Basalt aims to get residents involved in civics by offering free pizza and beverages
Town setting priorities on projects to pursue
Basalt officials hope that residents will be motivated by a sense of civic engagement to help determine what big projects the town government should pursue, but they’re offering free pizza and beverages as extra incentive.
Basalt is entering the home stretch on an aggressive process called Basalt Forward 2030 to prioritize desired projects and identify their costs and time required to complete them.
“We’re definitely getting closer to decision time for Basalt Forward 2030,” Town Manager Ryan Mahoney told the Town Council on Tuesday night.
As part of the process, an appointed Capital Needs Committee is scheduled to determine its final recommendations on projects Monday.
On Wednesday, the town will hold an open house to provide information about the recommended projects to residents and collect feedback. Town residents will be given three chips to use to indicate which projects they prefer. There will be poster boards on seven easels that represent potential projects. Residents will be able to drop their chips into a box by the easels to “vote” for their top three projects.
“To entice people, we have free pizza and beverages, so you will be fed,” Mahoney said.
The open house will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Basalt Regional Library. Members of the public can wander in whenever it’s convenient for them. There is no presentation planned, but town officials will be available to answer questions and provide information.
The Capital Needs Committee will present its recommendations to the council Aug. 10 and then the council rolls up its sleeves over the next two weeks to make the tough decisions. The council will hold a work session Aug. 16 to discuss the projects and make its decisions on priorities — using the input from citizens the committee.
On Aug. 24, the council must decide if it wants to put a property tax ballot measure before citizens in the November election. The town has bonds for past projects expiring over the next couple of years. A potential ballot question would ask to extend the property taxes that paid off the old bonds.
If the council decides to proceed with a ballot question, the wording must be submitted to Eagle and Pitkin counties on or before Sept. 3.
Projects under consideration range from bells and whistles to nuts and bolts. For example, a facilities needs study determined Basalt is due for a new town hall. That would be a nuts and bolts project. There’s also been talk about an affordable housing project and, for those favoring recreation, a pedestrian bridge over the Roaring Fork River that would connect the Basalt River Park to the Basalt Library Park was in the running. It’s unknown at this point if that will make the final cut of potential projects.
So what if the Capital Needs Committee has different priorities than the residents? Mahoney said after Tuesday’s council meeting that he feels the priorities will be “pretty well aligned.”
He said there is likely the potential to pursue one major project and one or possibly two less expensive ones.
More information about Basalt Forward 2030 can be found at http://www.basalt.net/627/Basalt-Forward-2030.
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