State Funds Fuel Fiery Green Mountain Falls “Government”

 

letter

Dear Editor:
While a few Green Mountain Falls insiders anxiously await a half million dollar deposit of Colorado’s cash to engorge their erection of an inexplicably large and expensive town hall (see related story in TMJ) that the tiny unstable town government doesn’t require, taxpayers are left to wonder how the State of Colorado is prioritizing expenditures of what this state continually claims to be insufficient tax revenue to operate effectively.

The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), apparently has such excessive cash rupturing the budget of its Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program that DOLA decided to lavish their impoverished Green Mountain Falls brethren with their requested $493,000 to subsidize replacement of the former 860 square foot Town Hall that had served until recently to acceptably shelter the town’s clerk and at times her cat.

The total projected cost of the proposed 2844 square foot GMF Town Hall is $794,944 with the state of Colorado adding its $493K to the town’s available $300K for a building that will somehow “assist” the town in dealing with the phantom impacts of “…power lines…electric generating facilities… 32 coal trains” that the Town emphasizes in its application to the program. As for the town employee that is credited for winning this lottery of state cash, he’s recently secured a hasty appointment to a freshly created Town Manager position with a generous severance and other benefits in addition to his existing full time title as Public Works Director –all of this by the way in a town of 640 residents (2010 Census) and a $440K annual budget. 

Rather than seeking funds that might actually improve the safety or quality of life for the town’s taxpayers, perhaps for improvement of Fountain Creek to prevent devastating flood damage as was experienced by multiple business district owners last summer, or perhaps for building a much needed flood warning system to prevent loss of human life in flash floods that regularly threaten the town, this town’s officials prioritized the funding of a monumental government chateau.

The land that the town has targeted to consume for its modest administrative burdens is ostensibly the largest, flattest, flood safe undeveloped parcel remaining within town limits–the same piece of ground upon which the town’s elected officials have repeatedly rejected applications for private development based in large part upon the rationale that those several previously proposed uses for the land would not have brought satisfactory tax revenue into town coffers—unlike the proposed “Town Taj Mahal” of course that will yield exactly zero. 

Shedding some light upon the darker dysfunctions of town governance is a Letter Of Resignation submitted by the town’s former marshal (as requested by trustees) describing the hostile political environment and intimidating practices of town officials and staff. The marshal further relates “I have witnessed board members bully other board members, Mayor Worthey and citizens… I received requests for information about a candidate running for a board seat that was on [the Risk Manager’s] threat list… I have great concerns that their methods of doing business and the manner in which the meetings have spun out of control have and will continue to create a great deal of liability and danger to others…My staff and I have been informed by several residents in the last 26 months, that they are afraid to speak up at board meetings in fear of retaliation by board members or town staff” The former marshal’s letter at http://ccgmf.dreamhosters.com/?p=233) is a must read for voters in the town.

While reform of an imperfect Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program might be a worthy long term goal for Colorado taxpayers, a more tangible reformation of the Board of Trustees of the town of Green Mountain Falls is far more feasible and closer at hand. Despite facing an intimidating environment, some town residents have united to form Concerned Citizens of Green Mountain Falls and are working to “Take Your Town Back”. The group is collecting signatures for a recall election of (4) Town Board of Trustees members, a referendum and an initiative to affect Town employee policy. They have a website http://ccgmf.dreamhosters.com/. By means of a better-informed and involved electorate, this gorgeous little town’s natural charm and good nature would certainly be enhanced by a successful recall election.

Joe Morin