Financial woes continue to haunt both city and DDA.
~ by Bob Volpe ~
At a recent Woodland Park city council meeting, elected leaders declined to grant a request to chip in on for a $10,000 main street clean-up program, which would include power washing business fronts, lamp posts, benches, sidewalks and curbs in the downtown district.
Although no formal vote was taken, the council didn’t react positively to a letter submitted to the city council by Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Treasurer and business owner Tanner Coy, and read publicly by Mayor Neil Levy. In fact the council even rejected the idea of placing the issue on its next regular meeting agenda. Their “no money” stand represented a continuation of a request made last month that prompted a near verbal shouting match, with the mayor telling Coy to “clean up your own building” and to repay the city for a $1 million loan taken out by the Downtown Development Authority.
As a result of council’s decision, the DDA is forced to seek other sources of money to perform their annual power washing. Merry Jo Larsen, DDA chair person, deferred to vice chair Noel Sawyer, who serves on the council for an update on the city’s decision. Sawyer said, “Council is still in discussion about this.” Larsen then asked Sawyer to keep the board in the loop on that, “So that we can participate; because it is important.”
Sawyer responded that maybe a solution would be to split up the cost among multiple entities, referring to the Main Street organization, the Chamber of Commerce and business owners.
DDA board member Jon DeVaux chimed in, stating that the Colorado Department of Transportation should also take some of the responsibility and kick in some money. He said, “They need to help too. They’re the ones that put it (the filth) down.”
Discussion turned to the question of why the DDA doesn’t just purchase the equipment and hire city employees to power wash on weekends. Coy said the problem with that involves Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and permits required to capture and dispose of the chemicals and debris used in the power
washing process. “The cost used to be $1,700. When these regulations kicked in it became cost prohibitive. That’s when we reached out to the city and the DDA to help to pool resources.”
In response to Coy’s statement, DeVaux said, “Another thing to do is to get a hold of the federal government. That is a federal highway. If they want to use their regulations then let ‘em help clean up.”
Sawyer said, “We’ve been talking about this for a month now. If we can find a solution this year, we can use that solution every year, so that is why I think the discussion is so needed here. If we can find a financial solution, because I don’t think the state and federal government is going to change. So we’ve got to find our own solution.”
Finally, Coy raised the question, “With that in mind, is the DDA willing to help fund this project on any level?”
Sawyer responded, “I’m asking someone to reach out to the other entities to see if we can break up this cost. It’s easier to fund some $2,000 than it is the $5,000. I think we can have these other entities chip in then it doesn’t hurt the bottom line so much.”
Emergency Service Grant Funds?
In other DDA news, DDA board member Al Born did some searching on the internet and found a state source for funds for the Ute Pass Regional Health Service District (UPRHSD).
He was unsure of the exact source, but did find grants that are available for the UPRHSD. He said, “I don’t know the source of the grant funds, but they are distributing them to most of the EMS services around the state.
Both of the EMS services in Teller County have received funding this year. The one that services our area, (UPRHSD) will be receiving $26,487 for vehicle match. They’ll be receiving $2,962 for communications, and then $8,852 for equipment. So that’s a help.”