DOLA Grant Means Big Savings for Ridgway Taxpayers

04/17/14 | By | 81 views More

RIDGWAY – For supporters of Measure A, which voters passed earlier this month to partially fund Ridgway’s long-awaited Streetscape project, the deal got a lot sweeter this week, with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs announcement that it has awarded a $500,000 grant to support the project.

By reducing the proposed bond issue to complete the Streetscape Project, the DOLA grant will ultimately mean significant savings for taxpayers.

“What a historic couple of weeks we have had,” Ridgway Mayor John Clark said on Tuesday. “We are obviously very, very happy, and we are so thankful to DOLA.”

Earlier this month, an overwhelming 76 percent of Ridgway voters approved a tax measure to help finance the $2 million cash-match obligation for a $10.5 million Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation. The CDOT grant will be used to complete Ridgway’s Streetscape Plan, which has been on the docket for nearly 10 years.

When Measure A passed, which would increase the town’s property taxes by $160,000 annually, Town of Ridgway officials proposed to issue a 20-year bond in the amount of $1.9 million to cover its $2 million cash match obligation.

Now, with the $500,000 DOLA grant secured, the town plans to reduce that 20-year bond amount to from $1.9 million to $1.4 million. This means, according to figures provided by Town Manager Jen Coates, the maximum annual debt service will be reduced from $110,000 a year to $65,750 a year. The mil levy requirement will be reduced from 4.03 mils to 2.41 mils.

This means that for a resident with an assessed valuation of $300,000, the tax increase per year has been reduced from $96 to $58. Commercial businesses tax increase for an assessed valuation of $500,000 a year will drop from $584 per year to $350.

“It is astounding,” Clark said. “The actual savings is something like 40 percent. We are obviously extremely psyched and grateful.”

Coates added that the partnership between the town, CDOT and DOLA to complete the project is monumental, because this marks the first RAMP project the two state agencies have participated in together.

“Everybody is really excited about that,” Coates said.

The RAMP grant will pay for Highway 62 improvements that extend from Laura Street to the Highway 550 intersection. They include a three-lane highway all the way through town, including two drive lanes and a center turn lane; two bike lanes extending from the Highway 550 intersection to Laura St.; concrete crosswalk intersections on Highway 62 at: Railroad, Lena, Cora, and Laura Streets; curb and gutter; sidewalks on both sides of Highway 62, from the bridge to Laura St. and on one side of Highway 62 from Laura Street to Amelia Street; surface and subsurface drainage improvements; landscaping and irrigation, including raised planters, from Railroad Street to Laura Street; decorative lighting and amenities (benches, trash, recycle, etc.); and a connecting sidewalk under the Highway 62 bridge to existing sidewalk on the north side of the bridge.

While upbeat about the election and the recent DOLA grant award, Clark cautioned that completing project of this magnitude is going to take patience.

“I am still nervous on what the actual construction will be like,” he said. “I hope the community will be behind the effort and support all the businesses during that tough time.”

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