Sheriff Armstrong addresses coverage in Central City

Council discusses auto-response agreement with TFPD

By David Josselyn

Work Session

Council met with Staff for two work sessions prior to the regular meeting; one at 4:30 pm for a budget meeting, and another at 6:00 pm for a discussion on mutual agreements, future planning for joint-use facilities, and information about Ordinance 20-12 on revisions for special event fees.

Timberline Fire Chief Paul Ondr talked to Council about changing their agreement with the City from a mutual response to an auto-response. With an auto-response, Timberline would respond to all calls with pre-specified equipment. Chief Ondr commented that many homeowner’s insurance companies prefer the auto-response agreement.

Director Ray Rears reviewed changes to Ordinance 20-12 based on Council comments from the regular meeting on October 6. Council gave Rears additional commentary including, “This is a damned confusing document” from Alderman Hidahl.

Regular Council Meeting

Mayor Fey convened the regular meeting at 7:07 pm on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, in City Hall Council Chambers. Council members; Jeff Aiken, Judy Laratta, Jackie Johnson, Jack Hidahl, and Mayor Jeremy Fey were present.

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

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 October 6 meeting, regular bill lists through October 6, and to ratify HR 20-26 which would approve of the demolition of a non-historic shed on Casey Street. HR 20-26 had already been approved by the Historic Preservation Commission.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the Consent Agenda and was seconded by Alderman Aiken. 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 address Council.

Old Business

No old business on the agenda.

New Business

Council heard from Sheriff Kevin Armstrong of the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Department and considered action on one resolution.

Sheriff Armstrong Q&A

Sheriff Armstrong first addressed the fatality on the Central City Parkway; sending deputies to the Cameron Peak Fire to assist in management; and the closure of all forest service lands in the Arapahoe Roosevelt National Forest. Mayor Fey asked if it was his decision to ask for the mill levy (referring to Ballot measure 1A which would add 2.27 mills to property taxes for the next three years for the Sheriff’s Department). Sheriff Armstrong responded that it was a joint decision among command. Alderwoman Johnson commented, “I publicly say I support the mill levy.” Alderwoman Laratta responded, “I agree with Jackie (Alderwoman Johnson) one-hundred percent. Armstrong commented, “As an elected official, I can’t give my personal opinion; I can’t give an endorsement one way or the other.” He went on to say that the department was told they would have to reduce their budget by twelve employees “which is a significant number of people.” The department currently has nine positions that have not been filled. Alderwoman Johnson reported, “I was at the slash site Sunday (October 18) and witnessed two deputies rushing northbound to a call,” and when she got back to Central City, “I saw the deputy there. You guys always are there for us, even running on bare bones.” Sheriff Armstrong ensured that they would continue to cover Central City at the same level of service regardless of whether the mill levy passes.

Still an Emergency

Manager Miera introduced Resolution 20-38 which would extend the local declaration of emergency through Wednesday, November 4, 2020.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 20-38 and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Commentary from Staff and Council

Alderman Hidahl asked, “Why do we have trash cans in the middle of the sidewalk on the south end of Main Street? We really need a streetscape plan.”

Mayor Fey reported that Saturday, November 28 is national Shop Locally Day. He asked, “Since there is no Tommyknockers (Bazaar) this year, can we light the tree on November 28?”

Alderwoman Laratta commented, “People wear masks and stay healthy!”

Alderman Aiken stated, “I’m glad to hear that out of our five new COVID cases, only one originated from a casino.”

Alderwoman Johnson said, “Please vote.”

Alderman Hidahl then queried, “I don’t suppose we have the wherewithal to draft a resolution to support the Sheriff’s Department mill levy (Ballot Measure 1A)?” Alderman Hidahl moved that Staff draft a resolution that states Central City’s support for Ballot Measure 1A and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. Manager Miera cautioned that he will check with the City Attorney if they can have it prepared and are able to pass it prior to the next meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum Again

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to the council on any items not on the agenda. One person chose to address council.

Executive Director of the Business Improvement District Joe Behm said, “Thanks for the thoughtful deliberations on the budget. I know you’re in a tough spot, many of us in the casino industry have been there before. City Manager Miera is doing a fine job of figuring things out. There is no question we need to in-fill Main Street; however, brick and mortar development is key to growth. I think we need to get some heads together and figure out this problem. It’s really a sales issue.”

Mark Your Calendars

Mayor Fey adjourned the regular meeting at 8:04 pm. The next regular Council Meeting will be election night, Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

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