Two Long-Tenured City Employees to Retire

Community Development’s Community Services Manager Kathy Portner and Utilities’ Wastewater Services Manager Dan Tonello have both announced plans to retire from the City of Grand Junction after long and successful careers. The two have collectively served the Grand Junction community for more than 67 years.

dan-tonello.jpgTonello joined the Utilities Department’s Persigo Wastewater Treatment Facility in 1984 as a Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator 1. He promoted up through the organization over the course of his career and became the Manager of Wastewater Services in 2004. Under Dan’s leadership, Persigo has undergone many improvements and changes including the notable completion of the biogas project which allows methane gas produced at the Persigo Wastewater Treatment Facility to be used as fuel for City fleet vehicles. The project received international attention, coverage on the National Geographic channel, and is believed to be the only one of its kind in the United States. Dan served as the interim Utilities Director in 2017.

On looking back over his career, Dan said, “As Manager of the Wastewater Division, I have been given the opportunity to promote the advancement of many employees within the department. I have enjoyed being a mentor and helping many staff members attain their goals. We have been very successful in being a leader in our industry through the implementation of many new and innovative processes. I will miss the people that I have had the honor to work with.”

KathyPortnerPortner joined the Community Development Department (referred to as Planning at the time) in 1985. She joined the organization as a Planning Technician 1 and promoted up through the organization and attained the position of Planning Manager in 1999. Kathy has served as the Interim Community Development Director on three separate occasions since 2000. She has been instrumental in a number of notable community planning projects and has proven to be an invaluable resource in the oversight of grant opportunities and has been instrumental in the City securing millions of dollars in grant funding for numerous projects across all City departments.

Kathy noted, “It has been a privilege and an honor to have spent most of my career with the City of Grand Junction and to work with the dedicated, professional staff and wonderful community. On my first day of work, over 30 years ago, I tried to find my way to the banks of the Colorado River to have lunch and quickly found there was no public access. It’s satisfying to see all the amazing work that’s been done on the Riverfront, as well as throughout the City, and to have had the opportunity to be a part of it in some small way.”

Tonello’s retirement will become effective December 14, and Portner will follow in spring 2019.

Contact:  Sam Rainguet, Communications Manager   970-244-1507 or

City of Grand Junction Recognized as a Certified Healthy Workplace Leader

health workplace logoThe City of Grand Junction has been officially recognized as a 2019 Certified Healthy Workplace™ Leader for our commitment to workplace health and safety. This honor was awarded by Health Links™, a nonprofit program of the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health.

City Manager Greg Caton states, “This is an honor for our organization to receive this designation and it really speaks to the hard work our Human Resources personnel, as well as our employees, have put into making health and wellness a priority. Wellness is such an important workplace foundation because not only does it touch employee health, it also affects productivity and morale, which in turn impacts our success in providing customer service to the community. This is a designation all City employees can take pride in.”

The City was recognized for the overall wellness package that is provided to our employees, which includes upper leadership support of a healthy workplace/wellness, resources dedicated to wellness programming (nutrition, mental health, physical activity, stress management, biometric screening, incentives), employee health benefits, and a highly motivated wellness committee that has worked with individual work groups to create a healthy workplace culture.

The City’s wellness program is offered to all City employees including full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. Employees are embracing the power of wellness and have done a number of creative things to make the wellness program meaningful to their individual work groups. Activities have included sponsoring a blood drive, a water challenge, ‘Get up and Move’ challenge, a hiking group, an advanced directives class, chair massages, on site yoga classes and a “Maintain not Gain” holiday challenge.

The Certified Healthy Workplace Leader designation is the highest level of recognition offered by Health Links; awarded only to organizations that have continually demonstrated the highest level of commitment and dedicated resources to team member and community health and safety.

Recognition as a Healthy Workplace is based on an organization’s score on Health Links’ Healthy Workplace Assessment™, an evidence-based online questionnaire. Health Links not only offers an assessment, they also provide personalized advising and access to proven resources to help organizations and their teams champion health and safety.

About Health Links

Health Links™ is a mentoring program that champions health and safety at work. We offer evidence-based Healthy Workplace Certification and advising to help organizations and their team members achieve Total Worker Health®.  As a nonprofit based in the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health, our deep experience as researchers and industry trailblazers informs everything we do for you.

Contact:  Sam Rainguet, Communications Manager   970-244-1507 or

Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2018 Champion of the Arts Awards

Each year, the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture invites nominations for the annual Champion of the Arts Awards. This year, two individuals were selected because of their leadership, generosity, and dedication to arts and culture, and were recognized at The Grand Junction Centennial Band‘s Christmas Concert at The Avalon Theatre on Sunday, December 9th.

The first recipient, Lancer Livermont, was nominated by Robbie Breaux. Lancer is the board president at Western Colorado Center for the Arts as well as a MusicSpark board member. He previously served on the Commission on Arts and Culture, volunteered in several other capacities over the years, and is a great attribute to our community. He describes himself as a “man of few words” but he nevertheless works tirelessly to speak up for culture in the Grand Valley. He received Warm Glow by Joan Anderson as his Champion of the Arts Award.

The second recipient actively and financially supports art and culture organizations around the valley, including Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, Riverside Educational Center, and the Museums of Western Colorado. He serves on several boards including the EUREKA McConnell Science Museum, Greater Grand Junction Sports Commission, Colorado Trust and the Delta Dental Foundation of Colorado. We thank John Hopkins for valuing the importance of art and culture in our community! He was nominated by Jen Moore and he received Holiday Night by Jim Hutton.

The Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture is appointed by City Council and serves to cultivate an environment where arts and culture can thrive and grow.

For more information, contact Lorie Gregor at 970-254-3876 or

Projects Affecting Traffic for the Week of 12/9/18

city of grand junction public works projects 4

City of Grand Junction Projects with Travel Restrictions

Horizon Drive Crosswalks Project, from G Road to I-70

  • Expect lane closures between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm
  • All business access will be provided
  • Anticipated completion – late January.

F ½ Road Closure West of 31 Road – Lewis Wash Bridge Replacement Project

  • F ½ Road will be closed to through traffic between 30 Road and 31 Road, 24/7
  • Detour route will be in place
  • Residents living west of Lewis Wash and Thunder Mountain Elementary School traffic use 30 Road
  • Residents living east of Lewis Wash including Allegheny Drive use 31 Road
  • Anticipated completion – mid-April.

Leaf Removal Program 

  • City wide leaf pick-up began Monday, October 15
  • Please slow down in neighborhoods where crews are working
  • Traffic delays can be expected
  • Anticipated completion – mid-December (weather permitting).

Sewer and Water Line Replacement Project – 28 ¼ Road between Orchard Avenue and Brittany Avenue

  • Expect lane shifts and delays
  • Anticipated completion – early December (weather permitting).

Sewer Line Repair Project – Grand Mesa Avenue Between Hwy 50 and Canon Avenue

  • Possible street closure with detour in place
  • Alternate route advised
  • Resident access will be maintained
  • Anticipated completion – early December (weather permitting).

North Avenue Median Renovation Project – Median work between 15th Street and 29 Road

  • There will be single-lane traffic in both directions, short delays can be expected
  • Work hours will be from 8:30 am until 4:00 pm Monday thru Friday
  • All business access will remain open
  • Anticipated Completion – late December.

Non-City of Grand Junction Projects with Travel Restrictions – This list reflects only the projects of which we have been notified.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Ramp Improvement Project – CDOT Project

  • Crews will be working at the following 3 locations this week: Broadway (CO 340)/Rice Street, I-70 off and on ramps at 24 Road, and 13th Street at Ute Avenue
  • Watch for workers and please slow down
  • No major traffic impacts expected
  • For additional information email or call 970-620-8686
  • Anticipated completion March 2019.

25¾ Road and Patterson Road Tree Removal – Private development project

  • Sunday, December 9 only, between the hours of 7 am and 12 noon
  • Westbound Patterson Road between 26 Road and 25 ½ Road will be single-lane traffic with possible short delays.

Contact:  Sam Rainguet, Communications Manager   970-244-1507 or

$40,000 Arts and Cultural Grant Funding Available

By approving the 2019 budget, City Council has allocated $40,000 towards Art and Culture grant funding in the coming year! The Art Grant program is managed by the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture. Grant money is available to Colorado non-profit agencies for arts and cultural projects that are held in Mesa County. The grant process opens December 7th and closes February 1st at 12:00 p.m. To assist agencies in the application process, two identical trainings will be held at the Parks and Recreation Office, 1340 Gunnison Ave. on December 11th at 10:00 a.m. or January 9th at 3:00 p.m. To register, call 970-254-3876 or email

Last year’s grant program funded projects such as the Arts and Entertainment Calendar on KAFM, Downtown Arts Festival, Two Rivers Chautauqua, Culture Fest, Rocky Mountain PBS Arts District, the Veterans Day Art Extravaganza, and many more. A total of 18 agencies received a total of $40,000 in funding. All of these projects serve to enhance the community in which we live. The Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture is an eleven-member board, appointed by the City Council to foster cultural development and arts activities in the community.

To learn more about the 2019 Art and Cultural grant funding and get the paperwork, please visit the website at and click on the grants tab.

For questions or more information, please contact Lorie Gregor at 970-254-3876 or

City Council to Vote on Adoption of $178.5 Million Budget Following Wednesday Public Hearing

Budget.jpgOver the course of the last few months, City Council has been in the process of reviewing the Recommended 2019 Budget with the final public hearing and adoption vote scheduled for December 5. In total, there have been six public meetings on the budget including meeting with citizens in July at the beginning of the budget process.

The 2019 recommended spending budget has been developed with an emphasis on the four Strategic Plan fundamentals of:

  • Public safety
  • Planning and infrastructure
  • Diversification of the economic base
  • Communication, outreach and engagement

These are built upon the guiding principles of partnerships and intergovernmental relationships, and fiscal responsibility. The City’s Strategic Plan can be found here.

The City of Grand Junction is a full-service organization with over 35 distinct types of operations including:

  • Emergency medical services, wildland fire fighting, 911 dispatch, police patrol, investigations, bomb squad, SWAT
  • Parks, pools, trails, sports facilities, recreation programs
  • Streets, engineering, construction, trash collection
  • Water service, sewer service, golf, conference center, performance venues
  • Destination marketing, legal, accounting, human resource management

As a service provider the City’s largest expense is labor with 653 full-time employees. The majority of these employees are in public safety operations serving the community 24 hours per day, every day.

The Recommended 2019 Budget reflects an increase of $12.6 million or 7.6% over 2018. The primary areas of increase include:

  • New positions; employee wage adjustments of 3.5%; and a health insurance increase of 10%
  • Lodging Tax increase; addition of the lodging tax increase authorized by voters November 6, 2018 for promotion and marketing of travel and tourism-related activities including sports-related tourism. This funding will be allocated to Visit Grand Junction, Grand Junction Air Alliance, and the Greater Grand Junction Sports Commission
  • Completion of major capital projects including upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant and collection systems; the water supply, treatment and distribution systems; and completion of the 1.5-mile Monument Road Trail
  • Increasing costs of operating expenses including fuel and technology improvements
  • Continuation of funding replacement or purchase of new operating equipment and fleet including the addition of a tenth ambulance and a new brush engine for Wildland Fire Team deployment
  • A projected ending General Fund balance of $26.9 million which is $8.7 million above or a 48% increase in fund balance projected in adopted 2018 budget.

Specific 2019 Recommended Budget highlights:

  • Continue our investment in maintenance and reconstruction of existing street infrastructure; $6.2 million (partially funded by dollars approved by voters in spring 2017)
  • Completion of major economic development projects in partnership with the Downtown Development Authority and private industry including $1.7 million for a Las Colonias Park river recreation amenity and $9 million in improvements to Two Rivers Convention Center
  • Implement a partnership with CMU to employ 11 students in part-time/intern positions (this program has begun with smaller numbers in 2018 and is recommended to increase in 2019)
  • Begin development of the Riverfront at Dos Rios; $1.1 million, including the Greenway at Dos Rios funded largely by grants
  • Construction of 1.5-mile Monument Trail Road; $2.5 million
  • Add 19 new positions including nine in public safety, and eight in planning and infrastructure including a special projects team to address shortages in seasonal labor
  • Continue support and operation of the Visit Grand Junction destination marketing department, including new revenues that will be generated from the voter-approved increased lodging tax; $2.9 million

City Manager Greg Caton states, “This Recommended Budget is in direct alignment with City Council’s adopted Strategic Plan, which makes it a strong roadmap for our organization moving into the future. Staff has worked extremely hard with me over several months to develop a Recommended Budget that is based on a combination of the community’s current needs and desires as well as some more strategic efforts that will help to strengthen our local economy into the future.”

The final public hearing on the 2019 Recommended Budget will be held at the December 5 City Council meeting after which City Council will vote on adoption of the budget.
Access to all 2019 Recommended Budget documents can be found
on the City’s website.  
The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in
the Grand Junction City Hall Auditorium and public comment is encouraged.

Contact:  Sam Rainguet, Communications Manager       970-244-1507 or 

Join the City Manager and the Chiefs for a Cup of Coffee

December 2018.jpg

Grand Junction City Manager Greg Caton is hosting a series of informal coffees to interact with community members, gather feedback on City programs and services, and to answer questions.

The next coffee is scheduled for Friday, December 14 at Monument Village Coffee, 2148 Broadway, at 9:30 a.m. The City Manager will be joined this time by Fire Chief Ken Watkins and Police Chief Doug Shoemaker.

The sessions are open to the public and are an unstructured, drop-in format. More details here:

Contact:  Sam Rainguet, Communications Manager       970-244-1507 or