Black Hawk voters will decide on device fee increase, debt increase and City Council health benefits

Special election November 5, 2013

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 August 28, 2013 for their regularly scheduled Council meeting.

221 Church Street-Historic School

The Aldermen approved a Certificate of Appropriateness to rehabilitate the exterior of the City-owned historic school building, and a shed, at 221 Church Street. The building dates from 1870 and currently houses the Black Hawk Police Department. Moisture and general weathering have caused the siding boards to cup and the trim to deteriorate. The plan is to replace the windows and front door, repair or replace siding, replace the roof and gutters, re-paint the structure, and install a snow-melt system. The siding of the shed will also be repaired or replaced and painted to match the school building. Before proceeding the final design must be approved by several parties, including the City’s preservation specialists, architect and Planning Department.

November Election

  The City will put several issues to the voters in a special election on November 5, 2013, including whether to raise the device fee, currently $700 per device. With the Council’s approval, the following ballot questions will be submitted:

  1. Shall City of Black Hawk taxes be increased by      up to $2,600,000 annually in the first full fiscal year (2014), and by      whatever additional amounts are raised annually thereafter by increasing      the rate of the device tax levied by the City by up to $300 per device      (which tax rate may fluctuate from time to time as determined by the      Council so long as it does not exceed $300) to be used for any lawful      purpose of the City including, but not limited to, funding capital      improvement projects, economic development projects, debt service and core      city services?
  2. Shall the City of Black Hawk debt be increased      up to $22,000,000, with a maximum repayment cost of not to exceed  $50,000,000, with the proceeds of such      debt to be used for the purpose of financing all or any part of the costs      acquiring, constructing or installing the following:
  • Water Rights Acquisition;
  • A Water Treatment Plant;
  • Water Line Improvements;
  • Recreational Facilities On and Adjacent to      Maryland Mountain; and
  • Street and related infrastructure improvements      on Gregory Street;

And shall such debt be paid from all or any portion of the City’s device tax revenues (as determined by the City Council)  and be sold in one series or more at a price above, below or equal to the principal amount of such debt and on such terms and conditions as the City may determine, including provisions for redemption of the debt prior to maturity with or without payment of premium; and shall the City be authorized to issue debt to refund the debt authorized in this question, provided that after the issuance of such refunding debt the total outstanding principal amount of all debt issued pursuant to this question does not exceed the maximum principal amount set forth above, and provided further that all debt issued by the City pursuant to this question is issued on terms that do not exceed  the repayment costs authorized in this question?

  1. Shall the incumbent members of the City Council      of the City of Black Hawk, Colorado, which include the current Mayor and      members of the Board of Aldermen, be entitled to participate in the City      of Black Hawk retirement program benefits including the City’s 401a and      457 programs in the same manner as afforded to full time employees of the      City of Black Hawk, or shall they in the alternative be entitled to      receive the cash equivalent of such benefit which cash equivalent shall      not exceed the highest percentage which could be paid by the City to a      full time employee, and which Council compensation upon which the      percentage is based consists of a stipend and the value of the health      insurance benefit provided to such incumbent members of the City Council?

Partially Coordinated Election

  The Aldermen ratified an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the City of Black Hawk and the Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder to have the Clerk coordinate the ordering and completeness certification of the City’s ballot issue notices and the mailing of the ballot issue notice packet as specified by statute. All other aspects of the special election will be conducted solely by the City of Black Hawk.

Holiday Decorations

  Alpine Artisan Studios, the contractor that has refurbished, cleaned, installed, provided weekly maintenance, removed and inventoried the City’s annual holiday decorations for the past three years, was awarded the contract to do the same this year. The City will add more streetlight garlands this year, plus a new 28-snowflake display on the wall above the post office and commercial buildings on Highway 119. The City’s extensive collection of decorations is to be turned on the weekend following Thanksgiving. The price of the contract with Alpine is not to exceed $145,000.

Fireworks Experiment

  The City is exploring the possibility of expanding the Fourth of July fireworks display by launching fireworks from Miners Mesa in addition to the launch site on the Casey. On Saturday, August 30th, Western Enterprises, Black Hawk’s pyrotechnics contractor, launched 10-12 shells from the top of Miners Mesa as a test to see how a fireworks display launched from that site would look around the City. There was no warning of the launch and folks on the street may have been startled to hear the distant “whump” as the shells rocketed skyward, combusting in an explosion of colored sparks. However, there were few people on the streets, thanks to a rain-soaked Labor Day weekend. The City will evaluate the tests and decide later whether to incorporate the Mesa as an additional launch site.

Public Comment

  Cindy Linker, owner of the 301 and 311 Chase Street properties, asked the Council if they would consider a garage application for the two lots adjacent to the Chase Street properties, if the Linkers were to purchase those lots. The Linkers wanted to know if the garage would be a possibility before they purchased the lots and hired an architect. Mayor Spellman said the City encourages off-street parking and that having homes with garages is an asset. The rest of the Council agreed.

Executive Session

  Following the business meeting, the Aldermen met with City Attorney Corey Hoffmann to discuss matters related to pending litigation and possible negotiation. The Council took no further action.

Heads Up

  Black Hawk City Council meets next on September 11, 2013.

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