Breckenridge officials to crack down on litterers, tax cheats
summit daily news
BRECKENRIDGE – Litterbugs beware: The Town of Breckenridge is stepping up efforts to curb illegal trash dumping.
“During clean-up day the amount of trash that got pulled, just on French Gulch, is unbelievable,” Councilman Eric Mamula said Wednesday. “This is a bummer for the community.”
He said the garbage ranged from diapers to liquor bottles, tires, a car transmission and a filing cabinet. The topic came up at the council’s semi-annual retreat on Tuesday, and officials support cracking down on what appears to be a growing problem.
“We have received several complaints over last three to four months involving trash along the side of the roadways,” Breckenridge Police Chief Rick Holman said Wednesday.
He said that at council’s direction, “we will be enforcing this on a stricter basis.”
Town officials are also encouraging the municipal court to fine people more aggressively for littering.
Violators could be people using the area for the day or locals. One local homeowner was cited in the past few months for leaving bags of trash off Wellington Road, Holman said.
Mamula said areas along Reiling Road, Wellington Road and French Gulch seem to get the most trash.
Littering is a class II petty offense in Colorado. Upon first conviction is a mandatory fine of $20 to $500; on second conviction, $50 to $1,000; and on third conviction, $100 to $1,000, according to http://courts.state.co.us.
Tuesday’s retreat offered opportunity for council members to share goals for the town.
Recently elected Councilman Mike Dudick said he wants Breckenridge to be a leader in pursuing tax dollars from people who rent out their properties to vacationers through such websites as http://www.vrbo.com and http://www.craigslist.org.
These residences are subject to taxes similar to hotels, and the problem affects ski towns statewide – especially during an economic recession.
Dudick also said he would like to look more closely at town-supported child-care facilities to ensure they’re being good stewards of the finances they receive.
New Councilman Mark Burke, former president of Johnson and Wales University in Denver, said he would like the town to focus more on supporting youth and education.
Councilman Peter Joyce said he’d like the town to work with the local medical community toward perhaps some new approaches to health and wellness. Families that visit the community to ski often leave when one of their members is injured.
“There’s a large economic element associated with that,” he said.
Other councilmembers addressed issues of sustainability, planning and communication.
Gagen said the town is “perceived as a leader” in the county, the state and beyond – citing efforts toward a firebreak ordinance last year as an example.
“In Summit, in particular, most people copy what we do,” he said, adding that town staff and council have been well-represented at the state level through the years.
Mamula said Wednesday that he’s optimistic about the town council’s future.
“It’s a good group,” he said. “I think the new guys (Burke and Dudick) are going to add a lot, and I’m really pretty pleased with the council in general.”
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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