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Black Hawk streamlines municipal court procedures and police services

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Dory Hill water plant, casino celebrations, Bobtail liquor store

By Lynn Volkens

Black Hawk Mayor David Spellman and City Council members Linda Armbright, Paul Bennett, Diane Cales, Jim Johnson, Greg Moates and Benito Torres met the afternoon of June 12, 2013 for their regularly scheduled City Council meeting. They amended the 2013 budget, moved forward on the new Dory Hill Water Treatment Plant, approved a liquor store license and several licensing agreements and, at the request of the Police Department, agreed to eliminate some of the courtesy services provided by police officers and staff.

Budget Amendment

  The Aldermen adopted Resolution 27-2013 amending the 2013 budget to account for the following changes:

Total General Fund Expense Revisions = $47,500. $7,500 of the amount is for sign code consulting; the remainder was rolled over for Public Works projects begun in 2012.

Total Preservation Fund Expense Revisions= $933,930. $81,430 went to Xcel to settle an issue with street lighting; $400,000 for the Church Street rock wall; $400,000 for burying utility lines on Selak and Gregory Streets; and $52,500 for Mountain City sidewalk replacement.

Total Capital Fund Revenue Revisions= $164,000- grant funding rolled over from 2012.

Total Capital Fund Expense Revisions= $2,798,000. $2,575,000 of this amount is a roll-over for the new Public Works facility begun in 2012; $205,000-rolled over from 2012 for a bus purchase; $8,000 for a Public Works truck; and $10,000 for firefighting equipment.

Total Water Fund Expense Revisions= $400,000-for generators.

Bobtail Cocktail

  Michael and David Patterson, equal partners in Bobtail Cocktail, Incorporated, a new liquor store that will be operated in conjunction with their current Bobtail Corner Store located at 380 Gregory Street, applied for their retail liquor license. The community (the entire City of Black Hawk) had been surveyed, resulting in a petition signed by 54 community members urging the Council to act in issuing the license. The Council approved the license, conditioned on the applicants completing the required site development plan.

Violations Bureau Created

In approving Council Bill 32, the Aldermen created a Violations Bureau of the Municipal Court and authorized it to issue penalty assessment notices related to certain minor traffic violations. Ticketed parties will be able to plead guilty, negotiate a reduction in points and make payment, all via mail, eliminating the need to appear in court. Cases that cannot be handled by the Violations Bureau include those resulting in an accident causing personal injury, death or appreciable damage to property; reckless driving; exceeding the speed limit by more than 19 mph; exhibition of speed/speed contest; compulsory insurance; and offenses in which the person charged is under the age of 18. Any party charged may still opt to have his/her case heard by the court.

201 Chase Street

  The Aldermen adopted Resolution 20-2013, approving a Certificate of Appropriateness for site work needed for rehabilitation of the home at 201 Chase Street. The 1870’s era “Second Empire” style home (the only one of its kind in Black Hawk) was purchased by the City to use as housing for the City Manager. Changes from the original design plan, addressed in this resolution, include: installation of three flagstone patios on the upper terraces; wood mulch areas in front of the porch, grass seed and plants for the terraces; installation of stairs on the east side of the home to access terraces; construction of a new stone wall; installation of a concrete wall; metal fencing atop a stone wall; and installation of a concrete walkway and patio in a color that is complementary to historical accuracy or nature.

231 Horn Street

  Bill and Dixie Lovingier, owners of the property at 231 Horn Street requested and received, paying the sum of $10, a Roadway Easement Agreement with the City. A portion of their property encroaches onto Horn Street and the easement agreement allows the Lovingier’s continued access/use of that portion.

Saratoga Casino Signs

   Three blade signs for the Saratoga Casino (formerly Fitzgerald’s) will encroach into the City’s public right-of-way on Main and Gregory Streets. The Aldermen approved a license agreement with Kings, Queens and Jacks, LLC, Saratoga’s mother company, to allow the signs.

Saratoga Use of City Gazebo

  The Aldermen ratified a telephone poll taken May 30th, approving an agreement with Kings, Queens and Jacks, LLC, for Saratoga Casino to use the City’s gazebo for a special event on June 27th.

Mardi Gras Casino Grand Opening

  The Golden Mardi Gras Casino has scheduled its Grand Opening for August 3, 2013. The Aldermen approved a license agreement with Mardi Gras mother company, Affinity Gaming, to temporarily expand their liquor license premises to include an outside area along Main Street from the hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. That area will be cordoned off and guests will be allowed to have their alcoholic drinks there. The open container law prohibits them from venturing beyond that area with their drinks.

Dory Hill Water Treatment Plant

The Aldermen committed to purchase a filtration membrane needed at the Dory Hill Water Treatment facility at a cost of $834,000. The new treatment plant is currently just in the design phase, however choosing the filtration membrane early is key to the process because the type and size of filter selected will determine the type of piping and other equipment needed down the line. The City solicited proposals and received three. Pall Corporation was selected as the supplier, and has agreed to lock in the price until April 2014.

Market Study

  $55,000 is the amount the Aldermen agreed to pay to Innovation, contracted to complete a market study for the City.

Police Services Streamlined

  Black Hawk Police Chief Steve Cole told the Council that eliminating some non-essential services would save the department money and improve efficiency. There are individuals who visit the police department to obtain court-ordered Portable Breath Tests. Eliminating that service would save the department 68 staff hours per year. Eliminating reports for minor vehicle accidents that occur on private property would save 60 staff hours per year. Citizens can handle insurance reporting requirements via the Colorado State Patrol’s website, Cole said. Eliminating counterfeit currency reports, except when there is suspicious activity or multiple bills involved, would save 128 staff hours per year. Counterfeit bills are mainly found by the casinos, often in the count rooms, and there are no suspects. Such finds can be handled directly with the Secret Service. Casinos also find prescription medications, marijuana and paraphernalia left behind in hotel rooms, often in minor amounts. Casino security personnel can take the medication directly to Gilpin Ambulance for disposal and save the police department 128 staff hours a year. The police department would continue to do reports on illegal drugs and weapons. Finally, eliminating lockout service (unlocking cars for citizens in non-emergency situations), would save the department 188 staff hours per year. Currently, the department is providing approximately 400 lock-out rescues per year. Security officers at the casinos could provide this service for their guests, Cole said, or call a tow service to provide it. He suggested the police department continue the service only in emergency situations as well as anytime for Black Hawk residents.

The Aldermen approved eliminating these services from the police department’s duties with the exception of the lock-out service. That service was considered by the Council to be good public relations for the City. “We do get accolades from people whenever we do this for them,” Cole said. The Council directed the Chief to encourage casino security to take on lock-out service and to help instruct them in using the tools to do it. “We will always do this (lock-out service) for residents,” City Manager Jack Lewis said. Black Hawk will continue to provide the lock-out service for visitors as well, for a time, and then look at it again at budget time.

Attorney’s Update

  City Attorney Corey Hoffmann informed the Council that Brannan Sand & Gravel had filed a request for the Colorado Supreme Court to review the decision by the Court of Appeals to dismiss the case involving Gilpin County’s 2008 denial of a special use permit for Brannan to open a gravel quarry in south-Gilpin. Black Hawk became part of that case, siding with the County. “They’re taking it to the very last step,” Hoffmann said, adding that if the Supreme Court declines to hear the case “It’s done.”

Senate Bill 25, which relates to firefighters and collective bargaining, won’t affect Black Hawk, Hoffmann told the Council, as Black Hawk has fewer than 25 firefighters. The City will meet and confer with firefighters on issues other than collective bargaining.

Fireworks Still Planned

  City Manager Lewis announced that Gilpin County had just gone to Level 1 fire restrictions, which bans fireworks. The City is still planning on being able to do the annual Boomtown Fireworks Display, but “I’m giving you a heads up, just in case,” Lewis advised.

Executive Session

  Following the business meeting, the Aldermen met with their attorney in Executive Session regarding matters related to the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of real, personal or other property; to determine positions relative to matters potentially subject to negotiations; and to confer with Hoffmann about an Open Records Act issue and an issue related to an existing contract. The Council took no further action.

Heads Up

  Black Hawk City Council meets next on June 26, 2013.

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