Potential budget increase to be discussed in September
By Kendra Walker
The town of Mt. Crested Butte is getting close to hitting its $50,000 budget for its e-bike rebate program which rolled out earlier this summer in June. The program offers a $500 rebate for Mt. CB residents, homeowners and town employees who purchase a new e-bike. Rebate applicants get more if they purchase in the Gunnison Valley.
During the August 15 town council meeting, town clerk Tiffany O’Connell shared that she has authorized over $41,000 in rebates with another $2,200 pending. “I estimate hitting $50,000 before the end of August.”
In a report to council, she shared some statistics from the program so far. She noted that 77 rebates have been processed. Fifty-five of those e-bikes were purchased online, four in Colorado, eight purchased in Gunnison, eight in Crested Butte and one purchased in Mt. Crested Butte. The average price of the bikes is $1,942. Forty-six rebates have gone to Mt. Crested Butte residents, 26 to second homeowners, one rebate to a commercial property owner, two rebates to town employees who are Mt. CB residents and one to a town employee who does not live in Mt. CB.
“Do you want to end the program or increase the budget?” O’Connell asked the council.
Town staff still needs to check on available funds with the finance department, so the council agreed to have a more in-depth conversation about a possible increase in budget at their next meeting on September 5. The council also plans to discuss program metrics, how to measure its success and possible revisions to the program moving forward.
Councilmember Janet Farmer said that she would like to know more about the results from the program and how it has affected residents’ car and e-bike usage.
“I’m more inclined to increase the funding if we can have a discussion of where that tax money is being spent,” said councilmember Roman Kolodziej. “I’ve advocated in increasing the rebate amount to people purchasing in the valley.”
The council agreed to add $5,000 to be available as stop-gap funds to the e-bike rebate budget if the initial $50,000 runs out. “That will get us to the next meeting when we have more information,” said Kolodziej.