Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, April 17, to meet new city employees, hear a spring runoff forecast, and consider a number of contracts for ongoing city projects.
Councilors Barbara Bynum, Mayor Dave Frank, Doug Glaspell, David Reed, and Ed Ulibarri met in the Community Room at the Montrose Public Safety Complex along with city staff.
The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
Watch the meeting here.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW CITY EMPLOYEES
City Councilors were introduced to two new city employees.
- Katie Parish - Animal Control Officer
- Jon Sullivan - Public Works Special Events Manager
EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT PRESENTATION
City Councilors heard from a local Boy Scout who is working towards his rank of Eagle Scout and has selected the Montrose community as the primary beneficiary of his Eagle Scout project.
Jack Flower is performing a public service by raising local awareness of recycling as well as helping his community to better understand its benefits.
An Eagle Scout Service Project is an opportunity for a Scout to demonstrate leadership while performing a project for the benefit of any religious institution, any school, or his community.
Flower said he would organize his troop to help with recycling at the June 2 Montrose Summer Music Series concert. The troop is working with the local non-profit Montrose Recycles group, which has also offered to help at the concert.
ORDINANCE CLARIFYING CHARTER QUALIFICATIONS FOR CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES
City Councilors were presented with an ordinance to clarify portions of the city’s charter.
Assistant City Attorney Matt said the proposed ordinance states: “the following of Article I Governmental Powers and Legislative Officials, Section 7 of the Official Charter of the City of Montrose, Colorado is hereby clarified pursuant to Article X, Section 3 of the Charter to insert a usage footnote intended to guide a reviewing court of competent jurisdiction, to read in full as follows:
FN1 Standards of Interpretation: If any provision of the language of this section is subjected to challenge before a court of competent jurisdiction, the canon of constitutional avoidance to interpret the language of this section for harmony and the constituency with all parts of the Constitution of the State of Colorado may be used without a predicate finding of ambiguity.”
Magliaro said changing the city’s Charter requires a vote of the people through a local municipal election. This ordinance simply cleans up portions of the Charter.
2023 WATER SUPPLY AND RUNOFF FORECAST
City Engineer Scott Murphy delivered a water supply and runoff forecast for 2023 following a winter that returned healthy snowfall totals to the region.
Murphy said the presentation is made to the City Council each year to give an update about winter snowpack and how that relates to the city’s water supply.
The city receives about 10,000 acre-feet of water from Blue Mesa via the Gunnison Tunnel. Murphy said Ridgway Reservoir will fill without any problem this year. Currently, the reservoir is releasing water while it is filling with snowmelt from the San Juan Mountains.
Murphy said the city currently uses about 4,000 of the 10,000 acre-feet that it is allotted each year.
“So we have room to grow,” Murphy said.
Murphy said water forecasts for Blue Mesa are looking good with major controlled releases “off the table,” at this time.
With regard to Lake Powell, Murphy said the reservoir will gain some this year due to the heavy winter snowfall, but the reservoir is far from having enough water to be stable. Murphy said any proposed cuts to the Colorado River system are not predictable at this time. The Colorado River system and its 12 million acre-feet of water currently supplies 40 million people across the American West. Murphy said recent studies suggest 3-4 million acre-feet of water could be cut in order to preserve Lake Powell and Lake Mead, but those decisions have not been made at this time.
Murphy also gave an update about spring runoff and how it affects city residents. There have been reports of flooding in some county areas just outside of the Montrose city limits. Murphy said there is no flooding danger within the city limits.
BLOCK 93 SEWER PLACEMENT CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT
City Councilors were presented with a recommendation to award a construction contract to Skip Huston Construction in the amount of $468,105 for the Block 93 Sewer Replacement Project.
City Engineer Scott Murphy said Block 93 is the first alley north of Main Street between Cascade and Townsend Avenues.
As is typical in this area of the city, the sanitary sewer lines are located within the alleys along with other utilities such as power, natural gas, and communication lines. This particular sewer line has reached the end of its life, has experienced pipe failures in several areas, and is in need of replacement. In addition to the main east-west alleyway line, a line running north from the alley to North 1st Street is also in need of replacement. Downstream of Block 93 on the western side of Townsend Avenue, it is also necessary to insert manholes at each end of the alley in front of AutoZone in order to facilitate the future lining of this sewer line.
Given the constricted nature of the alleyway, the east-west replacement will be performed using trenchless technologies. Where more space is available, the remaining work on the project will be performed using conventional open-cut excavations.
Murphy said the city received three bids for the work. The low bidder, Skip Huston Construction, is considered qualified to perform the work and the city has recent positive experience working with them on multiple projects. The city’s local preference policy would not change the outcome of bidding in this case.
STREET LIGHT UPGRADE PROJECT AND DMEA MOU AUTHORIZATION
City Councilors heard a recommendation for the authorization of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with DMEA for the Streetlight Upgrade Project in the amount of $110,000.
Public Works Manager Jim Scheild said the City of Montrose currently has approximately 1900 streetlights on a variety of street types and most of these fixtures are a High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) or Mercury Vapor (MV) type. These fixtures were originally installed in the 1950s and 1960s and have been the primary type for street lighting until the 2010s when Light-emitting Diode (LED) fixtures were introduced to the market. Over the last 10 years, as the HPS or MV fixtures have failed or needed replacement in the City of Montrose, about 500 have been replaced with LED fixtures.
The proposed MOU will equip DMEA to systematically replace the remaining HPS and MV fixtures with LED as part of the Streetlight Upgrade Project, which is expected to take about 4 years to complete.
Shield said there are several reasons that motivate the initiation of this project:
- Financial Benefit - LED fixtures have a higher upfront cost to install but use less electricity. The reduced cost of the electricity consumed would offset the cost of the upgraded fixture in about 2.3 years.
- Energy Efficiency – The Envision 2040 Comprehensive Plan has goals regarding energy efficiency and conservation (Goal HE-7 Energy and Water Conservation).
- Dark Sky Principles – This project meets some of the principles of Dark Skies Responsible Outdoor Lighting by properly shielding lighting, utilizing light that has a purpose, and using lower light levels (lumens) where applicable.
- Street Network Organization – City Staff have worked with DMEA staff to generate an MOU that specifies the LED fixture type to be utilized based on street type and use.
Upon authorization of this MOU, DMEA would begin replacing fixtures up to the 2023 budgeted amount of $110,000. DMEA is expected to continue this project over the next 3 years (4 years total) to complete the upgrade of all of the HPS and MV fixtures to LED. The continuation of this project will be dependent on funding available for future budget years.
Net Financial Impact
This project was included in the 2023 budget in the Streets Division Budget.
MPSC SOLAR PANELS AWARD RECOMMENDATION
City Councilors were asked to consider authorizing a contract with Atlasta Solar for the installation of a solar panel system at the Montrose Public Safety Complex (MPSC) in the amount of $205,506.
Public Works Manager Jim Scheid said that as the construction process of the Montrose Public Safety Complex (MPSC) concludes, city staff is able to identify and recommend elements that may have been excluded earlier in the construction project.
This is the case with a solar panel system that was an “add alternate” option in 2021 for the MPSC project. At that time SHAW Construction received bids for the add alternate and Atlasta Solar of Grand Junction was selected as the contractor to perform this work. However, the add alternate was not accepted due to the unstable market and the project risks that were still present at that time. The addition of solar panels is an item that is easy to add at the end of the project without additional expense.
Since the project is ending and the contract with SHAW Construction is being closed out, city staff recommends contracting directly with Atlasta Solar using the pricing provided to SHAW.
Atlasta’s pricing includes several options for the size and cost of the solar panels. The option recommended would cover all 4 of the covered parking structures with solar panels. While the option does exist to cover 1, 2, 3, or all 4 of the structures with solar panels, the more panels that are installed the higher the output and efficiency of the system.
Net Financial Impact
In August of 2021, the City Council authorized a total of $17.8 million for the SHAW Construction contract and the owner’s contingency. As the project comes to a conclusion there is approximately $350,000 remaining in the owner’s contingency.
This amount remains in the Public Safety Fund as a part of the original authorization but was not budgeted to be expended in 2023. The recommended authorization of $205,506 includes a 5% contingency should there be unforeseen expenses with the installation of the solar panels.
CITY HALL PROJECT DISCUSSION
City Councilors were presented with a proposal to rehabilitate the facade of the new City Hall located at 400 East Main Street.
Public Works Manager Jim Scheild said the purchase price of the new City Hall included funds to rehabilitate the outside of the building.
A number of options have been presented to the council over the past couple of months that replaces the existing white brick with a facade that blends in more with the rest of the Montrose downtown.
The council debated at length over a variety of options that would best use the remaining budget for the project and get the most public benefit from the work itself.
More information about this project will be released once it becomes available.
SANITARY SEWER RATE STUDY RECOMMENDATION
City Councilors considered a recommendation for the approval of a contract with Carollo Engineers in an amount not to exceed $70,000 to perform a sanitary sewer cost of service analysis and develop an updated rate structure to fairly recover the wastewater treatment costs from various types of customers.
Utilities Manager David Bries said the current sanitary sewer rate structure was developed approximately 20 years ago and is in need of updating based on regulatory changes, changes in customer types, and billing system capabilities.
Carollo Engineers have performed several projects at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant to assist staff in operating it to meet the regulatory requirements, identifying aging components that are near the end of their life, and developing a capital improvement plan to meet upcoming regulatory changes. They have a good understanding of the cost centers for the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Additionally, they were the firm selected to perform the Storm Sewer Utility Feasibility Study.
Carollo has estimated the cost of the study to be $59,946. The proposed not to exceed cost would provide an additional $10,000 if there is further work to refine the rates to meet staff’s expectations and to efficiently work with the city’s billing system.
NET FINANCIAL IMPACT
Funding for a sanitary sewer rate study is included in the 2023 Budget. The costs are proposed to be spread between the Sewer Collection ($40,000), Wastewater Treatment ($45,000), and Industrial Pretreatment ($15,000) programs.
City Planning Manager Jace Hochwalt said the city is planning an open house around the first of May to discuss findings from a recent housing needs assessment. More information will be released once it becomes available.
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 and on-demand through the city’s Public Meetings Portal.