The timeline to date of all things Midland streetscape, with the yellow star representing where we are now. Starting next spring, Basalt residents can expect closures on Midland for the purpose of surface-level improvements. Courtesy of the town of Basalt.

This week, the Basalt town council convened to discuss fun, festive plans for this year’s holiday season as well as a successful value engineering effort for Midland’s reconstruction in 2024.

During the opening period for public comment, two citizens came to the stand to offer their opinions on the potential Black Mountain development plan at the Jadwin parcel on Emma Road. One citizen called the development plan a net-negative for the valley community, both from a sustainability and character standpoint. Notably, the Jadwin development will be formally discussed at a public hearing on Nov. 28, during which the applicant will not only answer questions from council, but citizens will be able to offer additional comments. 

Town Manager Ryan Mahoney announced that the annual holiday tree lighting will be held Dec. 1 at Triangle Park in Willitts. Another will be held on Dec. 8 at the new River Park in Old Town Basalt. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be paying a visit to both events, and at the River Park, popular summer concert performer A Band Called Alexis will be returning to the bandshell for some holiday music. This year, the town will have both a petting zoo and a holiday movie-themed tree decorating contest. More details can be found on Basalt’s website. Additionally, a menorah lighting will be held on Dec. 7 in Triangle Park.

The first in a series of three presentations was this year’s third quarter financial report. So far, sales taxes constitute approximately two-thirds of general fund revenue, with property taxes being the second highest source at about 16%. Public works and parks projects have made up 29% of this year’s general fund expenses, with the police department and administrative expenses each constituting approximately 20%. 

Financial Manager Doug Pattison noted that revenue from sales tax and building permits was down, but currently actual revenue to date of approx. $8.06 million makes up 78.7% of this year’s planned budget of $10.24 million, and there is still the fourth quarter for additional revenue to come in. Expenditures are comparatively lower at an actual value of $6.79 million out of a budgeted $11.82 million – about 57.4% of the year’s budget. Pattison stated that, at the current rate of expenditure and revenue, the former is unlikely to exceed the latter and the two values should break even by the end of the year.

Next up, Planning Director Michelle Thibeault presented a grant opportunity for development of affordable housing and a childcare facility at Sopris Meadows, recommending that the town apply to Tier 1 of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ More Housing Now program. Tier 1 grants require either a 10% or $20,000 match requirement, but Eagle County has already pledged $10,000 of this match requirement if the town is awarded the grant.

Coming up on council actions, the town approved a special event activity permit for the operation of a food truck, Estilo Salvadoreño, at 122 Basalt Center Circle. Estilo Salvadoreño will be offering quick, affordable, and authentic Salvadorian cuisine from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15. 

After that, the Town approved a pair of contracts regarding the construction and landscaping of Phase II of the Midland Avenue Streetscape Project. This summer the town put Phase II of construction out to bid, initially seeing an estimate of $11.2 million. However, after a lengthy value engineering process, the bid has been reduced to about $6.5 million, including both construction, landscaping and furnishings. This $4.7m reduction was possible through material changes and redesigning pedestrian pathways.

Two streetscape construction contracts were approved. The first was a $7.2 million construction contract with Stutsman-Gerbaz. The construction on its own is priced at $5.97 million, but an additional $1.2 million contingency cost has been added to the contract. The second contract for $252,690 was signed with Rocky Mountain Custom landscapes, Inc. for Phase II landscaping.

In the last few minutes of the meeting, the council approved the installation of underground electrical lines at Lions Park just outside of town hall, and an amendment of the 2023 budget restating sources of revenue, predominantly interest income and sales tax.