On Agenda for Central City Council
By David Josselyn
The Central City Council met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, October 15th at 7:00pm. All members were present.
The consent agenda included the regular bill lists of October 3rd and 10th and the Council minutes of October 1st and 3rd. There was no discussion, objections or additions. Alderman Gloria Gaines moved to approve the consent agenda and was seconded by Alderman Bob Spain. The motion passed unanimously.
The Feds may not have a budget to vote on, but Central does
Finance director Shannon Flowers presented the 2014 proposed budget for approval. This is a draft of the proposed budget and changes may still be made by council and staff. Approval of the draft will make the budget available to the public. The first reading of a resolution adopting the budget will be on November 5th with the second and final reading on November 19th. Alderman Gaines inquired whether the council would normally have work sessions on the budget from this point to the First Reading. Flowers answered that this is not the case; however, there is time between the First and Second Reading for Council to meet and make adjustments. Alderman Kathy Heider asked if they would take public comment at the time of the First Reading to which Mayor Ron Engels responded that the public will have access to the document if approved tonight and have an opportunity to comment at the First Reading. Mayor Engels then thanked Finance Director Flowers and other members of the staff for the hard work and many hours they put in to draft the 2014 budget. Alderman Voorhies moved to approve the draft of the 2014 Budget with the First Reading on November 5th and was seconded by Alderman Spain. The motion passed unanimously.
Getting flood damage prevention up to code
City Attorney Marcus McAskin introduced Ordinance 13-15 which repeals a section of Municipal code regarding flood damage prevention regulations and replaces that section with verbiage that is consistent with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements and Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) Rules for Regulatory Floodplains in Colorado. The CWCB adopted the new rules in 2011 and allowed a three-year period for communities and municipalities to adopt or amend their regulations to be consistent. The deadline is January 14, 2014. Central City received a notice regarding the deadline in September of 2012. McAskin reminded the Council that these regulations were discussed in a work session in July this year. Mayor Ron Engels said the practical application of adopting this Ordinance allows citizens of Central to get flood insurance at a reduced rate. Alderman Gaines clarified that the language in the correspondence indicated that residents would be billed the regular flood insurance payment, but then a huge surcharge would be added to citizens’ rates if the City does not comply with the new regulations. Alderman Gaines then asked of the City Attorney if there is a reason “why we waited until the last minute” to do this? Marcus McAskin replied that a lot of communities have waited and “you’re not alone in that respect;” the other reason is that McAskin was working with Operations Director Kent Kisselman and when Kent left his position with the City, “it ended up on the back burner.” Alderman Gaines commented that it (the new regulation) has applications to other things than development; parks, right-of-ways, new roads – “it doesn’t all apply strictly to buildings, there are other applications.” Alderman Spain moved to approve the first reading of Ordinance 13-15 and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The motion passed unanimously.
City Manager to handle retail licensing of existing MMJ facilities
City Clerk Reba Bechtel introduced Resolution 13-22. The resolution would give authority to the City Manager to handle and approve retail marijuana licenses by existing medical marijuana facilities. Bechtel said “we have two existing medical facilities that seem likely to apply for retail.” Alderman Gaines stated that the resolution does not seem to apply to existing facilities as it is worded. Attorney McAskin clarified that the Code Section 6-9-220(b) referenced in the resolution refers specifically to existing facilities. Gaines moved to approve Resolution 13-22 and was seconded by Alderman Heider and Alderman Spain simultaneously. The motion passed unanimously.
Staff Updates and Council Comments
City Manager Alan Lanning commented that Gregory is functioning as a 2-way street. “We were able to keep the costs down and I want to thank the crews for their work on that.” We had all hands on deck to get it done. He then informed the Council that “I’ll have a breakdown of those costs in the morning,” Wednesday, October 16th. Alderman Spain noted that the construction crews are working pretty late in the evening and asked “is that to make up ground or is that part of the plan?” Manager Lanning answered it was to make up ground. Alderman Gaines inquired the actuality that in water report, Lawrence Street is closed except to businesses. Utilities Superintendent Shawn Griffith answered that the businesses affected on Lawrence Street do have access and in a few days we should be out of their way.
Alderman Gaines then asked if there is any target date for the Quartz Hill project. The Quartz Hill project is the capping and degrading of the tailings above the ‘T’ lot that are leeching hazardous mining waste into the waters of North Clear Creek. Manager Lanning responded that the pre-bid meetings were last Thursday and they walked the site. “I bet you can count on at least 30 days before bids are awarded, so the end of November will start the clock” on the 100 days. The contractors have 100 days from the time the contract is awarded to finish the job. They will be working through the winter. The terms of the contract included keeping both lanes of Nevada Street open, so it will not be necessary to open access to Virginia Canyon Road from the Parkway.
Shannon Keel, General Manager from the Reserve Casino stood up to give the Council a warning. A rumor has been going around that the bus drivers are talking about not coming up Gregory Street when it snows because it will not be safe. The reference is for the duration of the construction project making Gregory Street 2-way traffic. Shawn Griffith referenced the timing of the project saying, “There are about 38 days of the project left.” Manager Alan Lanning responded to Shannon saying, “We are going to do our best to make sure Gregory Street is traversable – even by buses.”
Ren Goltra, former owner of the commercial buildings on the West side of Main Street including Doc Holiday’s, Harley Hippies, and Mountain Menagerie, next addressed the Council about his retail concerns. Ren first complemented the current administration saying, “The streetscape looks better than it has in a very long time.” He also mentioned that the finances have been handled much better than in the past. Ren then presented his main agenda, “I am concerned about the retail stores on the street. The coffee shop is going out of business.” He then asked, “How important is retail to the city?” and “Should I work hard to get retail or do we say it is a gaming and office town?” Mayor Engels first stated that this is not the appropriate time for a question and answer session and then addressed the issue. “We probably want to sit down with Alan and get a vision, but we do want a diverse economic base and we are trying to figure out how to make it better for retail.” Ren Goltra emphasized the problem informing them that the coffee lady says $100 in a day is a robust day. If that is a robust day, there is a problem. Mayor Engels then encouraged Goltra to “Push on, please.”
Executive Director of the Business Improvement District Joe Behm next stood up to share his comments with the Council. Behm first clarified that the budget is now available for public perusal. Mayor Engels affirmed Behm’s assertion. Joe then gave his thanks to everybody for Gregory Street. “I am really happy we did it – mid-week we saw a lot of cars come through and there would have been serious backups.” He then went on to inform the Council that decorations have been installed on Main Street and “they’re pretty cool.”
The Council briefly adjourned before an Executive Session to discuss specific legal questions and to instruct negotiators concerning pending water rights cases.
The Central City Council will meet again on Tuesday, November 5th at 7 p.m. for a regular meeting.