By David Josselyn
The Central City Council and staff met for their first regular council meeting of 2015 on Tuesday, January 6. All members of Council were present along with City Clerk Reba Bechtel, Public Services Director Shawn Griffith, City Manager Daniel Miera, Interim Finance Director Whitney Blake, Police Chief Terry Krelle, Fire Chief Gary Allen, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, and Alderman Elect Judy Laratta. The meeting was called to order at 6:00pm and immediately went into executive session regarding pending water rights cases. The regular meeting resumed at 7:06pm.
The first item of business was approving the consent agenda which included the Regular Bill lists of December 18 and January 2; and the City Council minutes of December 16. Alderman Gaines moved to approve the Council minutes and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The motion passed unanimously.
Kudos to Alderman and Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Spain
Mayor Ron Engels presented Alderman and Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Spain with a certificate and appreciation and thanked him for his years of service. Alderman Spain said, “I’m proud to have served and proud the city has felt me worthy.” Alderman Spain removed his name-plate and stepped down from his position taking a seat in the audience.
Taking the Oath
Judge David Gloss donned his judge’s robes to swear in three individuals who earned the honor of serving the City of Central. Judy Laratta was sworn in first to take her seat replacing Bob Spain. Shirley Voorhies was sworn in second to retain her seat on the council. Ron Engels was sworn in third to retain his position as Mayor. The Honorable Mayor Engels stumbled over his lines during the ceremony provoking good-humored laughter from the audience, but eventually made it through to serve a second term.
The Council opened the floor to the public for addressing any issue on the evening’s agenda. No one from the public opted to speak to the council.
Several appointments were made for the 2015 calendar year including a new Mayor Pro-Tem, the official legal publication news authority for the City, the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) Representative, the Gilpin Ambulance Authority (GAA) Representative and Alternate, the I-70 Coalition Representative and Alternate, and the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) Advisory Representative.
For the Mayor Pro-Tem, Alderman Gaines nominated Alderman Kathy Heider for the position and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The nomination passed unanimously without discussion although Alderman Heider quietly asked the Mayor if he planned to be at all the meetings.
For the legal publication news authority, Mayor Engels stated one local paper submitted a request. Alderman Gaines moved to approve the Weekly Register-Call as the Legal Publication and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The motion passed unanimously.
For the DRCOG representative, Alderman Gaines nominated Mayor Engels as the only one who regularly travels to Denver. Alderman Heider declined the position of alternate due to conflicts of interest with her day job. Alderman Gaines moved to nominate Mayor Engels as representative to DRCOG with Alderman Voorhies serving as alternate. The motion was seconded by Alderman Heider and passed unanimously.
For the GAA representative, Alderman Gaines volunteered saying she was willing to continue and, “It’s been an interesting appointment in the past.” Gaines also encouraged newly seated Alderman Laratta to attend their meetings. Alderman Laratta asked if the meetings were during the day and Gaines replied that they meet at 10 in the morning the second Wednesday of the month. Alderman Voorhies nominated Alderman Gaines as GAA Representative with Manager Daniel Miera as alternate. The motion passed unanimously.
For the I-70 Coalition representative, Alderman Gaines stated she “would really like to stay in that position.” Alderman Heider nominated Alderman Gaines as I-70 Coalition Representative with Manager Daniel Miera as Alternate. The motion passed unanimously.
For the LEPC Advisory representative, Alderman Gaines stated “this would really be a good place to plug Judy (Laratta) in to represent the County.” Alderman Gaines nominated Alderman Laratta as LEPC Advisory Representative. Alderman Laratta asked if they met in the early mornings to which Alderman Gaines replied they meet at 11 and serve lunch. Alderman Laratta stated, “Oh, that’s nice.” Alderman Voorhies seconded the nomination and the motion passed unanimously.
Hear Ye, Hear Ye
City Clerk Reba Bechtel introduced Resolution 15-01 which would designate the public places for posting of notices of regular and special meetings of the local public bodies of the City. Those places designated would be City Hall and the Central City Post Office. Bechtel stated that she added Central City Retail Marijuana Licensing Authority meetings to the list of those that would be posted, but everything else is the same. Alderman Voorhies moved to approved Resolution 15-01 and was seconded by Alderman Heider. The motion passed unanimously.
Only One Way to go
Public Services Director Shawn Griffith introduced Resolution 15-02 which would designate One Way, Inc. as the City’s trash disposal service provider for another year. Griffith said the contract would be $1,750 over last year and they will not keep tabs on the number of houses. New home owners would not need to notify City Hall to get their trash picked up. Alderman Gaines questioned the language of the agenda regarding fiscal impact saying “the fees of $5,000 per home per month; it should not be per home, right?” Griffith responded saying “that would be a really good contract” and that it should be $5,000 per month. Alderman Gaines moved to approved Resolution 15-02 and was seconded by Alderman Heider. The motion passed unanimously.
Building code company up to code
City Clerk Reba Bechtel introduced Resolution 15-03 which would approve a professional services agreement with Colorado Code Consulting, LLC for building codes, building inspections and reviews, and elevator inspection services. Bechtel said Colorado Code has contracted with the City since 2003 and has done a good job. There are no changes to the contract other than the addition of elevator inspections. They are doing those now when they haven’t previously, but this is a pass-through cost and has no fiscal impact to the City. Alderman Heider moved to approve Resolution 15-03 and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The motion passed unanimously.
Slight changes to the comprehensive fee schedule
City Clerk Bechtel remained at the podium to introduce Resolution 15-04 which would amend the City of Central Comprehensive Fee Schedule. There are slight increases in Animal Licensure, Business Licenses/ Sales Tax License, Driveway Permits, Police Department Fees, Parkway Closure or Use Fees, and Late Fees for water bills. Bechtel stated she put the Comprehensive Schedule together, but all staff members contributed and she would be happy to answer any questions along with the staff. Alderman Gaines questioned the City Code regarding animal licensing that it only specifies dogs. Police Chief Krelle answered that yes, it is primarily dogs. Gaines confirmed, “You only license dogs?” Chief Krelle answered that was correct. Alderman Gaines asked if we could change the verbiage to read dog license. Manager Miera stated we can do that. Mayor Engels asked if we have anything in the Code for exotic animals. Chief Krelle responded that we do not have specific language regarding exotic animals, although we have considered adding it. We do have an ‘animal at large’ enforcement that we’ve used, such as ‘cow at large.’ Alderman Heider moved to approve Resolution 15-04 and was seconded by Alderman Laratta. The motion passed unanimously.
Staff Updates and Council Comments
Alderman Heider addressed Manager Miera that “you have an intriguing line in your manager report;” you were discussing the Belvedere Theater with the Gilpin County Manager and the County plans. “What are their plans?” Manager Miera responded that he did meet with Roger Baker regarding the County’s plan on back taxes owed; one of the properties being the Belvedere Theater. Miera stated that if we (the City) acquire that property, he discussed with Manager Baker what they would or could do collectively.
Alderman Gaines inquired if City Events could be advertised on Channel 20 and can the City’s snow removal policy be put on there. City Clerk Bechtel responded that events could be put on Channel 20, but trying to put fine print on the screen is difficult. It has to be enlarged and then it becomes a challenge to communicate the intent effectively. Manager Miera assured Alderman Gaines that they could work on it.
Alderman Gaines pointed out that “we are missing a person” who normally attends these meetings. Manager Miera stated that “effective January 2nd, Shannon Flowers resigned” as Finance Director. The interim finance director is Whitney Blake. Flowers will consult with the City for the first couple months to assist Whitney and whoever is hired to fill the Director position. The positon has been posted and the application period will close on January 15. They anticipate beginning interviews the week of the 19th.
Alderman Gaines asked of Public Services Director Shawn Griffith, “what is the closest mile post for the Black Hawk water line break?” Griffith responded it is at mile three-quarters, just after the hair-pin turn.
Mayor Ron Engels thanked Shawn and his staff for patching the ceiling above his head in the council chambers. Shawn stated the roofers were out yesterday and patched four spots, “we’ll see if they nailed them.” Mayor Engels responded, “so far, so good!”
Mayor Ron Engels wanted to be sure it was on public record that “we thank Shannon for her service” and knew as she continued her education that she would eventually move on in her endeavors.
Alderman Gaines gave an update on community member Linda Jones saying “she is extremely ill,” and to “keep her and Verl in your prayers.”
Alderman Shirley Voorhies thanked the community for “having me back another four years.” Voorhies also thanked Chief Krelle and his staff for the Santa Cop program. “They provided toys for kids that otherwise would not have any.”
Alderman Voorhies asked Griffith, “How come my driveway got plowed in?” Although not clear, the implication was that Voorhies was passing on a citizen’s complaint she had received and was not referring to her own driveway. Griffith responded, saying that “the guys are very sensitive to driveways, but sometimes it has to do with the way the cars are parked.” Alderman Voorhies added that she knows they do a good job and the best they can.
Alderman Judy Laratta thanked the community saying “I’m happy to be here and I hope to meet your expectations.” She added that citizens can call her anytime. Laratta then reported to Griffith that it seems lately that for Moriarty Lane, they only lay sand down in the middle of the road, making it difficult to get traction and asked if they could sand where the tires actually run. Manager Miera responded that he was just talking with Shawn today about getting better equipment to distribute sand more evenly.
Alderman Heider then welcomed Judy Laratta and offered her help “although I feel like I’m still learning.” Heider then congratulated Mayor Engels and Alderman Voorhies saying “I’m honored to serve with you again.”
Mayor Ron Engels thanked the community for believing in him for another four years. “We work as a team here,” and do our best to serve this community.
The Council opened up the floor to the public for comment on any issues.
Zane Laubhan, city resident and Gilpin County Coroner chose to address the council. “Central City during the holidays is a beautiful place. I would like to bring attention to one home in particular.” Although Laubhan did not know the address, he said there is a home on the Casey that is a very beautifully decorated house and “I appreciate their endeavors.”
Executive Director of the Central City Business Improvement District, Joe Behm, took this opportunity to address the Council. “Thank you and welcome Alderman Laratta, welcome back Alderman Voorhies and the Honorable Mayor.” Behm stated that as they look at projects this year, he hopes there will be resurgence in energy. Behm went on to request a definitive answer regarding the $50,000 that normally flows to the BID for marketing purposes of summer events. The money from the city is used solely for promoting and producing three main events that have proved to be well received and attended; the Bacon Fest, the Beer Fest, and the Still in the Hills. The BID has a requirement to declare their plans by the end of January and knowing if that money is coming would help them cement their plans. Manager Miera addressed the concern saying that the money is there and is in the budget, but there is a question of branding for the City. If the BID plans to brand the City using the money then all is well, but if the BID does not plan any City branding, we’ll have to talk about doing some of that ourselves. The money comes from the seven dollar device fees and a couple of operators have expressed concern that the Main Street events do not benefit their businesses. It would seem fitting then, that not all of the cost would be borne by the city if a piece of the money does not go to branding the City and thereby helping the businesses who help pay for it via the fees.
The meeting adjourned at 7:55. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, January 20, 2015, for the next regular council meeting.