Thursday, August 22, 2019

Mt. CB extends deadline for settlement agreement with homeowner, again

“Show me the money.”

By Alissa Johnson

The town of Mt. Crested Butte has once more extended the deadline for a property owner to pay his full share of a bond secured to complete avalanche mitigation work in 2005.

This is not the first time an extension has been granted, but allows time for the homeowner’s lending institution to complete its process.

“At our last meeting, we established a deadline for the payment for our settlement agreement on the avalanche barrier bond of the 31st of October at 5 p.m. and [town finance director] Karl Trujillo will reinforce the fact that we did not receive any money,” town manager Joe Fitzpatrick told the council at its November 1 meeting.

Joel Hillman, owner of Sunlight Ridge Estates, has paid some but not all of the assessments relating to an avalanche barrier on the west side of town. In 2005, the town created a special improvement district and secured a bond to build the barrier. Property owners in the special improvement district, which included about 230 property owners, were to pay that bond back over 10 years.

Hillman has been working with a bank to secure a loan to pay the town $205,000. His June 1, September 1, and October 31 deadlines have all been missed.

“I have talked with the president of the bank involved, and what’s going on is a combination of things,” Fitzpatrick told the council. “First of all, it’s important to understand that his loan is approved, so that’s not holding us up. The signatures that are required by the bank have to be wet signatures. They can’t be electronic; they have to be pen on a piece of paper.”

Because Mr. Hillman had been traveling outside of the country, there had been delays. At the same time, the town has been clearing up some confusion with Gunnison County about whether the payment qualified as a tax.

“That created some decent confusion in their office, so we worked through those details,” Fitzpatrick said, stating that the final challenge was this issue of the signatures. He indicated that the bank wanted to extend the deadline one more time to Friday, November 18 of this year, understanding it believes “that’s later than they need.”

“Money in hand on the 18th or the signatures will be in town on the 18th?” asked mayor Todd Barnes.

“Closing on or prior to November 18,” confirmed town attorney Kathy Fogo.

“Is Mr. Hillman’s calendar open on the 18th or prior for him to get a signature?” councilmember David O’Reilly wanted to know.

“What I’m told is that he’s back in town the 5th of November…”Fogo said. “It does benefit the town to receive the money.”

“That’s my next question,” Barnes said, turning to town finance director Karl Trujillo. “Karl, is this worth it for you?”

“Show me the money,” Trujillo said. “It goes back in the housing fund, which is getting very slim.”

With that in mind, the Town Council voted to extend the deadline for payment to November 18. Fourth time’s the charm.

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