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Central City approves pay adjustments

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Council meets for regular meeting

By David Josselyn

The Central City Council and City Staff met for a regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, at 7:12 pm. All regular council members were present including Alderman elect Jeff Aiken. Also in attendance for Staff were City Clerk Reba Bechtel, City Manager Daniel Miera, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, Fire Chief Gary Allen, Public Works Director Sam Hoover, Community Development Director Ray Rears, Community Coordinator Zeke Keeler, Utilities Director Jason Nelson, and sitting in for Police Chief Krelle was Officer Patric Stanton.

After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Ron Engels asked for any amendments or additions to the agenda or if any agenda items presented a conflict of interest. There were no proclamations of amendments, additions, or conflicts of interest.

Consent Agenda

The Mayor called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the regular bill lists of February 11; and the City Council minutes of January 5 and 19. Alderman Shirley Voorhies moved to approve the consent agenda and was seconded by Alderman Judy Laratta. Mayor Ron Engels inquired about the credit card processing fee which was fairly substantial and they have no detail. Manager Miera said he could get them the detail. The approval of the consent agenda passed unanimously. Alderman elect Aiken did not vote.

Swearing In

City Attorney Marcus McAskin took the oath of office from Jeff Aiken officially making Aiken an acting Alderman. The audience and sitting Council applauded.

Public Forum

Mayor Engels opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to a topic on that night’s agenda. Executive Director for the Business Improvement District (BID) Joe Behm took this opportunity to address council. Director Behm stated that regarding the agenda item about billboards, the BID is very supportive of the idea and the process being contemplated. Director Behm then suggested they consider a three month rotation so that everybody gets a shot at the choice spots for billboards.

Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority Convenes

Alderman Kathy Heider moved to convene the Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority to consider an application for a retail marijuana business and was seconded by Alderman Laratta. Dustin Kelcher, representing his wife Elsa Kelcher who is named as the applicant, addressed the council. The establishment is named Golden Nugget Dispensary LLC and is located at 127 Main Street. Dustin stated that they are happy to be a part of Central City and excited to be in “such a beautiful building” and be “a part of the Main Street community.”

Mayor Engels noted that their address is in Loveland and questioned why they would choose Central City. Kelcher responded that Central City opened up an opportunity that does not present itself in Loveland.

Mayor Engels next questioned what makes their establishment different than the four existing licenses. A fifth license exists for the now closed Mother Lode Oxygen Bar and Dispensary. Dustin responded that all the other storefronts of local dispensaries are on the cheaper side and their “atmosphere is not as nice as ours.” They aim for a boutique store front with higher end products and atmosphere. They will have clientele from the local community, from the urban areas, and from out of state.

Alderman Heider commented that Police Chief Krelle reported in the past that they have not had any law enforcement issues with the other establishments. Heider asked for an updated report from Officer Stanton. Officer Stanton replied that as of this time, they have not had an increase in crime connected with the marijuana industry and that they do routine walkthroughs of all the establishments.

Alderman Heider asked of the Manager how the business of the established dispensaries has impacted the budget. Manager Miera responded that sales tax from the stores has contributed to a stabilized budget. The last licensee, the Mother Lode Oxygen Bar, never saw much business and did not contribute substantially so their loss was not impactful. Officer Stanton stated that they have done the standard background check for all applicants and everything passed for the Golden Nugget.

Alderman Heider then commented that she sees a few problems with bussing people in and out of the state since it is not legal to carry marijuana across borders or to smoke it in public places. Mayor Engels stated that he does not think this is the wisest business plan, but they are not here to judge the plan, only the requirements for application.

Dustin Kelcher said that with the growing industry, there are now groups that plan vacation packages for people out of state which include hotels, a trip to a grow area near Colorado Springs, and a tour of some dispensaries. Kelcher said that with all Colorado has to offer, “How great would it be to have them come to Central City as part of the rich history” of this state.

Mayor Engels noted that there were no accompanying support letters from the community as other establishments have provided, but did not open the hearing to public comment as they have not done so for any other applicants.

Alderman Heider moved to approve the retail marijuana license for the Golden Nugget Dispensary and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The motion passed unanimously.

Alderman Heider moved to reconvene the regular council meeting and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The motion passed unanimously.

All Rise for the…

Mayor Engels called for Resolution 16-06 which would reappoint David Gloss as the Municipal Judge and set the term and compensation for his services. The Honorable David Gloss was not in attendance this evening so Manager Miera reviewed the resolution and history of the position. This Resolution would only change the duration of the term and not the compensation or any other factors. This is Gloss’ second appointment.

Alderman Voorhies moved to approve Resolution 16-06 and was seconded by Alderman Jeff Aiken. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Black Hawk Plows in Central City

Public Works Director Sam Hoover introduced Resolution 16-07 which would establish an Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Black Hawk for limited snow removal services in Central City. The plows of Black Hawk have been plowing the roads up to the Red Dolly Casino and then turning around in their parking area. This creates an unnecessary hazard and the City of Black Hawk has asked permission for their plows to continue up Lawrence to D Street where they can turn around on Gregory Street for the return trip without causing unnecessary hazards. The Resolution gives Black Hawk plows permission to run that circuit with one condition; that they plow the road as they go. This does not include any materials such as sand or salt, only plowing service.

Mayor Engels voiced his concern that they may leave a berm as they turn onto D and Gregory Streets to which Director Hoover replied that if they do so, he will address that with Black Hawk and they will monitor that.

Alderman Voorhies noted that there is a notable difference in the plowed roads of Central City and Black Hawk. She said that Central always does a good job with the staff they have, but when she hits the Black Hawk line, the roads are dry. Director Hoover explained that the difference lies in the material used. Central uses a thirty percent ice slicer to sand mix whereas Black Hawk uses 100% ice slicer. The mix is more cost effective and Central has eight miles of four-lane road and Black Hawk has less surface area. Manager Miera added that Central has transitioned from a 15% to 30% mix between 2014 to 2016. “We do the best we can with what we have while balancing the needs of the City.

Alderman Aiken stated that “we have different terrain than Black Hawk” and “I think we need more sand up here.” He said the problem is getting enough sand down. “We are a lot hillier than Black Hawk. I think sand is essential for us.”

Alderman Voorhies moved to approve Resolution 16-07 and was seconded by Alderman Laratta. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Council Votes a Pay Increase

Manager Miera introduced Resolution 16-08 which would approve the implementation of a compensation plan for fiscal year 2016. The Resolution establish a margin for compensation based on job description and average market pay for the same position and then compensation of current employees accordingly. During a work session in January, the Council was presented a survey pay rates from other counties and recommendation of action to bring Central’s pay rates into the competitive market. The Resolution is the implementation of that plan adjusted to changes that have occurred in the interim. The acceptable range would be 15% above and below the market average or the mid-point. The implementation is in steps and the first step is for current employees earning less than 85% of the mid-point would have their compensation adjusted up to the 85%. The next step would be to freeze compensation of any employees earning more than 115% of the mid-point. There are currently no Central City employees in that category. The next step would be to look at longevity and work history for an increase closer to the mid-point so that a new hire would not be earning the same as a ten-year veteran employee.

Manager Miera made a point of clarification that his own salary is not included in the plan and he will not benefit from the implementation of the plan.

Alderman Laratta moved to approved Resolution 16-08 and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Billboard Policy Change

Community Development Director Ray Rears introduced Resolution 16-09 which would adopt a new biennial leasing policy for the billboards along the Parkway. For the past nine years, the Reserve Casino Hotel (formerly Fortune Valley Casino) has controlled nine of the ten billboard faces along the Parkway. Their contract ended in December 2015. This Resolution would make available all nine of the billboard faces to any establishment in Central City based on a lottery system. The City will control the tenth face. The pricing for the billboards will remain low so that non-profits and small business would not be priced out of the market. The cost for renting a single billboard face (one side) would be $571.03 per month.

After some discussion regarding Joe Behm’s proposed rotation idea, it was determined and verified by Attorney McAskin that lessors of the billboards could exchange faces with the approval of the City within the two-year term as long as there was no financial impact positive or negative to the City. Billboards could not be sublet to other establishments, however.

Alderman Voorhies moved to approved Resolution 16-09 and was seconded by Alderman Laratta. The Resolution passed unanimously.

It’s a Legal Matter

City Clerk Reba Bechtel introduced Resolution 16-10 would approve an engagement with the law firm of Michow Cox and McAskin, LLP to provide general counsel legal services to the City.

Alderman Heider moved to approve Resolution 16-10 and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Staff Updates and Council Comments

Alderman Voorhies stated that she has received multiple phone calls regarding the condition of Central City’s streets after a snow storm and the condition of the City of Black Hawk. She wishes to continue the discussion to look for other possibilities.

Alderman Voorhies then stated that the rumors have been rampant in the City regarding the status of the Police Department. She exclaimed that “there is no agreement!” Manager Miera also stated that there is no IGA with Black Hawk or Gilpin County regarding the policing of Central City permanently. There are interim IGAs to provide continuous coverage to fill in the gaps where Central City staff cannot do so. Any interim IGA has nothing to do with and could not encompass the dismantling of the current police department.

Executive Session

Alderman Heider moved to enter into Executive Session at 8:56 pm and was seconded by Alderman Laratta. The motion passed unanimously.

Mark your calendars

The next regular Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 1, at 7:00 pm.

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