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Major projects scheduled for Summit Cove roads, workforce housing and County Commons campus
Thomas Davidson, Chair, Board of County Commissioners
Scott Vargo, County Manager
Marty Ferris, Finance Director
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit Board of County Commissioners adopted the 2017 County budget on Tuesday, approving a $28.7 million General Fund, along with major investments allocated for Summit Cove roads, workforce housing and the Summit County Commons campus. The overall Summit County budget, including all funds, totals $97.2 million.
“We’re on sound financial footing, with the notable exception of the severe challenges we’re facing with our landfill and recycling programs,” Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “Our property tax revenues are continuing to gradually recover from the recession, but because of TABOR restrictions, it will take four two-year revaluation processes to return to pre-recession revenue levels, assuming property values continue to rise.”
Total Summit County property tax revenues, which contribute to multiple County funds, are projected to be about $201,000 higher than they were in 2016. Sales tax revenues are projected to be at pre-recession levels. Property taxes make up 31.4 percent of General Fund revenues, and sales taxes make up 17.9 percent.
Among Summit County’s 2017 capital projects is Phase 3 of the Summit Cove Loop Project. The overall project includes numerous roadway improvements throughout the Summit Cove neighborhood and the installation of bicycle-pedestrian lanes along Summit Drive and Cove Boulevard. Phase 3 will comprise significant improvements in the Summit Cove Elementary school zone, including road repairs, new bicycle-pedestrian lanes and traffic design changes to reduce conflicts among various modes of transportation. This portion of the project is supported in part by a $350,000 Safe Routes to School grant from CDOT.
Major repairs are also planned for Baldy Road, and minor fixes are on tap for various roads throughout the county, including crack repairs on Tiger Road. Altogether, Summit County plans to spend $2.5 million on road construction projects in 2017.
Summit County is planning $1 million in improvements to the County Commons campus in Frisco in 2017, per recommendations in the County Commons Master Plan, published in January 2016. Peak One Drive will be realigned between the 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.
In partnership with the Summit Community Care Clinic, Summit County will expend $100,000 to conduct interior finish work on about 3,500 square feet of the third level of the Summit County Medical Office Building. The new space will house expanded dental services provided by the Care Clinic and allow for expansion of the clinic’s existing primary care services on the first floor.
Other planned capital projects include replacement of Summit County’s financial and human resources software system; a cooler replacement in the morgue; new flooring in the Summit County Animal Shelter; an evidence vault upgrade in the Sheriff’s Office; kitchen equipment upgrades at the Summit County Community & Senior Center; and various scheduled vehicle replacements.
The Solid Waste Fund is the only County fund experiencing financial challenges. Following a major waste hauler’s decision to dispose of local trash on the Front Range, Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP) revenues are projected to be 33 percent lower than they would be if the trash were to be disposed of in the local landfill. Trash tipping fee revenues support the environmentally compliant operations of the landfill, as well as recycling and waste-diversion programs and services.
Summit County is in the midst of intensive discussions with local haulers and town governments to identify operations and policy solutions that would eliminate the need for deep cuts to SCRAP expenditures, including those supporting recycling drop-off center operations, multiple SCRAP staff positions, all 2017 SCRAP capital expenditures and waste-diversion programs conducted by High Country Conservation Center. Changes under consideration include modified hours of operation, tipping fee reductions and new waste-diversion strategies. Should the County achieve long-term certainty that all local trash stays local, SCRAP tipping fees charged to haulers would likely be reduced from current levels.
The 2017 Summit County budget contains increases for staffing and programming related to mental health. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office will receive increased funding for professional medical and mental health services in the Summit County Detention Facility. In partnership with the Summit Foundation’s Building Hope Initiative, Summit County Public Health is considering the addition of a new mental health coordination position, which would facilitate partnerships, needs analyses and strategic planning for mental health services in the community.
Staffing increases are also planned for the Summit County School Resource Officer program (one deputy in 2016 to two in 2017); the Summit County North Branch Library, which has seen escalating use in recent years (one additional librarian); and Summit County Animal Shelter, which will add an animal control officer in order to provide better coverage seven days a week.
On the workforce housing front, Summit County has budgeted $6 million for capital projects, land acquisitions, workforce housing program administration and housing-development planning. Projects could include work on County-owned and County-controlled properties such as the Lake Hill property near Frisco, the Wintergreen property in Keystone and/or the former Our Lady of Peace church site in Dillon Valley, among other parcels.
“We’ll be working very closely with our partners in the public and private sectors to identify opportunities that give us the biggest bang for the buck in the short term, while also laying groundwork for substantial future additions to our workforce housing stock,” County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said. “We’re extremely grateful to local voters, who approved the new affordable housing construction fund in November. Now we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
For more information about the 2017 Summit County budget, contact Finance Director Marty Ferris at 970-453-3434, or visit SummitCountyCO.gov/Budget.