Green Mountain Falls’ Head Road Warrior Addresses Trustees

Town Gets Good Auditing Report; Bronc Day Lauded as Major Success

Rick Langenberg

In Green Mountain Falls, the main talk around town has centered around roads, roads and then roads.

With frequent flash-flood level storms, GMF’s collection of gravel and rough roadways have been battered like never before, displaying their structural weaknesses and showcasing the town’s drainage woes.

This issue hit main stage attention last week, grabbing the spotlight at a local trustees meeting and getting much notice in the monthly newsletter by Mayor Todd Dixon.

“I have inherited some pretty crappy roads,” said Dustin McLain, the GMF Public Works chief, when addressing the trustees

He outlined the challenges his agency faces in dealing with a difficult gravel road system and a severe shortage of employees. “I need more staff,” added McLain in replying to trustee concerns about the agency’s main needs.

The GMF public works department is only staffed by himself and two part-time contactors.

McLain stated that one of the main road attack maneuvers he has utilized consists of adding much more  road base to the gravel roadways and taking measures for more long-term benefits and stabilization, such as road pathching. “Nearly every road in town needs road base/reshaping to get proper drainage,” said McLain in his report. He described efforts taken to lessen the blow from future washouts.

Mother Nature hasn’t helped the town’s road plight with storms sometimes washing away improvements made the same day.

McLain estimated that the town’s roads will need about 50,000 to 100,000 tons of base material in the future to grapple with tougher times and weather conditions. He also said his department has spent considerable time cleaning up culverts.

McLain was  lauded for his commitment to the town, in lieu of a tough employee shortage.

A Constant Battle With Mother Nature

The state of local roads has been a frequent topic of conversation around town, with some locals saying the conditions have worsened to their worst level in several decades.

The mayor also chimed in on this issue during his most recent monthly newsletter. “Mother Nature has not been kind to our roads this year,” said the mayor.

“After the June drenching, we decided to do patching of the worst areas to give us some time while we commenced actual repairs. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas and some of that road base we used for patching ended up in our culverts. The repairs we have been doing over the summer can be distinguished by when we bring out the water truck and roller. This typically leaves a road that holds up much better to the heavy rains. We still have some roads left to do the initial repair work on though…This will be a long-term process to correct the road grade deficiency. Lastly, we use the grader to do the “repair” work (we only have one grader) and it can only be in one location at a time.”

These same problem areas were emphasized by McLain, who also listed several key thoroughfares that needed much work, such as the intersections of  Grandview and Catamount and Olathe and Ute Pass.

The trustees responded favorably and believes the public works department leader has a good plan.   At a previous meeting, the public works agency took a public hit regarding the shortage of resources and equipment. But this criticism didn’t really list any tangible solutions.

Also, the trustees have noted that a shortage of public works employees is a common problem throughout the region.

The town is also doing a comprehensive road improvement plan, a study being orchestrated by outside consultants. This will serve as a comprehensive guide for public works employees, detailing the problems with every roadway in town and providing a detailed digital map. However, to the dismay of some, the study will not address any necessary capital improvement needs, or plans for any road paving.

In other action last week, the Bronc Day festival was touted as a major success, with preliminary reports indicating it attracted more crowds than what has occurred in recent memory.  The town also got a fairly good review from its auditors, headed by Kyle Logan,  despite the staff changes. Logan did cite some areas of needed improvement and oversight, such as more involvement in the city’s finances by the trustees.  But he stated that the town’s total assets have increased by 20 percent  and it had enough funds to operate for 10 months, if no revenue was coming in. He highlighted the big increase in grant dollars.

“It is getting better,” said Logan,  in describing the town’s financial situation. He cited expenses in 2022 of about $1.2 million.