by Alissa Johnson
Summer sales tax revenue flat to last year
Town manager Joe Fitzpatrick reported that sales tax collection for June, July, August and September was just about equal to last year. “That is fantastic,” he told the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council, “because last year was a huge, record-setting year and that’s without the USA Pro-cycling Challenge or Whatever, USA. It was another strong summer.”
In 2014, the town collected $644,049 in sales tax between June and July. This year, it collected $646,410 during the same time period. Year to date, sales tax collection is 6.5 percent above budget.
Pursuing faster, cheaper Internet
The council has opted to move forward with a collaborative effort to bring abundant and affordable broadband infrastructure to the Gunnison Valley. The town will apply for a DOLA (Colorado Department of Local Affairs) grant with Gunnison County, Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, Gunnison and Region 10, a group of six regional Western Slope counties that collaborate on economic development projects.
The idea is to use dark fiber (fiber that’s not being used) and lit fiber (already-used fiber that can be shared) to provide additional broadband to the region’s anchor institutions—governments, schools, hospitals, etc.—at a target rate of 70 cents per megabyte. Internet providers would receive it at about twice that rate, still significantly less than the $20 per megabyte currently available.
The total estimated cost to bring the infrastructure from Crested Butte to Mt. Crested Butte is $292,448. Factoring in the grant, which is a one-to-one match, and equipment costs the town would not have to pay, it looks like Mt. Crested would be responsible for $120,000.
The project would bring broadband all the way to Town Hall along Gothic Avenue and have initial connectivity options at the Elevation Hotel, the Lodge at Mountaineer Square and the Grand Lodge. The council opted to join the grant request; there will be two opportunities to back out of the project at later dates.
Welcoming back the USA Pro Challenge
Dave Ochs and Karl Trujillo, members of the Local Organizing Committee for the USA Pro-Cycling Challenge, asked the council to send a letter to race organizers welcoming them back to town in 2016. The course will be announced in mid-December but organizers wanted to receive a letter of interest by November 23. The council agreed to write a letter expressing its interest in hosting a finish and/or start to the race.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said councilmember Gary Keiser, who attended the meeting by phone.
New faces in the hot seats
Mt. Crested Butte resident Nicholas Kempin has been appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council. He will be sworn in at the council’s December 1 meeting.
Greg Chernushin was appointed to the Downtown Development Authority board.
Winter marketing grant applications due
Applications for winter marketing grants are due to the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council by November 30.