Agenda packed with items to approve (or not) prior to the New Year
By David Josselyn
The Central City Council and staff met for their final regular council meeting of the year on Tuesday, December 16, 2014. All members of Council were present along with City Clerk Reba Bechtel, Public Services Director Shawn Griffith, City Manager Daniel Miera, Finance Director Shannon Flowers, Police Chief Terry Krelle, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, and Alderman Elect Judy Laratta. The meeting was called to order at 6:30pm and immediately went into executive session regarding pending litigation. The regular meeting resumed at 7:03pm.
The first item of business was approving the consent agenda which included the Regular Bill lists of December 4 and 11; and the City Council minutes of December 2. Alderman Gaines moved to approve the Council minutes and was seconded by Alderman Heider. Alderman Gaines questioned the snow removal expense for Prospectors Run. Finance Director Flowers replied that Prospectors Run has always provided an accounting of their expenses in the past which is used to calculate if a refund is due to the City. The motion passed unanimously.
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.
Certificate of Recognition – KOA Campground
Mayor Ron Engels, on behalf of the City of Central, presented to Charles Spencer Jr and his son Ryan, the owners of the Denver West/ Central City Koa Campground with a certificate of recognition. The campground received KOA’s President’s Award and Founder’s Award for outstanding customer service and quality during 2014. The Founder’s Award is presented to KOA owner’s that “achieve world class service scores from their camping guests.” The President’s Award is given to KOA’s that meet exceptional quality standards and are recognized by their guests for outstanding service.
Gaming fees calculation extended another year
Shannon Flowers reviewed Ordinance 14-08 which would extend the method of calculating gaming fees through 2015. The gaming fee calculation is based on number of operating devices in the City versus funding needed for marketing. A fluctuating rate of five to seven dollars per device has been the standard for 2014. Alderman Gaines confirms that this is a continuation of what the City has been doing the last couple of years. The second reading of Ordinance 14-08 was moved to approve by Alderman Gains and seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The Ordinance passed unanimously.
Historic Preservation Commission Appointments
Mayor Ron Engels began the discussion to appoint two positions to the Historic Preservation Commission. There are vacancies for one position plus one alternate. Engels stated that it is “always nice when there are many people interested in public service and hard when you have more candidates than needed.” Five applications were received to fill these positions. Alderman Spain stated, “I think they are all qualified for the position.” Alderman Heider pointed out that the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has six members and three are “out of towners.” Heider said she would like to see local residents for the seats. Alderman Gaines replied that she would recommend David Forsythe, “He doesn’t live up here, but this is where he works.” David is familiar with the grant process and “certainly knows Central City history.” Mayor Engels responded that David has recently obtained his PhD and would not be around much longer. Barbara Thielemann spoke up from the audience and volunteered to step down from her position on the HPC in favor of one of the applicants. Mayor Engels suggested reappointing Deb Wray, Mary Bell and having David Forsythe as alternate. Alderman Heider countered to have David as permanent and Mary as alternate since although Mary is qualified, she is a new member to the community. Alderman Heider moved to approve the appointment of Deb Wray and David Forsythe to the Historic Preservation Commission with Mary Bell as alternate. Alderman Spain seconded the motion and the motion was passed unanimously.
Planning Commission Appointments
Mayor Engels opened the discussion on appointments to the Planning Commission. One seat is being vacated by Judy Laratta as she begins her term on the City Council in 2015. Bobbie Hill and Alison Hickok, relatively newcomers to Central, both applied for the position. The council approved the appointment of Alison Hickok to the Planning Commission with Bobbie Hill as alternate unanimously.
Changes in service for Central City bus
Manager Miera introduced Resolution 14-21 which would approve a continuing contract with Colorado Coach for transportations services in the City with some changes. The proposed contract is for $310,000 which is less than 2014. The current route schedule is from 10 am to 2 am all week. The proposed schedule scales back those hours to 11 am to midnight Monday through Thursday, then 11 am to 2 am on Friday and Saturday. Buses would also depart every 15 minutes compared to every half-hour that they currently depart. The resolution was moved to approve by Alderman Gaines and seconded by Alderman Spain. Resolution 14-21 passed unanimously.
Health benefits for Chief Allen and other fire fighters
Fire Chief Gary Allen introduced resolution 14-22 which would approve a trust agreement for the Colorado Firefighter Health and Circulatory Benefits Trust for another year. Right now, Chief Allen is the only one eligible for the resolution as it is not available for volunteer firefighters. Chief Allen explained that this fund only kicks in when an incident happens either on scene, responding to the incident, or coming from an incident and in some cases a while after an incident. For example, if the Chief were to come home from a call and shortly thereafter suffer a heart attack due to the stress of the incident, this fund would kick in. The Trust Agreement is a partially funded mandated state program and is supplemental to insurance provided by local governments. Mayor Engels stated that “it is a mandate and we are obligated to adopt it; how we fund it is the question.” Resolution 14-22 was moved to approve by Alderman Heider and seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The resolution passed unanimously.
Appropriations for the 2014 Budget
Finance Director Shannon Flowers introduced Resolution 14-23 which would approve appropriating monies from one part of the budget to fund over spent items. There were several unanticipated costs during the year, the most significant being the rockslide that closed the Parkway. Mayor Engels confirmed that this is “standard close out the year stuff.” Alderman Heider commented that “it’s not really optional.” Alderman Voorhies moved to approve Resolution 14-23 and was seconded by Alderman Spain and Alderman Gaines simultaneously. The Resolution passed unanimously.
New account software for the City
Finance Director Flowers introduced a proposal to approve the purchase of Caselle Accounting Software to replace the software the City currently uses. The current system is DOS based and was purchased in the 1990s. The software was budgeted for 2014 for $50,000. The Caselle software would cost the City $42,893 and comes with free upgrades for life. There will be an annual fee for training and support. The purchase of the software was moved to approve by Alderman Gaines and seconded simultaneously by Alderman Spain and Alderman Voorhies. The motion passed unanimously
Agreement with the BID
City Attorney Marcus McAskin introduced Resolution 14-24 which would extend the current marketing agreement with the Central City Business Improvement District (BID) for the 2015 year. This agreement allows for the revenues collected from device fees to go to the BID for marketing functions. Alderman Gaines asked for clarification between this Resolution and the bill they just passed. McAskin explained that the prior Resolution gives the City permission to collect the fees and this Resolution approves how the fees are spent. Executive Director for the BID, Joe Behm was asked to enlighten the Council on the BID’s plans for 2015. Behm stated that the device fee funds augment those the City pays to the BID. The goals for next year include getting people back on I-70 and the Central City Parkway. The two year construction of the twin tunnels has discouraged use. Events next year will include Stills in the Hills, the Bacon Fest, and Beer Fest, and the Pit Rally. Next year, the Pit Rally people hope to have a more festive atmosphere on Main Street. Resolution 14-24 was moved to approve by Alderman Voorhies and seconded by Alderman Gaines. The Resolution passed unanimously.
Adopting the Retail Marijuana Store Licensing Authority
Attorney McAskin introduced Resolution 14-25 which would adopt procedures for the Central City Retail Marijuana Store Licensing Authority. Although Amendment 64 legalizing retail marijuana has been in effect since the first of the year, Central City has not had to approve a new facility. With the Amendment, the two existing medicinal marijuana stores were approved for retail sales. Travis Howard and Rob McEvoy have recently applied for a third retail marijuana license within the City. This Resolution would establish procedures, similar to liquor licensing, for the Council to follow for all new applications. Alderman Gaines moved to approved Resolution 14-25 and was seconded by Alderman Voorhies. Alderman Gaines commented that “it’s good policy to have a written procedure.” The Resolution passed unanimously.
There’s a new pot store in town
A retail marijuana store license application was submitted for the location at 109 Eureka Street by Travis Howard and Rob McEvoy, current owners of Mother Lode Oxygen Bar at the same address. Howard is the General Manager of the company and a registered attorney who lives in Niwot. McEvoy worked for the CIA in internal records management and is working the health care industry auditing college level pharmacy curriculum and programs. Together, they operate three cultivation sites and dispensaries in Boulder County. The manager of the proposed marijuana retail store lives in town above the facility. The marijuana store will be located in the back of the building.
Police Chief Terry Krelle stated that he used the State’s background check information system on the owners and “I know of no reason not to approve” the application.
Alderman Gaines questioned the owners saying, “We already have two established facilities in the City; I’m curious, being a really small city, how do you propose to compete with two established facilities?”
Travis Howard responded that they have no intention to shut any competitors down, but what they do is establish respect among their customers. No store satisfies every customer, and we hope to gain the business from those customers and establish loyalty with them. They also have long ties to organic growers and producers. The retail marijuana license was moved to approve by Alderman Gaines and seconded by Alderman Voorhies. The motion passed unanimously.
Staff Updates and Council Comments
Alderman Gaines commented to Chief Krelle that it looks like their food drive has done really well. Chief Krelle stated that people were really generous this year and the food will be delivered to the Gilpin County food bank at the Justice Center.
Alderman Gaines thanked Public Services for their attention to detail on the Christmas decorations this year.
Alderman Voorhies commented that the Tommyknockers event went well and every business in town contributed. Voorhies thanks all the volunteers that helped to make this happen.
Alderman Heider thanked Public Services Director Shawn Griffith for all the plowing last Sunday (December 14). Heider then asked, “And why is it leaking on the Mayor?” A wet spot had developed in the ceiling above the Mayor’s seat and occasionally dripped throughout the meeting. Mayor Engels half-jokingly stated “Public Services needs to come in and check this out,” directing his comment to Shawn.
The Council opened up the floor to the public for comment on any issues. Joe Behm took this opportunity to ask the Council, “Do you supposed these guys with the dispensary would give each other high fives?”
The meeting adjourned at 8:31 for a community gathering with food from JKQ BBQ and staff. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, January 6, 2015, for the next regular council meeting.