Briefs Mt. Crested Butte

Council gives up a month’s pay to hold town picnic
The Mt. Crested Butte town Council is giving up a month’s worth of meeting stipends in order to help pay for food and supplies for the annual town picnic. With the town strapped for cash, the council has been debating over the last few meetings how to pay for the picnic. Some of the suggestions have included charging a fee for the event, which has historically been free, or making the picnic a free, bring your own dish potluck. 



During the meeting on June 2, Gas Café owner and councilmember Andrew Gitin announced that Shamrock Foods had agreed to donate 80 pounds of meat toward the cause.
With the main course covered, the council also had to decide how to pay for side dishes, plates and silverware. Councilmember Bill Babbitt said the town pays the council $600 for each meeting, which the seven council members split. He suggested the council give up two meetings worth of stipends to help pay for the picnic (for a total of $1,200). The rest of the council unanimously agreed (there were no absences). Mayor William Buck asked town manager Joe Fitzpatrick if the town staff needed any help setting up the picnic. “How many volunteers will you need?” he asked.
Fitzpatrick smiled, but did not say anything.
“It looks like seven,” said councilmember Dave Clayton.
The town picnic will be in late July, but a final date has not been set.

Adventure Park on track
Crested Butte Mountain Resort vice president of sales and marketing Daren Cole gave the council an update on the status of the new adventure park. He said the park area was being leveled out and some landscaping work was being performed. The synthetic ice rink and the freestanding climbing wall have been purchased and will be delivered on June 27. The bungee trampolines will arrive on June 17. Cole said CBMR is also having an inflatable kids’ play fort delivered on June 17 as well. Cole said CBMR was still on track for a July 4 opening of the adventure park, but he admitted that serious weather could slow things down.

Butte Bucks funding approved
The Town Council approved a new use for $5,000 in admissions tax funds that were donated to the Crested Butte/ Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber had requested the funds last fall to use in an informational pamphlet and display stand, but the money was never taken.
During the council meeting on May 19, chamber director Richard Bond requested a $2,500 contribution from the town toward a summer Butte Bucks program. The council liked the idea, but did not have any money left in the budget. Councilmember Dave Clayton suggested the town should re-direct the previously approved admissions tax funds into the Butte Bucks program. Bond then filled out an admissions tax fund request form and presented it to the town’s admissions tax fund committee, which is comprised of Clayton and Andrew Gitin.
During the meeting on June 2, Clayton recommended the council re-approve the full $5,000 donation. Clayton said half of the donation would support the Butte Bucks program, and the other $2,500 will go to underwrite some of the chamber’s other marketing efforts. That would in turn free up the chamber’s budget for other programs like the fireworks display. The measure was unanimously approved.

More Irwin Backcountry Guides discussion
Irwin Backcountry Guides (IBG) mountain manager—and Crested Butte mayor—Alan Bernholtz came to the Mt. Crested Butte council’s June 2 meeting to answer any questions about the proposal for guided snowcat skiing in the Irwin area. Former project manager Missy Ochs was also present.
Bernholtz said IBG was currently reviewing the comments they had received and were making changes to the plan. He said the company was now working on a set of different development alternatives. (see story on page 1).
Councilman Gary Keiser said Bernholtz had been on the public record numerous times as wanting to protect pristine natural environments and reduce the area’s carbon footprint.
Bernholtz replied that the former Irwin Lodge owners had a cat skiing operation in Irwin for nearly 20 years. “If you walk the land right now there is no evidence there was even an operation… There was nothing permanent done on public land, and the only building was on private land.”
Bernholtz said IBG had one base of operations that used recycled timber, and generated its own solar power. “Its as green as we can try to make it. Our Achilles heel is we haven’t found a solar powered or battery operated snowcat yet,” Bernholtz said, adding that IBG did have a brand new, fuel-efficient snowcat.
Councilmember Andrew Gitin asked if there would be increased transportation congestion at the Kebler Pass trailhead during the winter.
Bernholtz said there were two spaces being reserved at the trailhead for employee parking. He said they were looking into getting a rubber track for the snowcat to allow it to safely drive into town and back up to Irwin without damaging roads—which should alleviate parking at the trailhead.
Councilmember Mike Kube commended Bernholtz’s efforts, but also questioned his past record. Kube said Bernholtz’s stance on the skiing operation was inconsistent with his stance on Snodgrass. “You’re putting a commercial operation in up there for the purpose of making money,” Kube noted.
Bernholtz replied, “I talked to John Norton when he was president of the ski area and suggested they do cat skiing on Snodgrass.”
There wasn’t any further discussion, and the council thanked Bernholtz and Ochs for coming.

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