Breckenridge Town Council lays out five-year Capital Improvement Plan

On Tuesday night’s Breckenridge Town Council work session meeting, Council’s biggest item on the agenda was to go over the town manager proposed five-year Capital Improvement Plan. The plan maps out a budget for capital projects, parking and transportation projects and special projects from 2020 to 2024. 

Council went over each item on the budget, asking for some changes to be made. The highlighted items were recommended as the most flexible if Council wanted to make budget changes.

The most contentious item was the budget — or lack thereof — for a new childcare facility. In 2024, $200,000 was allotted for the planning of a new facility. Town manager Rick Holman stated that there are currently over 250 children on the waitlist for childcare, which stressed the need for a new facility. Several council members were verbally disappointed with the lack of funds allocated to the project.

“I for one think this is a big need and one that we can’t stop investing in,” said Town Council member Dick Carlson.

Council member Gary Gallagher was particularly vocal about his frustration with the lack of funds. He claimed the Council had explicitly voiced their opinion for wanting a childcare facility, but the county commissioners did not inform the Council that they had decided not to move forward with their requests.

According to Shannon Haynes, assistant town manager, Gallagher is referring to the county ballot measure 1A that was passed last year. Funding for affordable early childcare was specifically mentioned in the ballot language.

“As we understand it, there is a need and has been a need for a childcare center on the north end of the county, but we’ve demonstrated that there’s a need on the south end of the county,” said Haynes.

Holman said that while funds for a new childcare facility are not currently included in the budget, Council may need to have more serious conversations sooner rather than later. Haynes said Holman plans to sit down with the county commissioners to discuss options.

For other changes, the plan split proposed improvements to Airport Road into two phases, one being in 2022 and the other in 2023. Council members said that this could create construction exhaustion if the project is spread out over this long and opted to push the project plan to be done only in 2023. 

The Riverwalk Center lobby improvements project was taken off the budget as Council Member Wendy Wolfe pointed out that she didn’t see a clear plan or vision for the project and said it needed to be worked through before they put the project on the budget. 

The budget allocated $250,000 to converting the Lincoln Street sidewalk to a heated sidewalk, which Mayor Eric Mamula objected to citing issues the exchange building has with snow falling off the building and piling up on the sidewalk. 

“Until they fix the problem at the exchange building, they shouldn’t fix the sidewalk,” said Mamula. “I don’t think heating that sidewalk will do you any good.”

The Council decided to take the project off the budget. 

One of the recently discussed projects in council was on the addition of wayfinding signs around town for cars and pedestrians. The project was budgeted to cost $1.5 million in 2020 and an additional $500,000 in 2021. Council found this project to be overly expensive and scaled back the budget. They decided to allocate $1 million to the project in 2021 and asked the planning commission to scale back some of the project to prioritize guiding traffic to parking structures.

Council also decided to push back the $5 million allocated to the transit center project from 2023 to 2024. 

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