New Era Arrives for Green Mountain Falls

Comprehensive Master Plan Mulled for Community

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

New town boss. Verla Bruner takes the oath of office as the new town manager/clerk and treasurer for Green Mountain Falls from Mayor Jane Newberry. This is a new position that is part of a change in administrative direction for GMF. Photo by Rick Langenberg

For the first time in recent memory, Green Mountain Falls has a full staff and an actual town manager without any interim titles.

Last week marked the swearing-in of new town manager Verla Bruner of Colorado Springs, who also will serve as the clerk/treasurer. This marks a big change for the town that has historically run through a trustee/liaison system that put elected leaders in charge of departments and all personnel decisions.

Those days are over-at least for now. GMF has adopted a town managerial form of government, similar in scope to that of Woodland Park and much larger communities. Through a trial period, the town tried this style of administration, courtesy of a state grant and with the appointment of an interim manager for six months, John Pick.

The current trustees opted to make this into a permanent plan. Instead of overseeing departments and a small group of employees, the trustees now will deal more with handling policies and overall town goals.

But along with the change for town manager, GMF now has a full-fledged deputy clerk. Renee Price, who has played a variety of administrative roles for the last year and a half, will now act as the deputy clerk. The swearing-in of both officials occurred in a fairly nonchalant style, with no speeches or announcements.

However, both officials will have their work cut out for themselves as the trustees announced intentions last week to soon embark on a revised comprehensive master plan for the community. The last time the town did a previous plan was about 10 years ago. According to Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Throne, the new plan should address a variety of key issues. Some of these would include land use, economic development, tourism, infrastructure and hazard mitigation, just to name a few.

In a previous meeting, Pick and Clay Brown, regional director of the Department of Local Affairs, outlined a variety of revenue-generating ideas. Those are important, as the town has limited financial resources and must find a way to secure future funding for its new town manager position.     

But in order to move forward, town leaders much try to obtain funding for the comprehensive plan project. Also, the plan won’t occur overnight.

According to planning commission member Dick Bratton, the previous plan took 18 months to complete and was executed with the help of a nearly $60,000 planning grant.

Following this project, the town also did an economic sustainability project that involved many community meetings. Unfortunately, much of the momentum the town gained from the previous master plan and its economic blueprint got stymied by an arson fire that scorched the former town hall. In addition, the town suffered a variety of natural disasters, such as the Waldo Canyon blaze and the floods. Also, the town experienced a number of years of political infighting with conflicting administrations that had vastly different views on the way the town should operate.