Mt. Evans Highway could open June 4

June 4 is the proposed date for reopening the highway from Echo Lake to the summit of Mount Evans, Colorado Department of Transportation representatives have stated.

The U.S. Forest Service, Denver Mountain Parks and CDOT are not planning to do a timed entry system, and will probably resume having USFS employees in the toll booths.

However, the forest service doesn’t want to begin that until after the Memorial Day weekend, which is when the highway typically opens, CDOT staff said during an April 6 county commissioners meeting.

New clinic likely open mid-September

Centura Health is planning to host patients at the collaborative care center in Idaho Springs on Sept. 13.

According to Jessica Bein of Centura Health, the general contractor will be done and turn the space over to Centura around Aug. 16.

At that point, Centura staff would need about two weeks to get the space ready, which would put opening around Labor Day. However, Bein told the county commissioners on April 6 that the organization wants to avoid opening on a holiday weekend.

Thus, Centura and county staff are planning a grand opening for Monday, Sept. 13.

Centura has about 1,000 unique patients at its current Idaho Springs clinic, and is hoping to expand care as it moves into the collaborative care center.

County investigates
Road & Bridge sales tax

Revenues from a 1% sales tax might be enough to help County Road & Bridge weather an anticipated multi-million-dollar shortfall, county staff has found.

However, the Clear Creek officials would need buy-in from the municipalities and determine how much revenue they would receive from such a sales tax, officials discussed during an April 6 work session.

Commissioner Sean Wood said he would begin those discussions with county staff and the municipalities.

While Wood and Commissioner George Marlin seemed to prefer asking the voters for a 1% sales tax over a mill levy increase, they also didn’t want to eliminate the latter option either, saying they wanted more data.

Commissioner Randy Wheelock described how voters have stated for years that road conditions are among their highest priorities, and that a sales tax would help the people using the roads up help to pay for their maintenance.

“I would say that half the people using our roads don’t pay property taxes here,” he continued.

Whether it’s a mill levy increase or a new sales tax, Finance Director Brent Worthington said that, without some additional revenue for Road & Bridge, its funding is “a fairly bleak picture.”

Based on forecasted expenses and capital projects, he said the fund balance would go negative in 2024 and the county would be $5 million to $7 million in the red for several years, and it would get worse in 2030.

If the county goes the mill levy route, Worthington said that an additional 5.75 mills would be sufficient to fund Road & Bridge long-term.

Wood commented of Worthington’s projections, “This is the first time I’ve seen something that looked achievable.”