Montrose, CO — City Councilors met online for their regular meeting Tuesday, March 31, to approve a small business relief program and take the first step in financing the construction of the new Police Department headquarters. Councilors Roy Anderson, Dave Bowman, Barbara Bynum, Judy Ann Files, and Doug Glaspell met in an online meeting for about one hour, 45 minutes, along with city staff and the public. The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Councilors voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the March 17 regular City Council meeting. The city’s archive of past meeting minutes can be found at: CityofMontrose.org/ArchiveCenter.
ORDINANCE 2498 (Police Department Headquarters Financing)
City Councilors voted unanimously on second reading to authorize a site lease and lease-purchase agreement between the City of Montrose and UMB Bank. Under the agreement, UMB will issue up to $16 million in certificates of participation, or COPs, to finance the construction of a new headquarters for the Montrose Police Department. Under Colorado law, governmental entities can sell certificates on the open bond market whereby investors purchase the certificates and the money is loaned to the city (through UMB) for the construction project. A property agent then holds the building in escrow, similar to a lease situation, and once the construction loan is paid off, the lease goes away and the city is the sole owner of the property.
Kyle Thomas, who represents a finance team working on behalf of the city’s investment in the new police building, told councilors that recent volatility in U.S. financial markets has made interest rates fluctuate higher than originally anticipated.
By approving the ordinance the council allowed the finance team to begin working on the necessary infrastructure to issue the COPs while waiting to see if interest rates fall over the course of the next month. The hope is that rates will fall below 4%. To make sure the project stays within the $16 million target budget, councilors modified the ordinance to specify that the locked-in interest rate for the financing was not to exceed 4%.
The ordinance was approved by a unanimous, roll-call vote.
"(We’re) One step closer to building that police station," Mayor Dave Bowman said.
If the process remains on schedule, the COPs could be ready for investment in late spring 2020.
City Manager Bill Bell explains the use of COPs in this video.
ORDINANCE 2499 (New Police Department Headquarters)
By roll-call vote, City Councilors unanimously approved an ordinance on second reading, vacating three right-of-ways that are part of the new Police Department headquarters project in downtown. The city will vacate the right-of-ways to the city, as it is the owner of the property, and will place the land into a trust that will be part of a lease-to-own arrangement to fund the project.
City Manager Bill Bell said the city is not looking to close South First Street for the police building, however, Bell said the city is looking to vacate and close a portion of Uncompahgre Avenue — directly east of the current police facility — for use in the new project.
ESTABLISHMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS EMERGENCY RESPONSE REVOLVING LOAN FUND
By unanimous roll-call vote, councilors approved a $300,000 fund dedicated to providing small businesses with zero-percent loans with no repayment for at least 12 months. These loans of up to $5,000 per applicant are designed to assist businesses forced to close by state mandate or who have suffered significant financial loss due to COVID-19.
Additionally, businesses with less than $2 million in gross annual sales will have the option to delay city sales tax remittance for at least 90 days. The city estimates that the sales tax deferral arrangement will keep approximately $3 million in the hands of area business owners who are trying to navigate through this difficult time.
The council also agreed to move funds budgeted for tourism promotion to help local businesses market and advertise their services.
Read more about this program here.
CONTRACT AWARD - WAYFINDING SIGNAGE
The contract to complete Phase 3 of the Wayfinding Signage Project was tabled due to the COVID-19 emergency.
All City Council meetings are recorded and made available online via on the city’s website and cable channels 191 for Charter subscribers and 970 for Elevate subscribers. Replays of council meetings are also broadcast at 6 p.m. on the same channels on days that council is not in session.
In addition, each regular meeting is archived on the City of Montrose’s YouTube channel.
Residents can watch all regular City Council meetings and work sessions live through the city’s website at CityOfMontrose.org/Video.
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org.