Central City Council works on signage solutions and GPS providers
By David Josselyn
Council met with Staff for a Work Session immediately prior to the regular meeting on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. Code Enforcement Officer Lindsey Flewelling reviewed a plan to encourage property owners of vacant properties to maintain their buildings. She took examples from other municipalities including Denver to construct a proposedOrdinance for Central City and asked for feedback from Council. Council agreed there needs to be something done, but did not agree on the most appropriate method. Staff was directed to come back with a three-step plan for enforcement. Manager Daniel Miera followed the discussion with a proposal for incentives for new businesses and was directed to come back with a fleshed-out plan for further discussion.
Regular Council Meeting
Mayor Fey convened the regular meeting at 7:15 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. Council members; Jeff Aiken, Judy Laratta, Jack Hidahl, Jackie Johnson, and Mayor Jeremy Fey were present. 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, Fire Chief Gary Allen, and County Sheriff Division Chief Tom Ihme.
Mayor Fey led the Pledge of Allegiance and then asked for any amendments or additions to the evening’s agenda. Manager Miera requested to move item #11 (request for funds disbursement from the Central City Opera) to item #9 (first item under new business). Mayor Fey asked if there were any conflicts of interest for any member of the council. There were no conflicts expressed.
The Mayor called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the minutes from the September 3 meeting and regular bill lists through September 6. Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the Consent Agenda and was seconded by Alderman Aiken. Mayor Fey asked about the charge of $9,900 for annual elevator inspections and if it was specifically for Washington Hall. Manager Miera responded that the City does inspections on all existing elevators and escalators in town, pays for the service and then bills the tenants to recover the cost. Alderwoman Laratta asked if a charge of $4,920 for stormwater masterplan updates was referring to the 2014 stormwater master plan. Miera responded that some items in the plan they are just now starting to do some work and they are adding to and updating the plan based on current information. Alderwoman Johnson asked about a charge of $1,950 for marketing services renewal and Manager Miera said that was for a company called, This is Crowd USA, they contract with for marketing. Director Rears stated that cost was for a full marketing plan and how best to use the marketing money they have. The motion to approve the consent agenda passed unanimously.
Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to a topic on the agenda. No one chose to speak to the Council at that time.
In-Line with Colorado
Attorney McAskin reviewed the second reading of Ordinance 19-06 which would amend the Municipal Code regarding liquor and marijuana licensing. This would align the Code to the State’s wording. “This makes non-substantive changes,” said McAskin. No changes were made to the Ordinance between first and second readings.
Mayor Fey opened the public forum and no one chose to speak to council on this Ordinance.
Alderman Aiken moved to approve Ordinance 19-06 and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The Ordinance passed unanimously.
Street Size and Length Limits
Attorney McAskin reviewed the second reading of Ordinance 19-07 which would apply size and length limitations on certain streets in the City. The Ordinance is specifically targeting Spruce Street and Moriarty Lane, but is drafted so that other streets can be added if necessary. The length limit is 25 feet. Director Hoover spoke to council stating he attempted to get an engineer to give a recommendation on length limits specifically for the area where Spruce Street and Moriarty Lane merge in a steep grade behind the Opera House. “The engineer quoted $14,200” to study the length limits, “and I don’t think you want to spend that much.” Director Hoover then gave his own recommendations after his own investigation. He determined that a length of 30 feet would definitely scrape the pavement. He talked to several vehicle owners/drivers to discover that a 21-foot vehicle does not bottom out, but a 23-foot FedEx truck does. Factors to consider in limits are the length, height, a distance between the rear axle and the rear of the vehicle. He recommended changing the length limitation to 22 feet and that would be for all trailers, delivery trucks, buses, and combination vehicles. Hoover also recommended new signage about 100 feet from the entrance of Spruce Street (on Nevada Street) in both directions and a third sign on Spruce Street itself. He provided recommendations for approved signage which would include solar flashing beacons. The signs would be about $1,100 each. Director Hoover also mentioned that he talked to several organizations for recommendations on updating the GPS/GIS software companies (Google, etc.). Mayor Fey opened the public forum and one person chose to speak to council.
Chuck Spencer, owner of the KOA Campground above Central City, addressed council saying, “I’m hearing ‘other roads’ and I’m not sure what that means. I would ask to keep in mind the RVs and other recreational vehicles that come to our town.”
Alderman Aiken moved to approve Ordinance 19-07 and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. Alderman. Hidahl commented that specifying the length is a problem because “What we really want is a sign that says, ‘if you high-center your vehicle, you will be fined.’” He pointed out that a 21-foot truck loaded with a ton of rock may high-center even though it meets the length requirement. Division Chief Tom Imhe commented that enforcement would be on a call-to-call basis and they would have flexibility to ticket or not as warranted. He said he would have a hard time ticketing someone who went down that road because they were lost, or their GPS directed them. “There is always discretion on the officer’s part.” Alderwoman Laratta commented that she likes “the signs with a no-turn arrow because a lot of these people do not read” the signs and believes that would be a great visual warning.
Alderman Aiken moved to amend the Ordinance changing the length limit to 22 feet and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The motion passed three to two with Alderwoman Johnson and Mayor Fey opposed. A call to vote on the amended Ordinance resulted in it passing three to two with the same split.
Central City Opera
Properties Director Eric Chinn reviewed a proposal for use of the City’s $25,000 contribution to the Central City Opera and submitted the annual report as required. The Central City Opera will be using the City’s money to restore the Johnson House and the Penrose complex. The restorations will cost more than $350,000 and the Opera is submitting grant applications for those restorations.
The Opera has renewed their contract with JKQ BBQ for one full year to operate in the Teller House. They have also signed a two-year contract with the Peak to Peak Players to lease the Williams Stables as a performing arts venue and acting studio.
The Opera is hosting the premier of the Central City Poetry Festival this September 21 and expect 500 to 1,000 attendees. They will also host the 2nd annual Plein Air Arts Festival at the end of September.
Alderman Aiken stated, “I think any money spent preserving the houses should qualify; as long as it is on the upkeep.” Alderwoman Laratta responded she would like them to put a little more emphasis on the properties’ natural beauty that they have. “I admit they have one man for all these properties trying to keep them up.” Alderman Hidahl commented, “I think we had communication failure and I think that communication has been resolved.”
Alderman Aiken moved to approve the request for disbursement of the annual fund to the Central City Opera and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The motion passed unanimously.
Large Increase for Unfunded State Mandate
Acting Director Jack Beard introduced Resolution 19-27 which would approve an amendment to a consulting agreement with Deere and Ault Consultants expanding the cost from $40,000 to $90,000 in the 2019 budget year. Beard stated they had three additional, unforeseen projects: two capital improvements and one engineering consultation as a result of changes by the State of Colorado.
Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 19-27 and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. Alderman Hidahl asked if this is a one-time increase or ongoing increase? Beard replied that this is expected to be a one-time increase. The State of Colorado is moving from a four-page Excel spreadsheet to a complex multi-page report that required Deere and Ault Consultants to spend an inordinate amount of time drafting. The State requirement did not come with any additional funding. The Resolution passed unanimously.
Simplifying Not Always the Best Solution
City Clerk Bechtel introduced the first reading of Ordinance 19-08 which would amend the Municipal Code regarding Contractor Licensing. Bechtel stated that this section of the Code has not been updated since she started working for the City and so added a couple categories to get all contractors licensed. “It’s a housekeeping, updating, change.”
Alderman Aiken moved to approve the first reading of Ordinance 19-08 and set the second reading and public forum for Tuesday, October 1, and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta.
Alderman Hidahl commented, “I’m in favor of simplification, but not in favor of this ordinance.” He explained, “I don’t know the value of this Ordinance or what we are trying to solve.” He said that the Ordinance seems to mean, “If I hire the neighbor kid to come mow my lawn, he would need to be a licensed contractor.” Director Rears responded stating a value of licensing is it creates a list of contractors that do come up here and we can relay that information. Additionally, the City can ensure the contractors are insured. Hidahl added, “I think we’re acting as nannies on this. I think it’s the property owner who should be responsible.” Alderwoman Johnson stating, “I am trying to get carpet in my place, so what would the process look like for me; how much of a delay would my project have once I turned in the building permit to the City Clerk?” City Clerk Bechtel responded saying the turnaround would be the “same day.” Attorney McAskin reported that they could tie the requirement of a permit to the licensing requirement.
Alderwoman Laratta moved to table Ordinance 19-08 indefinitely and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. The motion passed unanimously.
Manager Miera introduced a work session schedule for the 2020 Budget meetings. There are two retreats and three work sessions planned with City Council before a proposed budget will be considered. The projected date for the public forum is December 3, but is subject to change. The City must have a ratified budget by December 15 as a deadline to submit the 2020 mill levy.
Alderwoman Johnson confirmed that the CU Denver students have arrived. Director Rears replied that two teams are here; one working on the Masonic Building and the other on the trails system connecting downtown with the Chase Gulch Reservoir area. Johnson replied, “That’s exciting!”
Alderman Hidahl inquired about the RFPs for the Belvidere Theatre. Director Rears said they have two submissions and they have not yet reviewed those proposal responses.
Alderwoman Johnson commented that there is a picture in the paper and, “I looked asleep; I was not asleep.” She added that she did get a lot of text messages about it and several memes were made from the picture and she got a laugh out of it, but wanted to clarify again, “I was not asleep.”
Mayor Fey commented that the City officially closed on the Scarlett building yesterday (September 16). “I would like to publicly thank Mr. Goltra for his generous gift.”
Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to the council on any items not on the agenda. Two people chose to address council.
Chuck Spencer, owner of the KOA Campground, said, “The Hot Rod Hill Climb is neat and brings a lot of people to town.” And then recommended that the promoter be more preemptive next year in terms of getting signage and direction before the participants start coming into town. “We had to organize parking and coordinate with Richelle at Gold Mountain Village” for parking and direction to visitors. “Other than that; everything went well.”
Belita Persichini, resident of Central, next addressed council. She stated that she had an idea about the Opera Houses she wanted to share. “During the off season, the opera houses are empty; if they are looking for money, could you not make use these small cottages as bed and breakfasts? They can get some money to use on maintenance.” Alderman Aiken commented that they are not winterized and Alderwoman Laratta added, “They have to be inhabitable to be rented out.” Mayor Fey stated, “I think it’s a great idea.” Persichini also commented that, “We (Gilpin County) have a quilting group in mid-county, and maybe they could use one of them to showcase their work.”
Mark your calendars
Mayor Fey adjourned the regular meeting at 9:05 p.m. The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, October 1, 2019.