Posting of public meetings online only sparks debate

Starting off the New Year with Central City Council new business

By David Josselyn

Work Session – Council met with Staff for a work session prior to the regular meeting. The topics of discussion were a historic plaque and a future marketing plan. The historic plaque in question used to sit on the section of sidewalk at the south end of Scarlett’s facing Main Street; otherwise known as “the bubble.” The sign has been damaged by both weather and vehicular mishaps and Staff wishes to replace it. Director Ray Rears commented that there have also been some questions to the factual accuracy of the plaque, and they would like to revise the language for accuracy. Staff presented Council with several ideas for locations for the replacement that might have more visibility and less likely to be damaged. Alderwoman Laratta commented she has seen, “jillions (sic) of people reading it, jillions,” referring to original location. Alderman Hidahl suggested using the wall of Scarlett’s since they own the wall at the moment and don’t need permission. Mayor Fey stated he believes people will find it on the wall and people will read it, but it should not be the end of development on the bubble. “We’ve done a good job protecting the gas, but we need to protect the people, too,” said Fey and followed by suggesting bollards to prevent wayward vehicles from injuring bystanders. Alderman Hidahl had several corrections to the facts stated on the plaque and Council asked Staff for a Microsoft Word Document of the language so that they can supply corrections and suggestions. Hidahl pointed out the section starting “Legend has it..” as an example of taking liberties with fact and suggested an alternative involving the shooting of a man more than 30 times, but the shooter was found not guilty because nobody liked the victim.

Community Coordinator Zeke Keeler presented a 2020 Marketing Plan for the City which has been posted on the City’s website since fall of 2019. Keeler wanted to make an official presentation and requested feedback and suggestions for where the marketing plan is heading. Alderwoman Johnson encouraged people to visit the City website and read the Plan. Alderman Hidahl commented to be careful about promoting any activity that they cannot provide such as fly fishing or high mountain lakes which are outside of the City limits.

Regular Council Meeting

Mayor Fey convened the regular meeting at 7:05 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. Council members; Jeff Aiken, Judy Laratta, Jackie Johnson, Jack Hidahl, and Mayor Jeremy Fey were present. In attendance for Staff were City Clerk Reba Bechtel, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, City Manager Daniel Miera, Community Development Director Ray Rears, Public Works Director Sam Hoover, Utilities Director Jack Beard, and Fire Chief Gary Allen.

Mayor Fey led the Pledge of Allegiance and then asked for any amendments or additions to the evening’s agenda. There were no additions or amendments to the agenda.

Mayor Fey asked if there were any conflicts of interest for any member of the council. There were no conflicts expressed.

Consent Agenda

The Mayor called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the minutes from the December 3 meeting and regular bill lists through December 5. Council was given an amended set of minutes by the City Clerk that included a couple of sentences for clarity. Alderwoman Johnson moved to approve the Consent Agenda with minutes as amended and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to a topic on the night’s agenda. No one chose to speak to the Council at that time.

Old Business

No old business was carried over from 2019.

New Business

Three items of new business were on the agenda: the annual appointments of seven positions (listed on the agenda: council created two new alternate positions) and two resolutions. All items are considered housekeeping items that require council approve, but do not change the status quo.

Annual Appointments

Council appointment the following people for nine positions on legislative bodies and one official publication to represent the City:

Mayor pro Tempore (sits in as Mayor when the Mayor cannot be present and has all authority of the position while the Mayor is absent) – Alderwoman Laratta

Legal Publication for 2020 (this will be where all notices are published) – The Weekly Register-Call

DRCOG (Denver Regional Council of Governments) Representative – Mayor Fey

DRCOG Alternate – Alderwoman Johnson

Gilpin Ambulance Authority Representative – Alderwoman Johnson

Gilpin Ambulance Authority Alternate – Manager Miera

I-70 Coalition Representative – Alderman Hidahl

I-70 Coalition Alternate – Manager Miera

Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) Advisory Representative – Alderwoman Laratta

LEPC Alternate – Alderwoman Johnson

Online Posting of Notices

City Clerk Reba Bechtel introduced Resolution 20-01 which would designate the public places for posting of notices of regular and special meetings of local public bodies of the City. For the first time, it was proposed to eliminate physical paper copies and make the official posting site as the Central City website, although the posting of paper copies will continue in the event of circumstances that prevent posting online. Colorado House Bill 19-1087 deems online posting as acceptable for timely posting of regular and special meetings if it is posted at least 24 hours prior to the start of the meeting.

Alderman Hidahl stated, “I really don’t like this transition idea; those (State) legislators assume everyone has access (to online sites) and that’s not the case.” He suggested section two be changed to say notices will also be posted at City Hall. Mayor Fey inquired if it would be an additional burden to also email the notices to everyone who signs up for the service with the City. City Clerk Bechtel replied that she already has an email group she emails the notices to and it would not be burdensome to include anyone who requested to be on the mailing list. Emailing does not fulfill the City’s legal requirement for noticing.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 20-01 as amended and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Here Comes Da Judge

City Clerk Reba Bechtel next introduced Resolution 20-02 which would appoint the Municipal Judge to be the Honorary Jack W. Berryhill through the term of January 31, 2022. Compensation for the Judge will be $700 per month when the court is in session or $4,200 annually which matches the 2020 Budget. Judge Berryhill was unanimously voted as the City’s Municipal Judge on September 1, 2018 for a two-year term and if approved, would continue for a second two-year term.

Mayor Fey commented that he “appreciates the depth Judge Berryhill looks into the City as both a charter and historically.” Alderwoman Johnson commented she has not heard anything negative.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 20-02 and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Staff Reports

Attorney McAskin commented regarding the Clear Creek Sheriff’s District’s jurisdiction on the Central City Parkway that a memo was in the Council’s packets. The memo given to Council is Attorney/ Client privilege and was not made public.

Council Comments

Alderwoman Laratta commented that the Christmas decorations “were fabulous this year; it looked really mystic; old town.”

Mayor Fey commented that it was an honor for him to light the tree and that Barbara Thielemann and the Tommyknockers people did a fantastic job.

Alderwoman Johnson commented she is excited for this year and the tone that has been set.

Alderman Hidahl inquired if a work session on January 14 will be used and Manager Miera responded that they will have a work session on that evening. After discussion from Council, it was decided to schedule work session times from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Hidahl also commented on an article in the Denver Post regarding internet service in rural communities. He suggested they encourage the Commissioners to do a survey of residents as to whether they have cell service or internet services where they live. Hidahl also commented he believes Xcel Energy needs to compensate the City for tearing up the street they are working on at C Street and Lawrence Street. Manager Miera responded that part of their contract is to return the street to near new.

Mayor Fey asked about extending the lighting on the Parkway and Manger Miera responded that they did get an estimate and included that amount in the transportation budget, but they need to wait on collaboration with the Business Improvement District. The lighting would extend lights on both sides to the point where a settlement with land owners agrees to no lights.

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to the council on any items not on the agenda. No one chose to address the Council.

Mark Your Calendars

Mayor Fey adjourned the regular meeting at 7:53 p.m. The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

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