City Council unanimously votes down gym proposal

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— Craig Mayor Don Jones said feedback he heard was overwhelming regarding the Moffat County School District's funding request to the city for an expanded gymnasium.

"I've received more calls on this project than anything else since I've been up here," Jones said during Tuesday night's City Council meeting. "And all but one of those people said 'No, don't go through with this.'"

His words came before the council's vote, and foreshadowed the governing body's decision.

A crowded City Council chamber watched as the board unanimously rejected, 6-0, the school district's proposal for $365,000, which would have funded an expanded gymnasium at Craig Middle School.

Had the city funded the project, the money would have come from a $651,000 surplus.

The school district originally had asked the city for $150,000. The amount increased to $365,000 after it was learned the city would need an additional 12 feet in space to accommodate city programs.

Councilor Bill Johnston, who sat for his last meeting as a council member Tuesday night, said he soured on the gym proposal when the price increased.

"What was a good deal at $150,000 is a bad deal at $365,000," Johnston said.

City Councilor Gene Bilodeau said the economy has changed how Craig should spend its money.

"I've watched as the economy has gone from bad to worse," Bilodeau said. "Northwestern Colorado seemed insulated from the problems facing the country, and even the eastern slope. But, now it seems like those problems are encroaching on us."

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said city department leaders wanted the surplus money to fund equipment.

"We went to all of our staff and asked them if there were any unfunded capital improvements and any other capital needs that they would like to see with the $365,000," Ferree said. "We've postponed $600,000 worth of equipment, and that's after (the Department of Local Affairs) cut $300,000.

"It wasn't unanimous, but the majority of the city departments would like to see the equipment they needed six or seven months ago."

Ferree said in addition to equipment, city officials would also like to see improvements to City Hall.

Ferree said the city should also be saving money, in case the economy worsens.

"Most people are also really nervous about the economy," Ferree said. "We have to watch sales tax revenue. Over to the east they've seen a reduction in revenues. I think everyone would be more comfortable if not every penny of the surplus was spent.

If the state keeps cutting back on its budget, Craig should have a back-up plan, Bilodeau said.

"We keep getting all of this news about the state budget and how our revenues might decrease," Bilodeau said. "Knowing that, I have to say it was a great idea, just bad timing."

Jones said too much of the surplus money shouldn't be focused on recreation.

"We do need more gym space; we've been short in gym space for as long as I can remember," Jones said. "But recreation is just one small part of living in Craig. A lot of that money should be focused on the other departments or infrastructure."

Councilor Terry Carwile said there is a backlog of equipment needs throughout city departments. He said if the city were to move the gym project to the top, it wouldn't be showing the other departments faith.

"I think the capital improvements should take priority here," he said. "(City departments) worked hard on the budget, and on merits we should complete the cycle. I don't know how long we can postpone these expenses."

Councilor Joe Herod said the council needed to be smart with city money, and he felt allocating the money for the gym would be letting taxpayers down.

"The taxpayers look to us to spend money the right way," Herod said.

Jones said city, school and Moffat County officials should have worked together from the start of the project. Because they didn't, the project failed, he said.

"If we had the city and the schools and the county and the community college all working together, we might have been able to apply for a DOLA grant and been successful," the mayor said.

Comments

greeneyedgurl 5 years, 8 months ago

How do you know they're not? Do you check their visa's?? This is a public forum and I'll say what I want so don't you tell me to keep something to myself, I have a dad already. I guess your gym argument doesn't really matter because they said "no"-read the headline--what part of "voted down" isn't making sense?

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als362 5 years, 9 months ago

I am proud of the decision the city council made on this issue. We can all only hope that when the rec center issue raises its ugly head again they will show the same prudance, and foesight as they did in making this decision.

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taxslave 5 years, 9 months ago

Take note the article says the chamber was filled. Showing up and speaking out still makes a difference in our county.....thank goodness.

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boxer21 5 years, 8 months ago

Not a smart decision at all. Everyone in this town thinks of the now and not the future. If we ever want something like that again it will cost more than twice the amount we could get it for now. Wrong idea. I'm very disappointed. Oh well. Hopefully all the older idiots who are afraid of change get the hell out of this town soon so us younger generation have a better place to live.

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lonelyone 5 years, 8 months ago

well get a job and start paying all those wonderful taxes that are costing us way to much. buy a house and pay the property tax, put your kids in school and pay those taxes too and reach deep into your pocket to pay for all the things that everyone sticks their hands out and then us old folks won't have to do it and we'll sit back on our fat butts and watch you struggle to make ends meet.

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boxer21 5 years, 8 months ago

Who said I didn't have a job. I'm part of the younger generation. That's it. That doesn't mean i'm not employed. I have a house. I have kids. I would love to help donate money for this as well. That was literally the dumbest statement i've read on here. All I'm saying is stop being a stubborn idiot. Just do that.

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greeneyedgurl 5 years, 8 months ago

What's dumb is spending money you don't have and wanting taxpayers to do the same. It would just become overtaken by illegal immigrants such as loudy Simpson has. Ever been out there on a summer day on the weekend?

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lonelyone 5 years, 8 months ago

My statement was no dumber then yours was. Your blaming all this on "older idiots" when in fact there are many people of the older generation who really want this to go through. There are many of all age groups who don't. So you watch what you say and I'll do the same! Just do it.

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boxer21 5 years, 8 months ago

Haha. Lonelyone you are hilarious. Want to go somewhere and play the blame game? Thanks for trying. Haha. First of all, tell me how it was a good idea to push this gym proposal back further. If it's money and the cost you're afraid of, then it should have been passed NOW, while we have all the resources on hand. It's going to happen sooner or later, so why not now while it's HALF the price? Explain you reasoning please. I really want to hear why it is a good idea not to do it now. I know the economic condition isn't the greatest, but Moffat County needs a larger gym. WIth the condition we are in, it's good to save, but if we expanded now, we would be saving around $600,000. That sounds intelligent to me. There is a large gym at the high school, but it's constantly in use, which makes it harder for other programs to use it. There's Prom, graduation, the soccer and baseball team are currently using it since there is too much snow on the ground, and the high school basketball team can't even use their own "basketball" gym. Explain why it's a good idea and don't just give me the typical, "because i'm a taxpayer" answer because so am I pay just as much taxes as you. At least "older idiots" will get Social Security...(and the majority of the older people in Craig are great, there are just some of them, (hint hint) that make it hard.) As for Greeneyedgurl, illegal immigrants? Yes i've been out there, and yes there are Mexicans out there. Who says they're illegal. That's a pretty ignorant statement you should keep to yourself next time. Thanks.

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lonelyone 5 years, 8 months ago

I realize there are problems with the high school gym. That's been going on for alot of years and isn't likely to change even if they got another big gym. And you must be really young and dumb if you think that social security is enough to take care of many of our senior citizens with all the extra fees that are being added to everything. You try to live on say 500 dollars a month and have to pay for your meds plus the possibility of your property taxes doubling because the State needs to balance their budget and says you can no longer pay half the normal amount after you've reached a certain age. Never mind the fact that they've already gone up because the county re-assessed your property and say that old house you've lived in for 50 years is now worth more. And lets not forget the cost of food keeps going up, but hey when your OLD you don't need to eat to much do you? And then the city raises the fees on their rates for water, sewer and garbage, but again when your OLD you shouldn't use to much anyway. And the price of gas shouldn't be a big deal because when your OLD you shouldn't be driving anyway right? I don't have to justify anything to you either, but your the one who made the stupid comment about "older idiots" so get over it.......it's not gonna happen right now. And I'll give you this, if the school could have done the extra work for a bigger gym for the 150 thousand they first asked for I'd have said ok, go for it, but when they changed their minds because someone didn't read the figures right and more then doubled the amount they wanted, I didn't think the city needed to put a dime in. Plus the fact the school said they didn't need the bigger gym space, they were just doing it to help out parks and rec.

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boxer21 5 years, 8 months ago

First of all, never once did I say Social Security was the answer to all your financially illiterate budgeting problems. I said that you get it. That's it. I wish when I retire, that i'd get an extra $500 a month. But you seem to complain about that too which tells me you're a waste of time, because no matter what, you're against anything to do with money. Maybe you should take up a class in personal finance or something. I don't make a lot of money, but I'm financially sound enough to be able to afford higher taxes to help out Craig's community. As for you greeneyedgurl, no I don't check their visa's but I also don't make stereotypical comments about the minorities at the Loudy. As for not being your dad, I apologize. Also, you said this was a public forum and you could say what you please, yet I'm doing the same thing and you're telling me not to? That doesn't make sense. Of course I read the headlines about it being voted down, and that is exactly why i'm speaking MY OPINION.

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greeneyedgurl 5 years, 8 months ago

You can say as you please on this forum but you have absolutely no right to tell me to keep my mouth shut-it goes both ways box. Minority at Loudy?? If i'm out there on a Sunday during the summer, I'm the minority. Thankfully you're not my dad, my dad taught me to respect my elders. Something the "young" people don't know so much about anymore.

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boxer21 5 years, 8 months ago

I respect them, just not the incompetent ideas some have. And so what you're the minority. Who cares? What did they do to you? Anyways I could go on and on, but i've stated my opinion. Off to the next subject. Later...

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boxer21 5 years, 8 months ago

Agreed. Went on too far. Exhausting sometimes isn't it?

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taxslave 5 years, 8 months ago

I was just told that the roof on the new school "sagged" about 4 inches from this last heavy snowfall we had the other night.

Someone find out if this is true because from what I hear they aren't going to fix it because it didn't breach.

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