GMF Boss to Discuss One-Year Game Plan At Upcoming Workshop
~ by Rick Langenberg ~
Welcome to Green Mountain Falls, a quaint Ute Pass town filled with plenty of charm, history and beauty; but one bombarded with a slew of problems, such as mighty road woes, hefty infrastructure challenges, no cell phone service, short-term rental concerns, needed lake enhancements, declining revenues, limited business/development growth and more.
And of course, all of these challenges must be overcome with limited financial resources, like no money. And fret not, there is no pressure, with a room full of irate residents if a disaster strikes, not to mention no shortages of expectations.
This is a snapshot of the full agenda plate facing new Green Mountain Falls Town Manager Angie Sprang, who officially began her duties on Sept. 3.
Sprang was formally appointed to the position at last week’s board of trustees meeting. She will be further introduced during a community “Meet and Greet,” slated for Sept. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sally Bush center.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” said Sprang, when queried briefly about her new role by TMJ News. “I am super excited.”
Sprang comes from Carbondale, Colorado, where she served in a variety of government roles, including a stint as the town’s head policy analyst.
Sprang will become the second permanent town manager to assume the GMF top position, since town leaders took a major leap forward in changing from a trustee/liaison form of government to that of a city manager style. The first full-time manager, Verla Brunner, didn’t quite mesh with the trustees and was fired after only six months on the job. And for the last two years, GMF has operated mostly with an interim manager and a number of part-time contractors and employees.
Efforts to find a new town boss weren’t easy, with three other top finalists, introduced at various meet and green forums and then turning down the position.
For GMF leaders, the fourth time in dealing with a manager finalist was the charm.
Still, Sprang says she is not deterred from this past history. “It is a very cute town. I really like the sense of community here,” said the new manager, who recently moved into the area.
Moreover, Sprang also praised the strong level of volunteerism and the friendly attitude of residents.
As one of her first initial goals, the new manager wants to start preparing a one-year game plan, with concrete goals and objectives. These efforts will be discussed during a forthcoming workshop. The public workshop has been scheduled for Sept. 17, and it will be partially facilitated by a representative from the state Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). DOLA has a vested interest in the success of GMF’s town manager experiment, as it has partially subsidized the salary for this position for a several year period. DOLA also played a big role in encouraging the trustees to adopt the town manager style of government.
The new manager wants to receive a buy-in from the trustees for this plan. Ultimately, this plan could gain more traction when the town adopts a budget for next year.
No Shortage Of Challenges
Sprang said it was still too early to address specifics of the many challenges facing GMF. “I am just learning my way around,” admitted the manager. “I have only been on the job for 72 hours.”
Recently, she met with former interim manager Jason Wells, who ran the town’s operations on a part-time basis for more than a year and a half. Wells is now the part-owner/manager of a restaurant and bar operation in Manitou Springs.
On the top of the priority list will be roads, with many town meetings turning into open gripes over the state of the town’s deteriorating gravel thoroughfares. This is an issue that has plagued the community for nearly five years
Sprang said the town does have a variety of possibilities to consider. One idea mulled has been contracting out more services, including that of a public works supervisor. Or, the town could operate in the same way it did in previous years, with an in-house public works chief, or get more aggressive with grants and allocate more funds into road maintenance. Currently, the town only has two employees to handle road maintenance services.
In any case, the need for road improvements is a subject that is stressed at practically every GMF board of trustees meeting.
The new GMF manager said she was attracted to the Green Mountain Falls area. Sprang cites the draw of tourism as one similarity between GMF and Carbondale, located in the Roaring Forks area. In her previous stints, she also was involved in the oil and gas industry that was quite predominant around Carbondale.
Plus, Sprang admits the lack of housing is another common denominator. In fact, her plight in finding a home to rent is one reason she couldn’t start her new role until early September. “I wanted to start a little earlier, but it just couldn’t happen with the availability of housing,” she related.
In the meantime, Sprang said she is looking forward to the “Meet and Greet” forum, scheduled for Saturday. “I hear people up here make some pretty good food,” quipped the new manager.