Lack of funding puts DDA director position on hold |

Lack of funding puts DDA director position on hold

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The city’s Downtown Development Authority will not hire a new director until at least 2005. Even in 2005, the hiring of a new director could hinge on whether residents and property owners approve a 5 mill levy in November.

At a joint work session with the DDA Board Wednesday, City Council took a straw poll and unofficially voted 4-3 against funding the $60,000-a-year position.

The decision came less than 24 hours before the application deadline for the job was to expire. DDA Board chairman David Hauter said although the board hasn’t met since Wednesday’s work session, he’s guessing the 15 applications that were received by the city during the past month will be saved.

“Given the current economic climate, I’m in favor of continuing the DDA budget we have without filling that position,” Mayor Larry Emery said.

“In the next 60 to 90 days, we might be looking for someone to cut,” Emery said, referring to possible layoffs among city staff.

Councilman Dan Richardson suggested funding the position for one more year, then yanking the money if no alternate funding source is developed by 2005.

The DDA board is considering asking voters within the downtown district to approve a property tax to fund the position. The 5 mill tax would cost the owner of a $500,000 commercial building $725 a year, and the owner of a $300,000 home $120 a year.

“We can scrape the money together for 2004, but if the mill levy doesn’t pass, hopefully there’s a contingency plan,” Richardson said.

But only two other councilmen agreed with Richardson, so the DDA Board will be forced to put in an unpaid interim director for the rest of 2004.

Councilman Joe O’Donnell was among the minority who supported hiring a new director.

“I really think you need a director to move this thing forward,” he said.

One of the problems faced by the DDA is that it would have been possible to hire someone for the job, then have to let that person go in less than a year.

The other two part-time DDA positions, an administrative assistant and a street sweeper, will remain filled and on the payroll.

DDA Board chairman David Hauter took council’s decision in stride.

“We understand the funding isn’t there and you’re not going to get the best guy for the job if the funding source isn’t solid,” he said.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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