Week in Review | PostIndependent.com

Week in Review

The Glenwood Springs Community Center is continuing to do some bailing after a perfect storm of circumstances that forced cutbacks this year in the hours of the new municipal pool.Loss of the pool coordinator, a local labor shortage and a switchover in lifeguard accrediting procedures all have conspired to force the center to curtail how often the pool is open. The problem was at its worst this summer, and the city has been able to restore some hours of operation more recently.City Manager Jeff Hecksel said the city has heard some concerns about the situation.”I understand it completely. ‘We spent all this money on a great facility, and we can’t even use it,’ is the general comment I hear,” he said.The pool cost more than $3 million to build and opened almost two years ago.

Despite a debate over wording of a resolution, the Garfield County commissioners agreed Nov. 20 to establish a “rainy day” fund with oil and gas tax revenues. As those revenues continue to mount due to increasing natural gas production in the county, the commissioners agreed there was no time like the present to plan for when the industry goes away.Garfield County experienced a relatively short-lived oil shale boom and abrupt bust in the 1980s that put thousands out of work virtually overnight and left the county reeling from an economic depression for years.The county estimates oil and gas activity will bring in about $2.7 million this year in the form of property, federal mineral leasing and severance taxes.About 60 percent of the county’s budget, which amounted to about $63 million this year, comes from oil and gas revenues.

Car thefts in Glenwood Springs are on the rise, and vehicle owners are making it easy for thieves.”We are doing everything except holding the door open for them,” said Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson.Between Oct. 8 and Nov. 9 eight vehicles were stolen in Glenwood Springs, bringing this year’s total to date to 47. As long as Wilson has been on the GSPD he’s never seen a run like this.”The last two months have been a real bums’ rush,” Wilson said.In 2005 there were only 36 reported stolen vehicles, in 2004 there were 49, and with more than a month to go in 2006 Wilson expects this to be the highest year yet.

Several natural gas industry representatives say they stand ready to work with the newly elected Garfield County assessor to make sure they pay their fair share of taxes.But that doesn’t mean the industry agrees with his assertion that auditors are likely to find underpayments are occurring.”I have a hard time believing they’re really going to find anything significant,” said Duane Zavadil, vice president of government and regulatory affairs for Bill Barrett Corp., which has been active in gas drilling south of Silt.Doug Hock, spokesman for EnCana Oil & Gas (USA), a top gas producer in the county, said he doesn’t know the basis for Assessor-elect John Gorman’s contention that the industry isn’t fully reporting its production for tax purposes. But he said EnCana wants to work with Gorman, provide him whatever information he needs, “and have him understand how we go about our business. So we would look for an opportunity to have a dialogue with him.”

The Stillwater Ranch planned unit development is “alive and well,” and trying to come to an agreement with the town over the issue of creating a special district for the development.A special meeting was held midmonth, in which Silt town officials, the developers and attorneys discussed the project’s special district, which at least a couple of town board members disagree with.The special district – which includes a taxing district and a service district – is being vehemently opposed by Mayor Dave Moore, who said it is simply lining the pockets of the developers.”Our argument is that we don’t want a special district,” Moore said. “I think it’s unfair to the buyer and unfair for the developer to make such a profit. Districts are good for unincorporated areas.”Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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