Central City Council at odds over fresh fruit

Budgetary Magic for Fire Department Bubble Building

By David Josselyn

Work Session

The Central City Council met with Staff on February 6, 2018 for a work session prior to the regular council meeting. The Council heard a presentation from Live Well Colorado and discussed the “in-lieu of” parking fees that were tabled from an earlier meeting.

Julie George of Live Well Colorado gave a presentation about Live Well Colorado and the programs they offer. Live Well Colorado is the sponsor for the Double-Up Food Bucks program which doubles Food Stamp dollars at participating farmers markets across Colorado. They also partner with Kaiser Permanente for the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) policies supporting cities and towns. Gilpin County is in a food desert. There are no grocery stores in the County other than convenience stores and gas stations. George gave several examples of what other municipalities are doing in the program including using grant money to run a food van program bringing fresh produce to the town of Arvada on a regular basis. Mayor Heider expressed her preference that City Staff focus their efforts on economic security so that the City can bring in an actual grocery store in the future. Adding another program for Staff to run would continue to stretch their priorities and resources. Alderwoman Laratta agreed with the Mayor. Manager Miera stated that the burden of ensuring his staff remain on task based on Council direction is his. There would be no additional cost to the City. Any food program would be run by the “Vista person.” Alderman Aiken said that he would not be opposed if there was no additional cost.

A study has been done to calculate the cost of building and maintaining new parking spaces in the City. The Walker Study concluded that the cost in 2017 of adding parking would be $30,180 per structured space. Businesses could be charged 10% of that cost annually in-lieu of available spaces, or $3,018 per year. When the in-lieu fees were discussed for the 2018 budget, there was considerable discussion regarding the ethics of charging a new business using an old building for parking that was previously established. Due to the concerns, the matter was tabled and Director Rears is bringing the Council some revised options to consider including a small business exemption that meet certain criteria. Alderwoman Bell expressed disdain that one of those criteria is that the square footage, 1,500 square feet, for the exemption would eliminate just about every small business, including hers, from the exemption. Bell negotiated for a more lenient size restriction such as 2,500 square feet. Alderman Aiken recognized the need for impact fees, but stated that they should not charge for fill-in businesses (business that moves into a vacant retail space) unless they create additional residential units (apartments) that would necessitate additional parking.

Regular Council Meeting

The Central City Regular Council Meeting of Tuesday, February 6, convened at 7:16 pm in City Hall Council Chambers. Council members; Jeff Aiken, Mary Bell, Judy Laratta, Shirley Voorhies, and Mayor Kathy Heider were present. In attendance for Staff were City Clerk Reba Bechtel, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, City Manager Daniel Miera, Community Development Director Ray Rears, Public Works Director Sam Hoover, Utilities Director Jason Nelson, Fire Chief Gary Allen, and County Sheriff Captain Tom Ihme.

Mayor Heider led the Pledge of Allegiance and then asked for any amendments or additions to the evening’s agenda. An amendment was made that changed the meeting minutes in the Consent Agenda from December 19 to January 16.

Consent Agenda

The Mayor called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the minutes from the January 16 meeting and regular bill lists through January 26. Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the Consent Agenda and was seconded by Alderman Aiken. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

Mayor Heider opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to a topic on that night’s agenda. No one chose to speak to the Council at this time.

Budgetary Magic for Bubble Building

Manager Miera introduced Resolution 18-05 which would amend the 2018 Budget with a supplemental appropriation to assist with the building of a new membrane (bubble) building to house the Central City Fire Department apparatus and equipment. This recognizes anticipated revenue for the project and anticipated expenditures that were not included in the 2018 Budget. Since the amount in and out is a wash, it would not change the bottom line. No one chose to speak to the Council regarding this issue.

Alderwoman Voorhies moved to approve Resolution 18-05 and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Financing the Bubble

Attorney McAskin reviewed the second reading of Ordinance 18-01 which would approve a lease purchase agreement with Prime Capital to allow the city to acquire and erect the Bubble Building. The lease has a 10-year repayment plan and should the City fail to pay, the company can remove the building. The total cost for the project is estimated at $450 thousand and there is no pre-payment penalty. No one chose to speak to the council on this Ordinance.

Alderman Aiken moved to approve the second reading of Ordinance 18-01 and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The Ordinance passed unanimously.

Live Well Given Life

Director Rears introduced Resolution 18-06 which would confirm the City’s commitment to obesity prevention and the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles. This would approve a cooperative program with Live Well Colorado in their HEAL Cities and Towns Campaign and allow the City to apply for a grant to bring fresh produce to the City. Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 18-06 and was seconded by Alderwoman Bell. The Resolution passed three to two with Mayor Heider and Alderwoman Voorhies voting against.

Staff Reports

  The Council was presented with Staff Reports in their packets and there was no further discussion during the meeting.

Council Comments

Mayor Heider corrected information from the State of the City addressed as published in the Weekly Register-Call and she has written a letter to the paper giving credit to all who worked on the presentation and made the City greater. Heider said she was given way too much credit in the original article.

Public Forum

Mayor Heider opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to the council on any items not on the agenda. One person signed up to address the Council.

David Josselyn, president of the Gilpin County Arts Association, spoke to the council and informed them of the Arts Board intended uses for Washington Hall now that it has heat. They will have a House (Gallery) Warming Party on Saturday, April 21, with a snow date the following Saturday, April 28. The party will feature historical presentations about Washington Hall. There will be a 4th grade historical tour in the month of May followed by the grand opening of the annual juried show. The regular season runs through September with the juried show followed by the members show. In October, the Association will partner with Main Street Central City and the Historical Association and use the hall for a haunted house. They will elicit help from teenagers in the community to make it happen. Following this, they will host a holiday art sale through the end of the year. The President stated the Board is very excited to be a part of the community year-round and thanked the City and Staff for helping to make that happen.

Mark your calendars

The Council at 7:37 pm moved to enter Executive Session regarding the potential ease of City-owned property and to discuss legal questions related to a Notice of Claim submitted to the City on January 26, 2018. The regular meeting was adjourned immediately following. The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

About Aaron Storms

Publisher & Managing Editor Weekly Register-Call
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