Are You Kidding Me?

Last Friday, Hizzonor stepped in it again. He held a Town Meeting of One in The Paper. But why should he have all the fun and get all the attention? This is simply irresistible. I just HAVE to jump into the fray.

A toll booth to pay for gravel pit impacts?
By Heidi Rice

SILT – Installing a toll booth on the town’s roads is just one suggestion that has come up in response to the Garfield County’s Planning and Zoning Commission’s recent approval of a gravel pit near Silt.

The idea of a toll booth, suggested by Mayor Dave Moore, would be to help offset the impacts to Silt’s roads.

What? A toll booth? When did this come up? And where was it suggested? In the Mayor’s brain? Did he just then suggest it to The Paper? Or maybe to his wife? And then she called The Paper?

The people are totally confused.

A little context would be helpful here. I happen to know that “toll booth” came up at a recent Board of Trustees Meeting, in a discussion that included a whole host of options to deal with funding road maintenance. To make “toll booth” the focus of the article is to take it out of context. And make Silt look ridiculous.

Moore said he is calling an emergency workshop prior to the town’s next meeting on Feb. 12 to discuss the matter.

“I’m extremely concerned about who is going to pay for the roads, infrastructure and the bridges that will be impacted, along with the sociological impacts to the police department, ambulance, fire department and all other unforeseen challenges and expenses that come out,” Moore said.

The county P&Z approved the application for the Grand River Park gravel pit project on Jan. 16. The pit is owned by a group of notable Glenwood Springs attorneys and contractors, including water lawyer Scott Balcomb and contractors Dick Stephenson and Gregg Rippy. The 168-acre gravel pit south of Silt will be operated by Bill Roberts, owner of Earthworks Construction and Western Slope Aggregates, which runs a gravel pit in Carbondale.

P&Z members approved the application with a long laundry list of conditions that include an extensive reclamation plan, sharing the cost of damages to County Road 346 and inspection of the property by the county.

However, Moore wanted the commission to deny the project and send it back to the town of Silt for renegotiation and to see how the costs of the impacts can be recouped by the town.

It’s true. The people REALLY ARE concerned about the new gravel pit south of town. And it certainly would’ve been ideal if the county P&Z had sent the owners back to Silt. But they didn’t. As with all things governmental there is a long, slow process that takes place. Of course Hizzonor can say anything he damn pleases. But it might be an even better idea to work through the process before he shoots off his mouth.

Holding a Town Meeting of One in The Paper hardly seems like the most diplomatic or democratic approach to the process. But hey, that’s Our Mayor. Full of surprises and apparently, ideas …

Along with the idea of a toll booth, Moore is also suggesting either an access fee or licensing fees.

“But I’m pushing for toll booths,” Moore said. “I want to know what we can do and the way we can tax or get some of these fees. I think politics are involved here. It just doesn’t pass the smell test. If the county doesn’t help us out, we’re going to march to the beat of our own drummer.”

Toll booths? Access fee? Licensing fees? Taxes?

Uh-oh, do I hear the sound of a drumbeat?

So who crowned him King? And a grumpy one at that!

Yes, he’s definitely marching to the beat of his own drummer. I just wish he’d leave the rest of us out of it cuz at this point I don’t know WHAT THE HELL he’s talking about.

Ok, I get that he’s mad that the county P&Z approved the gravel pit. Though it does bring to mind the schoolyard bully stomping his foot. Boy-I’m-so-mad-I-oughta-pop-you-one-or-poke-a-stick-in-your-eye-but-I’ll-get-you-for-this.

It’s a hell of a way to do business. And it’s not his business to do. We have a Town Manager and Board of Trustees who together participate in research, discussion, hearings, and motions. That whole PROCESS thing.

Subverting the process serves no purpose. Helps no one. It just pisses people off

Unfortunately, Mr. Mayor publicly spouting retaliation for the county P&Z’s approval of the gravel pit accomplishes all of the above.

Garfield County Commissioner Trési Houpt said the gravel pit project application has not yet been before the commission and probably wouldn’t until sometime in April.

“It’s very important that we hear everyone’s concern and from what I’ve heard, (Moore) felt he didn’t have adequate time to be heard,” Houpt said. “I’ll be looking at everything. There are regulations in place and we’ll be looking at impacts and litigation and everything else that goes into approving that kind of application.”

When asked about the prospects of a toll booth, Houpt said that the town of Silt would also need to look at the costs of putting that in place.

“I believe we have a process in place that allows everyone to share their concerns and I hope (Moore) is there to share his concerns,” Houpt said. “It’s not a done deal. It’s a long process, but I think that’s good.”

Thank you for bringing some sanity to the Town Meeting of One, Commisioner Houpt. It’s good to be reminded again that this is a PROCESS.

Silt’s emergency workshop to discuss its options is scheduled from 6 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 12 at Silt Town Hall.

What was the emergency again? Oh, that’s right. Subverting the process. Retaliation options.

To further fuel the Humor Mill, The Paper is running a poll: Do you think toll booths should be used in the Silt area?

It’s still running! As of today, “Are you kidding me?” wins hands down with almost 67% of 181 votes.

Silly little Silt.

Well this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Mr. Mayor.

The concerns about the gravel pit – “who is going to pay for the roads, infrastructure and the bridges that will be impacted, along with the sociological impacts to the police department, ambulance, fire department and all other unforeseen challenges and expenses that come out” – they are all serious issues. But how they are resolved is not the Mayor’s decision to make. 

George H.W. Bush said it best: “Would you please shut up and sit down!”

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