Last March when GMUG staff officers met with community and business leaders on the forest supervisor headquarters building project, plans were mired in doubts concerning the federal budget process.
Since that time, events in Washington D.C. haven't eased budget concerns related to the local project.
In addition, there have been a couple of developments since March which, if anything, would appear to have pushed the GMUG project funding further into the future.
Early last summer, the DCI learned, there was a not-surprising confirmation that any funds for the headquarters project would most likely become available at earliest in the federal 2015 budget year.
At the community meeting last March, Forest Supervisor Scott Armentrout indicated the possibility of just such a scenario when he discussed a "phased project" that would span more than one federal budget cycle.
The federal budget cycle begins on Oct. 1 each year. Congress is now negotiating the 2014 federal budget.
In a recent phone interview with Armentrout, the DCI learned of another development on the project. Last summer a Forest Service values analysis team came to Delta. The team "put a cost estimate" to the GMUG's preferred project alternative. That preferred alternative is a totally new headquarters facility for office staff and shop/maintenance operations on land adjacent to the Delta-Montrose Technical College.
Armentrout told the DCI it became clear that the available funds projected to be available for the GMUG headquarters project would not be sufficient to cover the GMUG's preferred alternative.
Armentrout was quick to add the GMUG headquarters project is still in discussions, but a number of plans, possibilities, scenarios, proposals, contingencies and other factors make the situation completely unclear.
Armentrout however did confirm his commitment to have a new headquarters remain located in the Delta area.
The local community has come forward with some significant support for a new Delta headquarters. As of the meeting last March, the following resources had been pledged to the project:
• Delta County has pledged up to $200,000 in support, most of which could be contributed in-kind as site preparation and other services.
• The City of Delta would provide sewer service improvements valued at up to $250,000.
• Delta County Economic Development and its partners have pledged to purchase 10 acres next to the technical college and deed it to the federal government if the project is approved.
Since last March, various unofficial reports have circulated to the effect that "the plug had been pulled" on the project, and that the site at DMTC "has been taken off the table."
At the request of the DCI, the GMUG public information office provided the following assessment of the situation involving the project:
"The Forest Service lease for the current building expires in 2015.We continue to look at a variety of options for providing office space for the supervisor's office. Our plans are to stay within the Delta area.
"We continue to look at options of leasing, purchasing, building, and any other options which may develop; however, obviously the expense is one of the key issues. This summer we had a team of folks look at the options and costs that may be involved in a variety of scenarios. At this time, purchasing land and building a new office would involve the most expense. We do not know what funding may be available in FY14 and FY15 toward this effort.
"We continue to evaluate our options and when we have a better idea of what we are able to do, we will communicate that information to our partners and the community."blog comments powered by Disqus