerns about the Water Conservation Efficiency Bill that is headed for the capitol this year. Trampe said the bill has the potential to take agriculture water rights “off the land and put them in the river.” He fears this movement could pose a threat to the long-term sustainability of agriculture on the Western Slope. “This is a big issue that I see that hasn’t really festered its way to the top yet,” Trampe said.