Town Briefs

Open container ordinance
Most people have assumed that you can’t walk down Elk Avenue with an open beer in your hand. Not so. You just can’t drink the beer. And of course, it is illegal to walk out of a bar onto the street with a beer. At the request of the Crested Butte Marshal’s Office, the Town Council has agreed to pass an ordinance tightening up the town’s public drinking violations, by including the prohibition of open containers.



Technically, under the old ordinance, you could have an open container with alcohol on public property… you just couldn’t legally take a drink. But the marshals were finding it difficult to confront someone who likely walked out of a bar with an alcoholic beverage if they didn’t see them actually leave the bar. And if the officers didn’t see the person take a drink from the container, they couldn’t do much.
Chief marshal Tom Martin told the council at Monday night’s meeting that it was a way to help officers do their job. “You won’t really see any different type of enforcement as you’ve seen in the past,” he explained to the council. “It just tightens up what we have to work with.”
Councilperson Kimberly Metsch asked if it was essentially “an open container law.”
“The old ordinance prohibited drinking on public property, but this new one will now include open containers as illegal,” Martin explained.
The council set the ordinance for public hearing at their November 17 meeting.
And Martin told the council that given the new animal control measures made by the town, the bear problem was much more under control this summer and fall compared to 2007. “We saw less bears and dealt with them less frequently,” he said.
However, bears with open containers will still be considered a problem.

Sales tax off again…
Town finance director Lois Rozman gave the latest round of sales tax news to the council. “September sales tax was down 10 percent compared to the same month last year. That’s not such great news,” she said.
Retail sales tax collections were off the most, with a 20 percent drop, while grocery sales actually increased 8 percent. Rozman has postulated that perhaps high gasoline prices are keeping people from traveling to Gunnison to grocery shop.
“We are waiting on a few bars and restaurants to report, but even if they did the same as last year, we will be down 6 percent,” she said. “For the year, we are off about 2.6 percent,” she said.

Parks and Rec opening Rainbow and mellowing sledding hill
Parks and Recreation director Jake Jones reminded the council that the new Rainbow Park on the west side of town is having a grand opening Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. The event will take place at the new pavilion and everyone is invited.
Jones also told the council that the work is complete on lessening the grade at the sledding hill above the skateboard park. “With the help of the public works department, we have a new and improved and safer hill,” he reported. “We also helped improve the grade of the Nordic trail in the area. Next spring we hope to seed the area and make it nice and green.”

Budget process almost over

The council set their approval of the 2009 budget documents for public hearing at the next meeting. The paperwork puts in stone what the council agreed to during budget work sessions over the past two months. They will vote on the budget November 17.

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