Glenwood Springs approves $90 million 2020 budget
How to spend remaining A&I bond funds still a point of contention
Glenwood Springs’ 2020 budget places a multi-million dollar emphasis on repairing some of the city’s streets.
Additionally, the city hopes to commence construction on South Bridge by 2025.
However, some council members said the city must seek additional funding and partnerships in order to keep the ball rolling with respect to fixing Glenwood’s streets and creating an additional connection from South Highway 82 to the west side of the Roaring Fork River.
The city’s $90 million dollar 2020 budget was unanimously approved Thursday night and includes approximately $5.76 million in it for street improvements.
Councilor Rick Voorhees said the city was able to “scrape together” the $5.76 million and had concerns about the availability of funds for streets in future budgets, particularly after 2021.
“The city is being responsible with this $5.7 million I’m talking about, and the possibility of more money next year. But, the third year out there isn’t going to be anymore money after we take money out of reserve,” Voorhees said at Thursday night’s regularly scheduled council meeting.
The lion’s share of that $5.76 million will go toward the complete removal and replacement of Cedar Crest Subdivision’s roadways, waterlines and sewer systems.
Additionally, the city’s $90 million 2020 budget does not factor in the $7 million Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development grant, which will help fund the reconstruction of South Midland Avenue.
“Right now, we’re in the posture of robbing Peter to pay Paul in order to make some things happen over the next couple of years,” Voorhees said. “That’s not sustainable and I want to be sure that we all understand that as we pass this budget today.”
While the 2020 budget passed unanimously, exactly how to spend the remaining Acquisitions & Improvements’ bonding money remained a point of contention.
A nonbinding resolution concerning where to allocate those remaining bond funds also passed Thursday night, but not without hesitancy.
In 2016, Glenwood voters renewed a 1-cent Acquisitions & Improvements sales tax for 30 years and supported a companion $54 million bonding authority question.
The city already bonded $22 million for projects, which commenced in 2019 and has its eyes set on reserving $20 million from the bond fund for South Bridge, specifically.
“Since we are putting this out as a public resolution it might be good to put that into context of the fact that, that’s not enough funding to build that project,” Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup said. “That’s actually a $40-$60 million project, depending on where we’re going to come out. …We will need partners for that.”
South Bridge was in the specific ballot language regarding what the city could spend the Acquisitions & Improvements bond funds on. Other possible expenditures for the bond money included: South Midland, the 27th Street Bridge, a river walk and the construction of a “Gateway to Glenwood” by making improvements to the Sixth Street corridor.
According to city attorney Karl Hanlon, the city cannot allocate those bond revenues to anything not contemplated in the ballot’s language.
Councilor Tony Hershey called the nonbinding resolution concerning where to potentially allocate the remaining bond funds “silly.”
“To be clear it doesn’t really mean much,” Hershey said of the resolution, which ultimately passed in a 4-2 vote. “We’ve already bonded a lot of money…so, I’m voting no.”
“I cannot support something that talks about Sixth Street until the business owners and landowners on that street make a decision nothing is going to happen there,” Hershey added. “I am not supporting, yet another beautification project, like the debacle on Seventh Street.”
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The coronavirus threat delayed the opening of developed campgrounds in the Roaring Fork, Fryingpan and Crystal valleys. The Forest Service will phase them back in by June 12.