Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blue River Will Not Vote on Paving Roads

The fur is flying in Blue River and the feathers are ruffled. The mayor resigned last week after a heated meeting about paving the town's streets.

This week the town of Blue River Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to pull a controversial question off the November ballot that would have asked citizens whether they wanted to pay to pave the town's network of gravel roads.

The town will hold public work sessions beginning next month to discuss with residents how best to move forward with the paving issue.

One option could be paving only specific neighborhoods that want to make the investment, as opposed to smoothing all the unpaved streets in town.

The board passed a resolution at its September 5 meeting officially placing the question in the November 7 general election. At the time, trustees estimated it would cost each of the 597 affected lot owners about $18,000 - without interest - for paved roads, which they would have up to 15 years to pay.

The board decided to move forward with putting the paving question to voters several months ago after years of listening to people ask when the town planned to fix the 11 miles of gravel roads in town. The decision soon raised tensions in the small town south of Breckenridge, and opponents characterized the project as the haves vs. the have-nots, saying only the rich would be able to afford the cost of paving and others might have to move. Supporters, though, said they viewed the cost as an investment because it would boost property values.

Former Mayor Darcy Lystlund resigned the day after the board's last meeting, saying she had been verbally abused and physically threatened after the meeting by a resident who was upset over the the possibility of paying for paved roads.

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