Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for their regular meeting Tuesday evening, July 21, to consider a number of ordinances, resolutions, a business incentives package, and an update on city sales tax revenues. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, councilors held their regular meeting in council chambers at 107 South Cascade. The public was invited to attend via the Zoom platform.
Councilors Dave Bowman, Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, and Doug Glaspell met in chambers with councilor Roy Anderson attending via Zoom. The council met for one hour, 24 minutes along with city staff. 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 July 7, 2020, regular City Council meeting. The city’s archive of past meeting minutes can be found at: CityofMontrose.org/ArchiveCenter.
WATCH Tuesday’s meeting here.
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve the annexation of the Hilltop Addition on second reading. The 15.75-acre property is located north of Locust Road and east of 6600 Road.
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve the zoning of the Hilltop Addition as an “R-4” High-Density District on second reading.
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve the annexation of the River Crossing Addition on second reading. The 36.33-acre property is located west of S. Townsend Avenue and between Ogden Road and S. Rio Grande Avenue.
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve the zoning of the River Crossing Addition as a “B-3” General Commercial District on second reading.
ORDINANCE 2508 - SALES AND USE TAX CODE UPDATE
Councilors voted 5-0 to approve changes to the city’s sales and use tax code that will require smaller online retailers to pay city sales tax when selling products in Montrose.
During the July 7 work session, Montrose City Attorney Stephen Alcorn said larger online retailers like Amazon currently retain and pay city sales tax for goods bought and delivered in Montrose. He said the change in the code would allow the city to collect taxes on purchases made from smaller online retailers such as Etsy. The update is needed as online commerce continues to evolve.
City Finance Director Shani Wittenberg said the language does not affect or increase the city’s overall tax rate, it just requires online vendors who sell goods and services online in Montrose to remit and pay sales taxes.
City Councilors will vote again on the ordinance on second reading at the August 4 regular meeting.
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve a resolution authorizing the city’s Police Department to file a Victim Assistance Law Enforcement (VALE) Grant through the 7th Judicial District Victims Assistance Board for a total of $28,000, to cover a portion of the victim advocate’s salary. The resolution authorizes the chief of police and the city finance director to sign the grant application and reporting documents.
RESOLUTION 2020-15 - DMEA FRANCHISE BALLOT QUESTION
Councilors voted 4-0, with councilor Dave Bowman abstaining, to approve the language of a franchise agreement with the Delta-Montrose Electric Association, DMEA, that will be placed before voters this November to authorize the co-op to continue providing electricity to Montrose residents.. DMEA is the sole provider of electric service to the community.
The existing franchise agreement expires on April 3, 2021. In order for this matter to be placed on the November 3 ballot, City Council must notify the Montrose County Clerk of their intent to authorize a ballot question for the election by July 24. The resolution is an official notification to the Montrose County Clerk to place the language before voters.
Per the City of Montrose Municipal Code, renewals of franchise agreements may not occur more than one year prior to the expiration of any existing franchise agreement. In the spring of 2019, DMEA sought assurances from the city regarding future renewal of the franchise agreement as part of DMEA’s power supply planning efforts and their negotiations regarding a possible exit from their power supply contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.
As it was too early to renew DMEA’s existing franchise agreement, the city signed a Memorandum of Understanding on April 24, 2019, to assure DMEA of the city’s intent to enter into good-faith negotiations on the matter. DMEA and city staff are currently negotiating the terms of a franchise agreement renewal with the assistance of outside counsel. DMEA and city staff intend for City Council to review the proposed franchise agreement at the August 3 work session and review the ballot language on August 18.
BUSINESS EXPANSION INCENTIVES PACKAGE
Citing a shortage of childcare in the Montrose community, City Councilors voted 5-0 to approve a business expansion incentive package totaling $30,000 to help the establishment of the Smart Start Daycare at 1840 E. Main Street.
Gold’s Gym Montrose is planning a physical remodel and business expansion into the childcare service industry under the name Smart Start Daycare. The east side of the building, located at 1840 E. Main Street, will be remodeled into a childcare facility that will accommodate 48 children ages infant to seven. The remodel will include a fenced outdoor space component on the east side of the building that will have soft turf, playground equipment, and shade.
Smart Start will initially employ eleven individuals who will all be licensed childcare providers. The curriculum will have many fitness components such as kids’ yoga and Zumba. The owners are in discussions with Montrose County to consider accepting CCCAP (Colorado Child Care Assistance Program) funding. Montrose County is also considering providing financial assistance for this project.
Smart Start is shooting for a fall open date, pending approval from the State of Colorado for its childcare license. Once licensed, the center will follow current guidelines regarding COVID-19, which may include limiting initial enrollment.
After reviewing the remodel plans and associated costs, Director of Business Innovation Chelsea Rosty asked City Council to consider an incentive of
$30,000 to be paid directly to the contractor for the remodel of the facility.
It should also be noted that the building permit, plan check, and construction sales tax are nominal and were waived administratively by the city manager. This amount sits near the 10 percent incentive rate the city typically considers, and it can also be funded with CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) money.
Rosty told the council that daycare is a top priority in growing the local economy as childcare services are in short supply in the city.
UNREIN DIVISION OF PROPERTY
City Councilors voted 5-0 to approve a plat to subdivide Outlot A of the Unrein Subdivision to receive rights of way for Ogden Road and Rio-Grande Avenue.
The Unrein family annexed into the City of Montrose as part of the Unrein Addition in March 2002. This annexed property was then subdivided into its current configuration as part of the Unrein Subdivision Filing 1 in June 2002, creating the Home Depot lot and Outlot A, which is 38.1 acres.
The City of Montrose’s comprehensive and capital plans envision the extension of Rio-Grande Avenue south from East Oak Grove Road to the River Landing Commercial Park. Ogden Road is also planned to continue west from its current ending point to Rio Grande Avenue and ultimately extend over the Uncompahgre River and onto Sunset Mesa.
As part of other capital projects and development partnerships over the years, the city has secured or is close to securing rights of way on several properties throughout the Rio Grande corridor. At this point, only two properties remain to secure all necessary rights of way for both roadway extensions; one of which is situated within Outlot A of the Unrein Subdivision.
Rights of way are generally acquired in one of two ways. If the need for a road project precedes development in an area, the city would have to purchase the necessary right of way at market value. If the city could not come to an agreement with the landowner for this purchase, the city would need to exercise its right of eminent domain as part of the sale. If development occurs on a given property prior to or concurrent with the need for a roadway project, the right of way is typically dedicated to the city as part of the development process.
The Unrein family approached the city in February of this year regarding subdividing Outlot A for the purpose of creating individually conveyable lots to divide amongst family members. Because the family did not have any immediate intention to develop the property, the typical subdivision process and its accompanying infrastructure design and construction requirements were not warranted or viable. As an alternative to the typical subdivision process, the city proposed the idea of dividing the property through an official act of the city, thus creating a win-win situation where the property could be divided amongst the Unrein family and rights of way for Ogden Road and Rio Grande Avenue could be secured.
To that end, the city entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Unrein family outlining the framework for this public-private partnership. As outlined in the MOU, the city would have financial contributions to this project mostly in the form of survey costs and the construction of a sewer stub. However, even with these contributions, the net benefit to the city in securing these rights of way is positive.
CONTRACT AWARD - PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX CONSTRUCTION
City Council voted 5-0 to approve a contract with SHAW Construction for construction management and general contractor (CM/GC) services of all phases of the new Public Safety Complex (PSC) Construction Project in downtown Montrose.
SHAW Construction will begin working with the Owner’s Team as soon as possible.
The Owner’s Team, working on behalf of the city, has accepted proposals for CM/GC services for the construction of the PSC to allow SHAW to begin the pre-construction process. SHAW will assist with the cost estimating of early design concepts to be sure the design stays within budget constraints.
They will also help identify potential design issues that could arise when construction begins. The CM/GC will play a key role in the completion of this project and it will be beneficial to have their involvement as early as possible.
City Councilor Dave Bowman thanked the community and said the project is a result of the passage of Measure 2A last fall, which increased funding for public safety in the community.
City of Montrose Finance Director Shani Wittenberg delivered a sales tax collection report for May 2020.
Wittenberg said May 2020 sales tax collections were up 8.9 percent over May 2019, which is positive since the April report showed declines in collections as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall the 2020 budget has a slight positive variance of 4.2 percent.
Excise taxes collected in the month of May 2020 are all down with hotel taxes down 53 percent, followed by restaurant excise taxes, which were down 10 percent.
City Manager Bill Bell said he has been inspired by everyone he’s seen wearing a face-covering in public to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The state-wide mandate is temporary as public health officials try to flatten the infection curve in Colorado.
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.