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Tax notices have been sent to Garfield County property owners

Approximately 30,000 Garfield County property tax notices were sent out in late January, according to a county news release.

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners has certified $187.1 million in taxes to be collected through this tax cycle, up from $151.9 million in 2022, the release states. Property owners may pay taxes in halves or all at once; the deadlines for half payments are Feb. 28 and June 15. The deadline for a full payment is April 30.

Garfield County Assessor Jim Yellico reported to the commissioners that, in 2023, 39.8% of property-tax distribution is going toward kindergarten through grade 12 schools; just under 5.8% goes to local college districts; just over 33% to special districts, fire districts, towns and water and sanitation districts; and 21.4% to Garfield County government operations.

Property owners can make payments online at garfield-county.com/treasurer/tax-payments through a secure payment portal with the Garfield County Treasurer’s Office. Click on property tax payments to search for a property by owner name, location or account number. Select a payment amount to open the online payment portal. Online payments are subject to a $4.03 flat fee on electronic checks, or a 3.28% fee on credit cards ($5.18 minimum).

For telephone assistance, call (970) 945-6382; the same online service fees apply. Property owners may also pay by drop box downstairs at the courthouse at 109 Eighth Street, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601. If these options do not work, please call to arrange for other alternatives.

To pay by mail, send to Garfield County Treasurer’s Office P.O. Box 1069, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602; include your account number.

The release also advises that when property-tax payments are made by mortgage companies, homeowners should contact their lenders prior to the due dates to verify the payments have been made.

Hung up in the canyon

PHOTOS: Coal Ridge girls and boys basketball take on Summit

It’s basketball season here in Garfield County. High schools across the valleys are currently entrenched in trying to pick up enough wins for playoff berths. On Friday Coal Ridge boys and girls basketball were hard it, grinding away against Summit.

Coal Ridge senior Ashlynn Guccini dribbles against Summit at home Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
Coal Ridge junior Riley Cheney concentrates on the hoop during a free throw attempt against Summit on Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
Coal Ridge junior Rilyn Krueger looks for an open teammate while the Titans host Summit on Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
Coal Ridge junior Derrick Centeno gets introduced in the starting lineup for the Titans against Summit at home Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
Coal Ridge senior James Webber handles the ball against Summit on Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
Coal Ridge junior Derrick Centeno releases a free throw against Summit on Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
Coal Ridge sophomore Ben Simons defends against Summit at home Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Indepedendent
Coal Ridge and Summit players congratulate each other on a hard fought game.
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Evergreen returns: Developer proposes 60 affordable-housing units just west of Rifle movie theater

Rifle City Council started off the new year once again speaking with a developer who originally proposed to build affordable apartments in downtown Rifle.

Chicago-based Evergreen Real Estate Group, which, in 2021, wanted to build 50 units at Second Street, is now seeing if it can gain enough support from the city to build 60 affordable-housing units on about 4.7 acres just west of Brenden Rifle 7 Theaters, directly north of U.S. Highway 6.

Unlike its proposal to build a four-story apartment complex in the downtown area, Evergreen’s newest approach includes building multiple three-story, low-rise apartment buildings to make up the entire complex, an Evergreen representative said during a Jan. 4 council workshop.

If Evergreen submits an application to build, it will ask Rifle to allocate a $600,000 match for the project. 

“These organizations, they like to see that the local municipality has some skin in the game,” Evergreen Project Manager Javonni Butler said.

Preliminary project documents show, if built, 14 units will be charged at 30% area median income (AMI), 12 units at 50% AMI, 18 units at 60% AMI, eight units at 70% AMI and another eight units at 80%.

To put things in perspective, 80% AMI represents anyone who makes about $26.40 an hour. This includes professions like teachers and school nurses.

“That’s how bad it is,” Butler said. “The AMIs are creeping up so high, that just normal people at this point are qualifying for affordable housing.”

Garfield County Housing Authority Executive Director Cheryl Strouse said the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development is now allowing her department to offer vouchers to people making up to 120% of AMI.

Strouse said the housing authority will reserve 14 project-based vouchers solely for this development if it breaks ground.

Why this matters is because the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, a governing body required to sign off on Evergreen’s proposal, is more likely to do so when vouchers are involved.

“CHFA looks much more favorably on a development that has project-based vouchers in it than those that do not,” Strouse said.

A site plan for a new proposal to build 60 affordable apartment units west of the Rifle movie theater.
City of Rifle

When Evergreen originally proposed building off Second Street, it ran into safety and overcrowding concerns. Butler said parking issues, in particular, killed the project. Now, however, the new proposal creates 115 parking spots while it looks to connect the site with Rifle Creek Trail and take advantage of any infrastructure improvements, including the Park Avenue extension.

“I like this concept a lot better than the last one,” Rifle City Council Member Brian Condie said. “I’m all in favor — even the $600,000.”

But, he did express concerns over ratios — that is, however many single-family houses there are in Rifle compared to apartments.

“That’s my concern, on changing the demographics and not just accepting all of these proposals that come in for apartments,” he said. “At what point do we say the ratio is good enough, and we’ll let more apartments in?”

Evergreen’s newest proposal comes during a time when Garfield County itself needs about 2,100 affordable housing units for folks making 60% AMI, according to the 2019 Greater Roaring Fork Regional Housing study. 

The Evergreen proposal is set to bring in at least 100 new residents to Rifle, with another 100 ancillary construction jobs and two permanent management and maintenance jobs. 

Additional possible funding sources for the project include the Rifle Planning Department applying for the Colorado Infrastructure and Small Communities grant program. There’s up to $4 million currently in that fund.

The plan moving forward for Evergreen is to first apply to CHFA in February. If all goes accordingly, Evergreen is set to break ground in June 2024, with the complex opening to residents by December 2025.

Correction

The Monday Post Independent article titled “Hydroponic lettuce facility Spring Born closes in western Garfield County” misspelled the name of the distribution company Spring Born was working with. The company is Sysco Wholesale Restaurant Food Distributor.

Colorado Ski Report

From the Associated Press

Arapahoe Basin — Wed 5:03a packed powder 44 – 44 base 83 of 147 trails 57% open, 808 acres, 9 of 9 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p.

Aspen Highlands — Wed 4:01a 1 new powder machine groomed 42 – 57 base 111 of 122 trails, 91% open, 1013 acres, 5 of 5 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-3:30p Sat/Sun: 9a-3:30p.

Aspen Mountain — Wed 4:01a 2 new powder 36 – 41 base 76 of 76 trails, 100% open, 675 acres, 7 of 8 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-3:30p Sat/Sun: 9a-3:30p.

Beaver Creek — Wed 5:42a packed powder machine groomed 46 – 46 base 157 of 169 trails 93% open, 1785 acres, 25 of 25 lifts, Mon-Fri: 8:30a-4p; Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p.

Bluebird Backcountry — Wed 7:18a 3 new powder machine groomed 24 – 38 base 6 of 25 trails, 47% open, 571 acres Mon/Thu/Fri: 8:30a-4p; Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p Open Thu-Mon.

Breckenridge — Wed 6:14a 1 new packed powder machine groomed 39 – 39 base 145 of 187 trails, 78% open, 2126 acres, 33 of 35 lifts, Mon-Fri: 8:30a-4p Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p.

Buttermilk — Wed 4:01a powder 28 – 30 base 43 of 44 trails 98% open, 452 acres, 5 of 8 lifts, Mon-Fri: 8:15a-4:30p Sat/Sun: 8:15-4:30p.

Cooper — Wed 6:01a 1 new powder machine groomed 20 – 35 base 64 of 64 trails 100% open, 480 acres, 5 of 5 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 9a-4p.

Copper Mountain — Wed 5:00a machine groomed 42 – 42 base 149 of 156 trails 96% open, 23 of 23 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 9a-4p.

Crested Butte — Wed 5:43a packed powder machine groomed 43 – 43 base 115 of 160 trails 72% open, 1163 acres, 15 of 15 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 9a-4p.

Echo Mountain — Wed 7:27a machine groomed 18 – 18 base 3 of 8 trails 38% open, 3 of 3 lifts, Mon-Fri: 10a-4:30p; Sat/Sun: 9a-4:30p.

Eldora — Wed 5:46a machine groomed 24 – 24 base 52 of 65 trails, 80% open 355 acres, 10 of 10 lifts, sm Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p.

Granby Ranch — Wed 7:29a machine groomed 37 – 37 base 49 of 49 trails 100% open, 5 of 5 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 9a-4p.

Hesperus Ski Area — Wed 12:34p powder machine groomed 34 – 34 base 26 of 26 trails, 100% open, 1 of 1 lift Thu/Fri: 4p-9p; Sat: 10a-9p Sun: 10a-5p Open Thu-Sun.

Howelsen Hill — Wed 7:30a machine groomed 30 – 30 base 17 of 19 trails 89% open, 3 of 3 lifts, Mon-Fri: 11a-8p; Sat/Sun: 10a-4p.

Irwin — Wed 6:05a powder machine groomed 69 – 89 base 75 of 100 trails, 75% open

Keystone — Wed 6:35a 1 new packed powder machine groomed 37 – 37 base 108 of 130 trails 83% open, 2112 acres, 20 of 20 lifts, Mon-Fri: 8:30a-8p; Sat/Sun: 8:30a-8p.

Loveland — Wed 4:52a machine groomed 38 – 38 base 68 of 94 trails, 72% open 1060 acres, 9 of 10 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p.

Monarch — Wed 5:39a packed powder machine groomed 48 – 48 base 66 of 67 trails, 99% open 788 acres, 7 of 7 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 9a-4p.

Powderhorn — Wed 5:49a powder machine groomed 61 – 61 base 54 of 54 trails 100% open, 5 of 5 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 9a-4p.

Purgatory — Wed 5:15a powder machine groomed 48 – 52 base 104 of 105 trails 99% open, 938 acres, 10 of 11 lifts, Mon-Fri: 8:30a-3:45p Sat/Sun: 8:30a-3:45p.

Silverton Mountain — Wed 5:30a 1 new powder 50 – 100 base 69 of 69 trails, 100% open, 26819 acres, 1 of 1 lift Mon-Fri: 9a-3:30p Sat/Sun: 9a-3:30p.

Snowmass — Wed 4:04a 2 new powder machine groomed 37 – 54 base 91 of 98 trails 93% open, 2972 acres, 19 of 20 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-3:30p; Sat/Sun: 9a-3:30p.

Steamboat — Wed 5:28a 1 new packed powder 66 – 85 base 171 of 171 trails 99% open, 2962 acres, 21 of 21 lifts, Mon-Wed: 8:30a-4p Thu/Fri: 8:30a-4p/5:30p-8:30p; Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p/5:30p-8:30p.

Sunlight — Wed 4:57a 1 new powder machine groomed 34 – 34 base 72 of 72 trails 100% open, 3 of 3 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 9a-4p.

Telluride — Wed 4:42a powder machine groomed 32 – 41 base 89 of 147 trails 61% open, 681 acres, 14 of 17 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p; Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p.

Vail — Wed 5:41a packed powder machine groomed 54 – 54 base 254 of 273 trails, 94% open 32 of 33 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-3:30p; Sat/Sun: 9a-3:30p.

Winter Park — Wed 6:15a 4 new powder machine groomed 52 – 58 base 146 of 168 trails, 87% open, 2683 acres, 23 of 24 lifts, Mon-Fri: 9a-4p Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p.

Wolf Creek — Wed 7:04a powder machine groomed 81 – 92 base 133 of 133 trails 100% open, 9 of 10 lifts, Mon-Fri: 8:30a-4p; Sat/Sun: 8:30a-4p.

Correction

In Friday’s edition of the Post Independent, the column “22 tips for losing weight,” the year of publication for the book “How not to Diet” was reported incorrectly. The book was published in 2020.

Editornote-gpi-123022

Editor’s note: The Post Independent news team concludes its look back at some of the big stories and key issues that shaped 2022 in Glenwood Springs and across Garfield County, and what can be expected as the calendar turns to 2023. Happy New Year!

Tri-State Generation brings grant-writing support to Craig to aid in coal transition

After listening to what community partners say Craig needs to endure the upcoming transition away from coal, Tri-State Generation will be bringing in additional grant-writing support to supplement existing efforts. 

Tri-State Generation and leadership from the Craig Station power plant met with community stakeholders on Thursday, Dec. 8, to announce the scope of the grant-writing services Tri-State is bringing to help Craig prepare for the transition. 

The three coal-powered energy generating stacks are set to be retired in 2025, 2028 and 2030, along with the coal mine that feeds them. While it may be rumored that the sunset dates will be extended, Tri-State officials have said the mandates to sunset coal-power generation are coming down from the federal level. 

Community leaders have been working proactively for the past four years to plan for the plant’s closure, but there is still much work to be done to get projects off the ground that will have a regional impact and help diversify Moffat County’s economy. 

Tri-State officials announced on Thursday that they are bringing in The Ferguson Group, a consulting firm that works out of Washington, D.C., to help local entities get access to more federal grant dollars to aid in the transition. 

“We’ve been talking for years about what services we need in the community,” former Craig Station Plant Manager Rich Thompson said. “What we found is we need a dedicated grant writer for the community that can support multiple interests and organizations.” 

Lane Dickson and Catherine Minerich, representatives for the Ferguson Group, spoke about how the firm can help with all phases of grant work — from the development and planning of a project to the actual grant writing. 

The purpose of the presentation was to introduce the scope of services that the Ferguson Group can provide in Craig, and for Dickson and Minerich to get a sense of where the community is in terms of planning and grant readiness. 

“We focus on preparation first and foremost,” Dickson said, adding that 80% of grant writing is preparing for a project up front with the actual grant writing being a final step in the process. 

Working out of Washington, the Ferguson Group can more easily advocate for local initiatives at the federal level, too. Sasha Nelson, the director of workforce education and economic development at Colorado Northwest Community College, said she was involved in six different federal funding initiatives for local projects last year and all of them failed. 

“While it was humbling,” Nelson said, “what it taught us is that we didn’t have adequate advocacy at the top.” 

Dickson and Minerich stressed that federal funding prioritizes projects that are collaborative and address the needs of multiple agencies to have a large regional impact. 

The conversation revolved closely around the need to replace the high-paying jobs tied to coal and boost the local tax base by replacing revenues that will be lost with the mine and power plant closures, as well as housing. 

“The community is interested in jobs and the tax base,” Thompson said. “If you can solve that problem, everyone will be on board. It doesn’t matter how we get there.”

Shannon Scott, Craig’s economic development manager, spoke briefly about the work that is being done to develop infrastructure and attract developers for housing. Though the city has had success earning grant funding for infrastructure development, more funding can always help, Scott said. 

Several local officials agreed, saying that while housing and jobs go hand in hand, Moffat County’s most urgent needs are developing jobs and diversifying the economy. 

A lot of the studies and planning that federal programs will require for funding have already been done. What community leaders asked for on Thursday was help getting the projects started and implemented.

Aspen public health officials warn of a ‘triple-demic’

Pitkin County public-health officials are urging residents and visitors to take precautions this season, as a triple threat exists with COVID-19, RSV, and the flu spreading quickly throughout the community.

“We are in what we are calling the potential of a triple pandemic or triple-demic,” said Dr. Kim Levin at Thursday’s Board of Health meeting, noting that hospital capacity is a concern in Aspen, as well as across the state, particularly in pediatric departments and intensive-care units.

Children’s Hospital in Denver was recently over capacity in RSV cases, with tents in the parking lot. That should matter to people in Aspen, as the state is on a tier-one transfer system for pediatric respiratory illnesses; so, if a kid is sick here, there might not be a bed available elsewhere, Levin explained.

“We are in a severe situation,” she said.

If community members and tourists don’t take precautions — like getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu, wearing a mask, using best hygiene practices, and isolating when ill — more people will get sick and jeopardize the capacity at Aspen Valley Hospital, said Carly Senst, COVID-19 epidemiologist and response lead for Pitkin County.

“When hospital capacity is threatened, it doesn’t just impact respiratory patients,” she told the board. “It can impact everything from a skier-versus-skier incident; it impacts heart condition patients; it impacts cancer patients,” she said. “So, I just really want to highlight that this has ripple effects when our hospital capacity comes under fire.”

Pitkin County is experiencing a high level of community transmission of COVID-19, and public-health officials expect that to continue as the holiday season approaches, and tourists begin flocking here.

Aspen Valley Hospital recently moved into a higher-risk category and re-instated a mask mandate for staff and patients due not only in part of COVID-19, but also other respiratory illnesses. 

“At the same time that AVH increased from comfortable to cautious for health-care workers, the decision was made to go back to masking, and I think this was an excellent decision,” Levin said. “This is a reminder that (there’re) no public-health mandates now, so any business can decide to do this if they want to protect their staff.”

Free testing and vaccinations for COVID-19 in the county are set to expire Jan. 1. After that, individuals will need to get vaccines from their medical providers and may incur administrative charges for the services provided — but not for the vaccine, as that is given for free from the federal government.

Also, individuals at risk for severe illness will first need to go through their provider if they wish to be tested to access treatment for COVID-19.

For anyone not seeking treatment, at-home antigen tests will be available for purchase at pharmacies. The Pitkin County Library will continue to hand out antigen tests to the public while supplies last. 

There will be a vaccination clinic on Friday, Dec. 9, at 412 Rio Grande Place in the mobile vax bus, and there will be two more clinics Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 at undetermined locations.

“We need to remind people that vaccinations are free for the rest of the month, so they need to step up,” said Dr. Tom Kurt who sits on the board of public health.

csackariason@aspentimes.com