For the past 23 years, tens of thousands of dollars have been furnished by an anonymous former Castle Valley resident to local youth to help them with their first year of college or trade school. In addition to the annual endowment, another anonymous donor contributed an additional $500 to the scholarship fund making the total package worth $2,500. The grant is awarded to local graduating high school seniors who can show evidence of acceptance to a college or trade school after submitting a request to the town council.
Cameron Taylor, son of Ray and Karen Taylor of Castle Valley, was the only applicant to file for the scholarship and he was awarded the scholarship by the council. Taylor has lived in Castle Valley all of his life and attended Grand County schools throughout those years and earned a 3.98 grade point average during his high school career. He was a four-year letterman in football and baseball and involved in many extra curricular activities during his high school years at GCHS.
Taylor will be attending the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a small private college specializing in teaching engineering, mathematics and science located in Terre Haute, Ind. Established in 1874, the college has been ranked the number one college in undergraduate engineering by U.S. News for the past 15 years. He will be majoring in civil or mechanical engineering.
There was a lot of discussion during the town council meeting regarding the proposed tax increase facing the town during fiscal year 2015 and two years beyond. Last month, Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley outlined a budget that would essentially double the amount of property tax the town would collect, which would amount to $106.40 per $100,000 in assessed property value. That increase will be for two years and the third year will include an increase of $86.29 per $100,000 assessed value. Mayor Erley outlined several immediate needs including road equipment, a bridge over Castle Creek, continuing to put money aside for the eventual repaving of Castle Valley Drive and money to sample the town’s water quality wells.
During last week’s meeting, former Castle Valley Town councilman Jim Lindheim spoke against the tax hike, saying it is a “dramatic increase” and a “radical change on the amount of money” the town is earning. He cited those property owners who possess undeveloped land and said he is worried about the impact on those people who are sitting on that land and paying 100 percent of the value of the land. Mayor Erley countered that, “we are heading to a massive train wreck and we’ve been operating under a low budget for years and there is a lot of work to do.”
Lindheim said he is not talking about a zero tax increase but his proposal is to not raise the rate so much, stating that his concern is that the council feels that everything has to be done in the next couple of years. A few days later, Lindheim submitted a proposal to the mayor and council via an email that addresses all the projects over the next three years. His proposal includes a tax increase that is 20 percent less and involves a one-time increase, rather than relying on promises that after two years the tax will come down, he wrote.
Later in the meeting, the town council voted to approve the proposed new tax rate. A public hearing on the subject will be held during the August town council meeting.
In other action during the meeting, the council approved, on the recommendation of Mayor Erley, the reappointment of Marie Hawkins and Mary Beth Fitzburgh to the Castle Valley Planning and Land Use Commission. Both women are currently on the commission and the action will extend their service for another four years. Also, on the recommendation on Mayor Erley, Merrill Brady and Greg Halliday were appointed to serve on the Road Committee. Halliday resigned as the town’s road manager last month but will continue to be involved with the roads while on the committee. Brady has extensive experience with roads and heavy equipment and has served in this capacity during previous years. The council also hired Jason Matz to the position of road manager replacing Halliday.
The council approved a letter supporting Joe Kingsley and the Moab Rotary Club in their effort to possibly take on the responsibility of the Matrimony Spring project. The organization plans to proceed with their plans but wanted the support of the Town of Castle Valley.