Monday, September 21, 2020

Mt. CB allocates admissions tax funds for bus shelters

Eight bus stop shelters slated to be installed by October

By Kendra Walker

The Mt. Crested Butte town council has agreed to allocate some funds from its admissions tax fund balance to pay for eight Mountain Express bus stop shelters in Mt. Crested Butte. The shelters are included in the Gothic Road 2020 upgrades and Recreation Path extension project, and the cost of the bus stop shelters and concrete is $143,920.

Currently, the town’s admissions tax fund balance is approximately $1.1 million, with 50 percent earmarked for transportation. 

When the town settled with former CBMR owner Tim Mueller on the annexation and development agreement to complete the Rec Path and upgrade Gothic Road, $200,000 was earmarked for a future ball field on town property per the total $2.9 million annexation agreement. “Even $200,000 won’t do much for an athletic field,” explained town manager Joe Fitzpatrick. “By using admissions tax funds for this Mountain Express upgrade project, it would leave a stronger balance in the annexation and development agreement settlement fund for helping to build an athletic field in the North Village.” 

The bus stops and the locations have already been worked out with Mountain Express, including two stops on the south end of Paradise Road, one stop on the north end of Paradise, one stop at Cinnamon Mountain Road, one east of Town Hall, two at Winterset and one at Prospect and Gothic. They will be identical to the other green bus stops across the valley. 

“I think the bus stops and shelters are going to be great, I think it’s important for transportation and Mountain Express and I think it’s a good use of those funds,” said Fitzpatrick. 

“Are the bus stops going in regardless?” asked council member Lauren Koelliker. “It’s just that we’re looking at what the funding source will be?”

“The bus stops are currently a part of the contract with United and will be put in with or without the admissions tax dollars,” said Fitzpatrick. 

He continued, “You don’t have enough money left over really to do anything good for an athletic field in the settlement money. So it’s an opportunity to keep more funds into that pot so when we get to the point where we’re trying to fund an athletic field of some sort we’ll have a substantial amount of money.”

“I’m trying to anticipate the financial need for Mountain Express with a new bus barn and new buses coming down the line,” said council member Roman Kolodziej. “Those are known things that we’re going to want to act on the short term and we don’t know when we might want to build a ball field.”

“It won’t hurt that pot, there will still be money there to help Mountain Express with their new facilities,” said Fitzpatrick. 

“Essentially it is a Mountain Express-related expense. It’s something that we can spend admissions tax money for. I believe that we have enough time,” said council member Dwayne Lehnertz regarding Mountain Express’ additional funding needs in the future.

Council unanimously approved using funds from the admissions tax fund balance to pay for the bus shelters. According to Fitzpatrick the project is scheduled to be complete by early October. 

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