Castle Valley Comments
May 15, 2014
by Ron Drake
May 15, 2014 | 1094 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The entrance into Castle Valley as it appeared 30 years ago. Courtesy photo
The entrance into Castle Valley as it appeared 30 years ago. Courtesy photo
The Castle Valley roads have historically been the major drain of our property owner’s dues when the Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owner’s Association was in force, and now that the town is collecting taxes, the roads continue to be the largest budget item.

At the last Castle Valley Town Council meeting, Mayor Dave Erley said that the town’s road budget was $51,000, but he would like to propose a budget of $68,500 for the 2015 fiscal year in order to cover the increased costs associated with maintaining the roads and leasing new equipment. The current road costs are exceeding the budgeted amount because of the cost of maintaining and repairing the antiquated equipment that the town currently owns. He proposed that the town lease a new grader and backhoe so most of the maintenance and repairs would be included in the price and provide a stable and fixed cost and avoid most of the unpredictable repair costs.

To cover the increased road budget and other anticipated costs to the town, Mayor Erley discussed with the town council the idea of temporarily doubling Castle Valley’s tax rate for two years, set the taxes at a little less than double the third year then settle on a $180,000 town budget thereafter. The current tax rate for Castle Valley is 0.001064 or about 10.6 percent of the total Grand County real property tax. Personally, my property tax to the Town of Castle Valley amounted to $141.52 so if the proposed tax were to double, my tax for the town would raise $142 to about $283.04 for the years of the tax increase. Some property taxes would be lower or higher depending on the value of their real property.

In addition to the equipment issue, Mayor Erley said that the town needs to continue paying $10,000 per year into a fund for the eventual repaving of Castle Valley Drive, and put $15,000 per year toward the replacement of the culvert that allows Castle Creek to pass under Castle Valley Drive. The town council plans to apply for a grant from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB) for a replacement structure, and the money saved for that purpose would show good faith toward the expensive project. The town is also facing additional expensive costs for water and other projects.

Castle Valley Drive was the topic of conversation 35 years ago this week when the property owners association board discussed turning the road over to the county. Grand County Assessor Norma Stocks was asked to attend the meeting and answer questions about whether such a move would raise our local taxes. Stocks told the group that taxes would be affected very little, as the extra costs would be absorbed by the whole county. Several months previous to this meeting, board member Walter Cluff initiated a drive to dedicate Castle Valley Drive to the county but concerns were expressed by some board members and residents about the increase in taxes if this were to be done. They drafted a letter listing the pros and cons of the proposal to be sent out to all property owners to be voted on before it was presented to the county for consideration.

In other road business during that meeting years ago, board chairman Hershel Nokes told the gathering that Shafer Lane would be closed at the end of the road where it goes through private property. Shafer Lane had been used as an alternate exit out of the valley when Castle Valley Drive was impassable at the creek because of muddy conditions or a washout of the road. Shafer Lane is still closed to this day to vehicular traffic, but last year the town and the fire department were able to obtain a legal easement through the private properties for fires and other emergencies. The road was upgraded and graveled with a gate at each end and was named Willoughby Way in honor of the late Richard Willoughby whose property is part of the easement.

Thirty years ago this week, the community still had control over Castle Valley Drive, and at the POA meeting it was announced that the grading work, which was completed by a private contractor, cost the community $5,000. The community was also looking at paying $75 to repaint a sign at the entrance to the community. There used to be a large sign that went across the road at the entrance that read “Castle Valley River Ranchos.” A few weeks previous to this meeting, a vandal, apparently wanting to retain the anonymity of the valley, painted over the sign with brown paint. The sign remained that way for nine years without being repainted and the wooden structure was taken down in July 1993, when it was deemed a liability.

During the meeting of the Grand County Council in July, 1993, 14 years after the subject was first discussed, Castle Valley Drive was accepted into their class B road system. The Grand County Road Department immediately began spreading gravel in preparation for a chip seal of the road later that summer. In 2009, the town agreed to accept Castle Valley Drive back into its road system.

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