Officials try to cooperate on resort issues |

Officials try to cooperate on resort issues

BRECKENRIDGE – After years of locking horns on levels of road repair and law enforcement, Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District officials and the Board of County Commissioners agreed Monday to cooperate on possible solutions to a host of resort issues.

One proposal includes a new resort-metro district that would help govern both resident and resort interests.

The agreement came during a tense presentation by Metro District officials on the state of Copper Road, which has been plagued in recent years by a host of maintenance issues. Built in the early 1970s on a wetland area, the issue of financial responsibility for repairs and possible reconstruction has been a persistent thorn in relations between the two bodies.

As debate began circulating Monday over where fault for the problems lay, both sides demonstrated varying degrees of exasperation.

“I don’t give a shit who screwed up Copper Road,” County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom fumed. “Unless I drop dead, don’t come in here and talk about the same thing again.”

Lindstrom’s anger was directed equally at Copper’s belief it does not get fair return for the sales and property taxes it sends to the county treasury.

Lindstrom’s outburst was mitigated by his acceptance of a proposal put forth by Metro District manager Elizabeth Black toward the formation of the resort-metro district, which would address the full panoply of concerns from both the community and resort.

Lindstrom, in accord with what Black called a more “creative” approach to the community’s problems and citing the need to come up with an improved plan for Copper Road and means for financing it, said such a body might prove beneficial.

“Let’s figure out what to do in the future,” Lindstrom said. “Let’s move forward on this.”

The proposal came shortly after metro district officials had raised the age-old complaint about taxes and inadequate service levels.

“We really think there’s a pretty big disparity between what goes to the county in terms of taxes and what’s rendered back in terms of services,” said Tom Malmgren, chairman of the metro district’s board of directors.

He suggested the metro district be assisted for the road work it does by reimbursement, a subsidy to the district or tax revenue sharing.

Commissioners responded by indicating that expenditure of tax revenues was spread across the county, according to need, and not relative to each area’s contribution.

“This is not the first time I’ve heard this not only of Copper Mountain, but every other enclave in the county,” Commissioner Bill Wallace responded.

While declining to outline specific details of her plan other than to say it lacked any precedent she was aware of, Black said the formation of a resort-metro district would help facilitate the resolution of such issues in addition to providing a single, cohesive body to address other concerns, something that had not always been achieved.

“I think they want to have one entity, one voice that would speak for Copper in negotiations with the county,” Lindstrom said in his own interpretation of the proposed district. “In the past we were not always hearing the same message from the resort and the metro district.”

One Copper Mountain Resort official in attendance, vice president of operations Jim Spenst, said such a move would help overcome a reluctance to put things in the past aside and move forward.

The new body would deal with issues such as those concerning the road, but also a series of current metro district concerns Malmgren outlined, including a possible noise barrier along Interstate 70, associated with the highway safety issues and other transportation, development and tax issues.

In the meantime, officials agreed to cooperate on a report addressing these issues, and assistant county manager Steve Hill set a tentative presentation deadline for the end of July.

“We know what the issues are and where we want to go in the future,” Lindstrom said. “We have an opportunity right now to deal with some of those issues involved.”

In the last year, the resort and county improved relations through better law enforcement and upgraded snowplowing services.

Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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