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Taxes and appointments on the ballot for Central City

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Council approves two ballot measures and other items

By David Josselyn

The Central City Council convened their regular meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 4; and then entered Executive Session to discuss negotiations regarding a proposed license fee rebate agreement.

Regular Council Meeting

Mayor pro-tem Shirley Voorhies reconvened the regular meeting at 7:17 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. Council members; Jeff Aiken, Mary Bell, and Judy Laratta were present. Mayor Heider was not in attendance. In attendance for Staff were City Clerk Reba Bechtel, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, City Manager Daniel Miera, Public Works Director Sam Hoover, Utilities Director Jason Nelson, and Fire Chief Gary Allen.

Voorhies 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.

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

Consent Agenda

The Mayor pro-tem called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the minutes from the August 21 meeting and regular bill lists through August 27. Alderwoman Bell asked for clarification on two items; a payment to GCAA, and a payment to Reliant Construction. Explanation was that the GCAA payment is to pay for art sales in the Visitor’s Center, and the Reliant payment is for the bubble building that is being constructed to house fire department apparatus. Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the Consent Agenda and was seconded by Alderman Aiken and Alderwoman Bell simultaneously. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

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

Sales and Use Tax Increase on the Ballot

Manager Miera introduced Resolution 18-22 which would add a ballot measure to the November 6, 2018 ballot regarding increasing the local sales and use tax from four-percent to six-percent to fund fire protection and public safety services, programs, and facilities. Several work sessions have been held discussing the needs of the fire department and its aging assets.

Alderwoman Bell asked about tax relief for residents purchasing large tickets items; specifically, vehicles. Manager Miera replied that there are no provisions for a rebate for vehicle purchases and referred the question to City Attorney McAskin. Attorney McAskin replied that he was not able to answer the question in full at that time, but is not aware that there are exceptions made in tax measures for other entities. McAskin added that after the measure is put to the voters, an amendment can be considered.

Alderman Aiken moved to approve Resolution 18-22 and was seconded by Mayor pro-tem Voorhies. The Resolution passed three to one with Alderwoman Bell voting against.

Appointment Option on the Ballot

City Attorney McAskin reviewed Resolution 18-23 which would add a ballot measure to the November 6, 2108 ballot regarding approval of an optional method to fill vacancies on the Central City Council when vacated more than 180 days prior to the end of a term. The current charter rule requires a special election which costs the City between two to three thousand dollars. Should the ballot measure pass, the Council will have the option to appoint, by majority vote, a person to the position to serve the remainder of the term. The position of Mayor is excluded from the option. If the vacancy occurs less than 180 days from the end of a term, the Council currently has an option to appoint a qualified replacement.

Alderman Aiken moved to approve Resolution 18-23 and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Two Elections in Two Months

City Clerk Bechtel introduced Resolution 18-23 which would call for a special election to be held on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, to elect a Councilperson to serve the remaining term for the seat vacated by Alderwoman Bell. Alderwoman Mary Bell submitted her resignation, to be effective after the next regular council meeting of September 18, stating that due to health reasons, she has found it necessary to step down from her seat, sell her shop, and leave Central City.

Alderman Aiken moved to approve Resolution 18-23 and was seconded by Mayor pro-tem Voorhies. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Rebates for Johnny

Attorney McAskin introduced the first reading of Ordinance 18-11 which would approve a license fee rebate agreement with 321 Gregory Street LLC and Gregory Gaming LLC (Grand Z Casino owner and operator). The rebate would help offset the cost of constructing a surface-level parking lot in Gregory Gulch. The parking structure, requiring storm water infrastructure and clean fill, would be immediately east of the Century Casino parking garage and would include sidewalk, gutter, and curb improvements. Alderman Aiken called this “A win-win situation.”

Alderman Aiken moved to approve Ordinance 18-11 and set the second reading and public hearing for Tuesday, September 18, and was seconded by Alderwoman Bell. The motion passed unanimously.

Staff Reports

Manager Miera asked the Council to consider a letter of support for JKQ BBQ (Joe and Kara Tinucci; owners) to operate from the Teller House during the Central City Opera off-season. Mayor pro-tem Voorhies moved to approve a letter of support and was seconded by Alderwoman Bell (followed enthusiastically by Alderwoman Laratta and Aiken).

Opera board member Eric Chin was present and stated that the board is hesitant about the arrangement as they have not done something like this in a long time; however, “this will go a long way” toward convincing the board to move forward, stated Chin.

Council Comments

Alderwoman Laratta commented, “It’s been a great summer, I think, we got a lot done.”

Public Forum

Mayor pro-tem Voorhies 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 at that time.

Mark your calendars

Voorhies adjourned the regular meeting at 8:08 p.m. The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, September 18, 2018.

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