Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, May 3, to interview potential new members to the City Council following the departure of councilor Roy Anderson last month, and learn about possible new lease agreements in the community.
Councilors Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, and Doug Glaspell met in City Council Chambers along with city staff. Councilor Dave Bowman was absent. Due to changing COVID-19 protocols, members of the public were allowed to attend in City Council Chambers. This was the first time the public was allowed to attend in person since the March 24, 2020, City Council meeting. Members of the public were also able to attend via the Zoom platform.
The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
Watch the meeting here.
CITY COUNCIL APPLICANT INTERVIEWS
City Councilors interviewed two candidates to potentially join the council following the departure of Roy Anderson from the council in April. Councilors met with Charlane (Charli) Oswald and J. David Reed to fill a council vacancy to serve in the council's District III seat.
To fill the vacancy in the District III City Council seat, applications were accepted from residents of all four districts in the event that the At-Large seat became available during the appointment process.
According to City Clerk Lisa DelPiccolo, applications were received from the following individuals by the deadline of 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, 2021:
• Jeff Rice - District II
• Anthony Russo - District - II
• Edward J. Ulibarri - District II
• Charlane (Charli) Oswald - District III
• J. David Reed - District III
• Richard (Rick) L. Fellabaum - District IV
• Kevin Moore - District IV
Because City Councilor Barbara Bynum opted to remain in the At-Large seat, only the two applicants residing in District III are eligible for appointment. Applicants J. David Reed and Charli Oswald meet all requirements to be considered for appointment to the vacant seat, according to DelPiccolo.
To serve on the council an applicant must be 18 years of age, a registered voter, and have a background free of felony convictions.
City Councilors will formally vote to appoint one applicant to fill the one vacancy at the Tuesday, May 4, regular meeting.
CDOT REVITALIZING MAIN STREET GRANT PROGRAM APPLICATION
City Councilors were briefed about a grant application the city intends to file with the Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, to help with local efforts to implement transportation-related projects.
City Grand Coordinator Kendall Cramer said CDOT's Revitalizing Main Streets Program was made possible through a $30 million allocation from the state legislature in March 2021 as part of Colorado’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan. This program is intended to help communities across the state implement transportation-related projects that improve safety and yield long-term benefits to Main Streets. The program, administered by CDOT, aims to support areas in or adjacent to community-focused downtowns where people work, dine, and shop.
As Colorado recovers from COVID-19 and returns to a new normal, this program provides grant funding to support local communities as they find innovative ways to reuse public spaces and help businesses reopen safely, while improving multi-modal safety and accessibility along urban arterials. This grant program focuses on Complete Streets. Complete Streets is an approach to planning and designing roadways that are safe, convenient, and comfortable for multi-modal transportation and users of all ages and abilities. Sidewalks, street crossings, pedestrian amenities, protected bicycle lanes and facilities, raised medians, and signal improvements are components of this approach and are eligible for funding.
Cramer said city staff recently met with CDOT and were encouraged to think creatively and to apply for the grant. CDOT is interested in assisting rural communities. The city has an interest in improving the infrastructure of Main Street and is currently working with Ayres Associates, Inc. to develop a conceptual design for the West Main Street corridor as part of an existing USEPA Brownfields grant. The City of Montrose seeks to apply for the “Larger Safety Infrastructure Grant” with CDOT in an amount of up to $2 million for improvements from the West Main Street Trailhead, east to Grand Avenue, with potential pedestrian and bicycle improvements extending further east to Townsend Avenue depending on final cost estimates. The proposed project focuses on safety improvements for users such as pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, transit users, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Goals of the proposed project include:
• Creating a road template that maximizes sidewalk width and pushes curb lines into the existing street to narrow it.
• Creating sidewalk modifications that will allow sidewalk seating and allow for streetscaping.
• Creating a sidewalk expansion that will result in a road diet to narrow lanes and eliminate parallel parking where it is not necessary, in favor of sidewalks and seating areas.
• Ensuring American Disability Act-compliant sidewalks at all driveways.
• Creating a bicycle path to facilitate transportation between Townsend Avenue and the West Main Trailhead (Complete Streets).
Improvements identified in the conceptual design are based on public input provided through the Comprehensive Plan development process. Additional engagement with the public and business owners will take place as part of the Brownfields grant and in the final construction design phase, if the grant is awarded.
CDOT recommends a 20-percent match. Grant applications are scored based on the proposed match amount. Therefore, city staff recommends a 20-percent match, not to exceed $400,000. The proposed match will be shared by the city’s general, water, retail sales enhancement, and capital funds. The total project shall not exceed $2.4 million. The grant application is due May 14, 2021.
Councilors will formally vote to approve Resolution 2021-08, which will authorize the city to file the application, at the Tuesday, May 4, regular council meeting.
LEASE AGREEMENT FOR 703 SOUTH 9TH STREET
City Councilors were presented with a lease agreement with the Montrose County School District for the use school district building that sits on city-owned property.
According to Ross Valdez, the city's community engagement specialist, the city and school district would like to enter a five-year lease agreement for the continued use of the building on the city's land located at 703 South 9th Street.
The city entered a 25-year lease with the Passage Charter School in 1998. Once the Passage Charter School dissolved, they sold their building to Montrose County School District and the lease for the land located at 703 South 9th Street was automatically terminated. A new lease was not created with the Montrose County School District. The city would like to like to enter into a new five-year lease with the school district in the amount of $10 per year.
City Councilors will vote to formally approve the lease at a future council meeting.
LEASE AGREEMENT FOR 514 SOUTH FIRST STREET
City Councilors were presented with a lease agreement with Straw Hat Farm Market & Kitchen Store located at 514 South First Street for an additional two years.
According to Ross Valdez, the city and the Straw Hat Farm entered into the current five-year lease in 2018, and it expires on February 28, 2023. City Council is considering a two-year extension of the existing lease, with minimal changes.
The final draft of the proposed lease shows changes to the existing lease, most notably the addition of language to clarify ownership of kitchen equipment. This change to the lease is necessary after the installation of a commercial kitchen on the premises. The request for an extension of the lease is the result of continued investment and improvements to the premises.
City Councilors will vote to formally approve the lease at a future council meeting.
UTILITY CONNECTION FEE ABATEMENTS FOR MONTROSE FORD
City Councilors were presented with an incentives package to aid Montrose Ford Nissan's project to expand its service department.
City Manager Bill Bell said the city's Development and Revitalization Team, DART, has met with Wes Abbott of Montrose Ford Nissan, MFN, to review plans to construct an 11,840 square-foot building to expand its service department. The expansion will add 15 service bays, one detail bay, and additional storage space. The bays will be equipped with high-capacity lifts, enabling MFN to work on medium and heavy-duty trucks and motor homes. The 15 service bays represent an 83-percent increase in service capacity over the current service facility.
Montrose Ford Nissan and the company that owns the real estate will be paying for this project with existing funds. With the building construction estimated at $750,000 and another $350,000 for equipment, the overall project cost of the new facility is estimated at $1,100,000.
Bell said the DART team is proposing an Economic Vitality Business Expansion Incentives Request for Montrose Ford in the amount of $32,734 to aid in the construction.
Building permit, plan check, and construction use fees abatements of $18,534, has already been pre-approved by the City Manager's Office according to Bell.
City Councilors will need to vote to approve $14,200 for water/sewer tap and connection fee abatements to connect the building to city utilities.
Bell said the DART team recommended the incentives request because the project has positive community impacts such as job creation and increased service delivery to the general public.
MFN moved into its current facility in 2001. At that time, Montrose County had an estimated population of approximately 33,000. According to Ford and Nissan calculations, there were 3,756 vehicles in MFN’s area of responsibility. While the 2020 census has not yet published, census.gov estimates the county’s population in 2019 was almost 43,000. Ford and Nissan calculate there to be 5,969 vehicles in MFN’s area of responsibility. These numbers represent large increases and, it is MFN’s opinion that Montrose and the surrounding area will continue to see strong growth in the coming years.
As the Montrose area has grown, the number of vehicles that are used for work has grown. Whether it is a large company, a governmental entity, a cooperative, or a one or two-vehicle sole proprietorship, these vehicles are vital to the livelihood of their owners. When a business vehicle is down, that business is not providing valuable goods or services to the community or revenue to its owner. With MFN’s current facility the wait time for vehicle repair is 1-3 days in winter months but balloons to 1-2 weeks in summer. Not only is this extremely detrimental to MFN’s customers, but also is also a good indicator there is demand for more capacity.
Western Colorado has grown in population, but also in tourism. Every summer and fall, tourists flock to western Colorado. Many tourists come in RVs that are built on Ford chassis. There is currently not a single Ford dealer west of the continental divide that is certified to work on Ford motorhomes. MFN’s new shop will be a Ford motorhome-certified shop that will have vehicles towed in from locations hundreds of miles away.
Initial staffing for this building will result in eight job positions with estimated cumulative annual wages of $490,000. An additional 3-5 positions are anticipated within five years.
• Senior Technician (1)
• Technician (3)
• Apprentice Technician (1)
• Detailer (1)
• Parts Assistant (1)
• Service Assistant (1)
MFN anticipates an initial increase of $30,000 in city tax revenue in the first year, with growth to $60,000 annually in five years.
City Councilors will vote to potentially approve the request at a future council meeting.
All City Council meetings are recorded and made available online via 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 the 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.