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Major projects and purchases planned to address recreational pathways, workforce housing needs, County roads and public transit
Scott Vargo, County Manager: 970-453-3404
Marty Ferris, Finance Director: 970-453-3434
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Board of County Commissioners approved a $126 million 2019 County budget on Tuesday, including a $41.5 million General Fund, in addition to major capital improvements for the Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP), the Snake River Wastewater Treatment Plant, several County roads, the Summit County Commons campus and the Summit Stage public transit system. The budget also includes funding for several workforce housing projects.
“Financially, we’re in a solid place,” County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said. “The TABOR and Gallagher amendments continually place downward pressure on our revenues, which makes it challenging for us to meet the increasing demands on County services. So voters’ support for programs like open space protection, workforce housing and mental health has been essential to our ability to address community needs and priorities.”
Total Summit County property tax revenues, which contribute to multiple County funds, are projected to total $37.2 million in 2019. Sales tax revenues are projected to increase by about 2 percent. Property taxes make up 44 percent of General Fund revenues, and sales taxes contribute about 13 percent.
On the workforce housing front, Summit County has allocated funding for preliminary work at the 45-acre Lake Hill site on Dillon Dam Road, in partnership with the Town of Frisco. 2019 funding will provide for a traffic study, impact analysis, geotechnical work and early infrastructure analysis.
The commissioners also budgeted for new workforce housing construction in Keystone’s West Hills neighborhood and the design processes for County-owned parcels in Dillon Valley and Summit Cove. The County will continue its efforts to secure parcels for future workforce housing projects that the community will need in order to meet projected demands.
The Board of County Commissioners approved funding for a new planning technician, a new bookkeeper and one-quarter of an environmental health specialist position to support a proposed short-term-rental permitting program. Summit County is currently working to develop regulations for short-term rentals, which would be applicable to properties within the unincorporated areas of Summit County. The proposed regulations are intended to address permitting and fees, neighborhood impacts, life safety issues, compliance monitoring and enforcement systems. The new positions are contingent upon the board's adoption of such a program. The 2019 Summit County Budget does not include any other new positions.
Among Summit County’s 2019 capital projects is the completion of the Summit Cove Loop Project, which has included numerous roadway improvements throughout the Summit Cove neighborhood and the installation of bicycle-pedestrian lanes along Summit Drive and Cove Boulevard. The final phase of the project will include improvements on Cove Boulevard, from the Soda Creek causeway to the intersection with Swan Mountain Road.
Additional roadway improvements are budgeted for Boreas Pass Road, Swan Mountain Road and Fairview Boulevard. Altogether, Summit County plans to spend about $2.7 million on road construction projects in 2019, in keeping with efforts in recent years to catch up on road maintenance that was deferred during the recession.
The County plans to spend $2.1 million on three Summit County Recreational Pathway improvement projects, including segments along Highway 91 and Swan Mountain Road. The Tenmile Extension will add 3.3 new miles of recreational pathway between Copper Mountain and Climax Mine. Improvements along both ends of Swan Mountain Road will leverage construction projects at the new Breckenridge water plant and the Summit Cove Loop Project. The vast majority of the Tenmile Extension project costs will be covered by federal and state grant funding.
The Snake River Wastewater Treatment Plant plans to replace its headworks screen – a key technology in the wastewater treatment process – at a cost of $1.25 million. And the Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP) will spend $4 million on the construction of a new solid waste cell at the landfill. The overall lifespan of the landfill is projected to run through 2056.
The Summit Stage public transit system plans to acquire five new buses and one paratransit vehicle, which will serve as much-needed replacements for the oldest buses in the aging fleet. Grant funding is projected to cover 80 percent of the cost, bringing Summit County’s total price tag for the replacements down to $200,000. Each of the new buses will be smaller than what the Stage has traditionally used, as part of a right-sizing effort to save on vehicle acquisition costs and fuel consumption.
The Summit Stage is also budgeted to spend $4 million in upgrades at the Frisco Transportation Center, including parking expansion, drainage improvements, infrastructure and improved vehicle circulation. The Summit Stage has received $2.5 million in state funds to offset the costs of the 2019 FTC improvements.
Summit County is planning $3 million in improvements to the County Commons campus in Frisco in 2019, per recommendations in the County Commons Master Plan. The County will realign Peak One Drive between the Summit County Commons building and Summit Medical Center to improve safety and to accommodate needed expansions to the industrial portion of the campus. The road currently contains a steep S-curve that is not ideal for ambulances or buses.
The County is also planning to design and construct a new building on the campus for storage of sand and salt, shared by CDOT and the Summit County Road & Bridge Department. The existing building is in poor condition, with material pushing through the western exterior wall, and it lacks the capacity to accommodate today’s needs. The building, which houses noisy, round-the-clock operations that require intensive outdoor lighting, is located on the west side of the campus, close to residential neighborhoods. The new building will be located on the east side of the campus.
The Summit County Sheriff's Office will receive $560,000 in capital funding for safety improvements at the jail, a drone for use in wildfires and emergency searches, SWAT body armor, security upgrades, an inmate tracking system and an update to the Summit County Justice Center Master Plan.
Summit County Ambulance Service (SCAS) will receive $112,500 to upgrade automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at schools and County facilities. 2019 will see the completion of a new emergency services building that will jointly house local ambulance services and the administration of Summit Fire & EMS. The site of the $4.2 million facility is located on the Summit County Commons Campus. The joint project will enhance collaboration and resource-sharing between the two agencies, and it eliminates the need for each agency to take on its own independent construction project.
In November, local voters approved Summit County Measure 1A to support wildfire mitigation, mental health, recycling, public facilities and affordable preschool. Passed with 61.45 percent of the vote, the measure will generate $8.8 million per year for 10 years. Since the measure's passage, Summit County officials have begun coordinating with community advisory committees in each of the five issue areas to roll out programming as early as possible in 2019.
"Thank you to the voters for recognizing these challenges and taking action to make Summit County a better place for all of us," County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said.
For more information about the 2019 Summit County budget, contact Finance Director Marty Ferris at 970-453-3434, or visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/budget.