New plan would likely include vacant lot owners
By Adam Broderick
At last week’s public hearing in Crested Butte South, not many people opposed the proposal for a new monthly fee to help offset road maintenance costs in the district. The main complaint was that the new fee proposal did not include the whole community—residents felt owners of vacant lots should also pay to keep the roads well maintained.
Going into the hearing, the idea was to begin charging a monthly fee of $14 per residential unit and $28 per commercial unit in order to offset roughly $100,000 in annual road maintenance costs. Vacant lot owners were not included in the proposal because they don’t actually live in the neighborhood.
Without having its own revenue source, that $100,000 has been a major drain to the district’s general fund. Ronnie Benson, head of operations for the Crested Butte South Metro District, says new fees collected would go toward road maintenance only, not new construction, in an effort to shift road maintenance expenses into a separate enterprise fund and help offset shortfalls in the general fund.
“We’re still figuring out how to do this to generate that $100,000 mark. It’s important to cover our expenses. The money will allow us to hopefully have other funds that could go toward actual pavement as well,” Benson said.
Eleven Crested Butte South residents attended the public hearing. Some expressed opposition to paving more roads in Crested Butte South, arguing that dirt roads add character and come with the territory. However, others say they are willing to pay even more than the amount proposed just to see more focus shift toward paving.
After hearing public input, Benson said, the board is not opposed to also charging vacant lot owners, but at a lower rate, which would in turn reduce homeowner fees.
“After this meeting we’re looking at some different avenues to find a solution that best fits the community,” Benson said. “The original homeowner fee was $14 but to keep it nice and even we’re now looking at $10 [per month] for homeowners and $5 for vacant lot owners. It would eventually be $15 per quarter per vacant lot and $10 per month for homeowners.”
The new fees would bring in $106,380 annually, which Benson says is a hair over the $100,000 needed, but he explained that the extra $6,380 would go toward replacing road maintenance equipment as well as “facelift” projects similar to the recent asphalt overlay on Teocalli Road.
Having a master plan would give actual figures to plan with each year, so the Crested Butte South Metro District is considering introducing a master plan with a five-year, or even ten-year structure, and also pavement projects.
Benson says the district’s board is still chewing on things but will probably move forward at the next meeting in January. Vacant lot owners would be given a 45-day notice, another public hearing would be scheduled for February, and approval would likely occur at the March meeting.
“The board is not set in their ways and is open to public comments. Some of the past approach has gone strictly toward homeowners, so being the flexible board they are, they’re reevaluating. We’re working through it all and I think a good plan will come of this,” Benson said.