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Posted on: August 15, 2023

Blog: CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION: Monday, August 14, 2023

Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, August 14, to meet new city employees, review the ongoing 2023 capital projects list, review the results from a stormwater fee study, and review potential changes to the contract involving the sale of the historic City Hall building. 

Mayor Barbara Bynum and councilors Dave Frank, Doug Glaspell, David Reed, and Ed Ulibarri met in the City Council Chambers at the Elks Civic Building along with city staff.

The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting. 

Watch the meeting here.

CITIZEN INTERACTIVE SESSION

Before the start of the work session, the council held its first Citizen Interactive Session where members of the public can speak one-on-one with councilors. On Monday, a group of local advocates for recycling voiced their support for the City of Montrose to continue its recycling program. Currently, the city has an open survey (LINK) to gauge public support for trash and recycling services in the face of possible changes in the program. The survey is open until August 25. 

Watch the session here.

INTRODUCTION OF NEW CITY EMPLOYEES

City Councilors were introduced to three new employees:

  • Eric Williams - Public Works facilities team 
  • Donna Rousse - Black Canyon Golf Course 
  • Ashley Edmier - Montrose Animal Shelter 

2023 CAPITAL PROJECTS UPDATE

City Councilors were joined by staff to discuss an overview of the 2023 Capital Projects. 

City Engineer Scott Murphy and Public Works Director Jim Scheid discussed capital projects in 2023 and looked toward 2024. 

  • 6700 Road: The intersection at Sunnyside Road is now open. More work needs to be done on 6700 Road at its intersection with Miami Road. City crews will begin working on Miami Road to fix issues near the canal at Cedar Cemetery. On 6700 Road, all infrastructure is now in place and paving is expected to begin on October 10. 
  • Anderson Road: Roadbase and concrete work is nearly complete on this dirt road located off S Townsend Avenue. Paving should be complete before the end of the year. 
  • South 3rd Street: The new pedestrian plaza on South 3rd Street next to Colorado Mesa University is nearly complete. 
  • MoveMo: Budgeted street maintenance is ongoing throughout the city. Junction Road required a new waterline under the roadway before completing a new build of the roadway. Odelle Road will have a new dedicated turn lane. A number of roadways are receiving slurry seals this year in an effort to preserve them and create a more durable surface. 
  • Block 93: The sewer line in the back alley in Block 93 had collapsed and work to complete the sewer and asphalt upgrades is ongoing. 
  • San Juan Airport Waterline: The waterline relocations near the Montrose Regional Airport are ongoing. 
  • Airport Signal at Montrose Regional Airport: The city’s work to contribute to a new signal at the Montrose Regional Airport is ongoing. 
  • Niagara-Hillcrest Roundabout: Underground work in preparation for a roundabout at the intersection of Niagara and Hillcrest are ongoing. 
  • West Main Revitalization: The city received a $2 million dollar grant from CDOT to widen West Main Street to include new sidewalks and bike lanes. The design phase and constructions is expected to begin in 2025. 
  • Otter Pond Dam: The Otter Pond HOA is working with the State of Colorado to rebuild the pond’s dam located on the northwest side of the pond. 
  • City Hall Phase 3 Design: The exterior of City Hall is expected to be replaced in 2024. Design and plans are moving quickly with work expected to begin in March 2024. 
  • New Buckley Park Playground: A new playground at Buckley Park is expected to be completed by the end of October. 
  • Solar Panels on Public Safety Complex: Solar panels are expected to be installed on the parking garage by the end of the year. 
  • Cerise Park Storage Building: A new storage building in Cerise Park will be completed by the end of spring 2024. 
  • New Street Lights: The city’s effort to upgrade all city street lights with energy-efficient LED lights is ongoing. 
  • New Wayfinding Signs: The city will finish installing new wayfinding signs throughout the city by the end of September. 

STORMWATER UTILITY FEE STUDY RESULTS

Carollo Engineers Representative Cody Berg presented the results of the Stormwater Utility Fee Study that was conducted this summer. 

The options presented for discussion are the culmination of several months of research and work performed by Carollo Engineers under a contract awarded to the company in October 2022. This study was initiated to provide a recommendation for rate fee structures for the City Council to consider, based on  benchmarks in the industry and structures used by other agencies within the state of Colorado

One approach recommended in the study would be to implement a monthly stormwater fee based on a property’s impact on the stormwater system. The stormwater utility fee structure would provide a predictable and sustainable funding source to properly maintain and update the stormwater system. 

Berg said the study examined similar-sized cities across the Western Slope and the State of Colorado, as well as cities that have complex and robust stormwater systems. 

The study complied rate structures, benefits and challenges in municipal stormwater collection systems. 

The next steps for the council and staff are to consider options for possible rate structures and decide whether to create a city storm drain master plan to help gauge where investment is needed. 

PROPOSITION 123 AFFORDABLE HOUSING OPT-IN INFORMATION

City Councilors were presented with a proposal for the City of Montrose to opt-in to state funding to increase the number of affordable housing units in the community. 

Community Development Specialist Christopher Ottinger, along with Planning Manager Jace Hochwalt, said the City of Montrose has the opportunity to opt-in to state funding that is specifically focused on increasing affordable housing stock as well as housing and services for the homeless population. This funding is available to local governments as well as non-profits, land trusts, tribes, and private developers.

Proposition 123 is a citizen-initiated ballot measure that seeks to address funding gaps in affordable housing and homelessness through two dedicated housing funds at the state level. The mechanism of funding is 0.1% or ±$300M from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) annual refunds that would have otherwise been remitted back to state taxpayers. These monies are managed by two different agencies, the Division of Housing (DOH) and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). They will be splitting the funding 40% and 60% respectively. OEDIT’s programs will be administered by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA). Each agency has specific programs that address housing and homelessness.

With limited state funding for affordable housing, Proposition 123 provides the opportunity for jurisdictions, large and small, to take advantage of state funds. In addition, Proposition 123 has more flexibility and uses than federal housing resources, while also serving higher incomes. If a jurisdiction has opted into the program and a project is awarded funding, that funding can be used in a variety of ways, ranging from providing gap funding for existing projects to purchasing and holding land for the purpose of future affordable housing development.

The proposition includes an instrument to require local municipalities and counties to commit to increasing their “baseline” affordable housing units by 3% a year or 9% in total for 3 years. This “Opt-In” was enacted to encourage the active participation of local governments in affordable housing development. Starting in 2026, these local governments must also have enacted a “fast track program” for affordable housing development. Details on this portion of the program are still pending. The baseline housing unit count was determined by examining and calculating data from the 2017-2021 American Community Survey (ACS), conducted by the US Census Bureau, and the Comprehensive Affordability Housing Strategies provided by HUD. 

IMPLEMENTATION

The commitment for the City of Montrose, as determined by the Division of Housing, is 54 units per year or 162 units over 3 years. This is the lower of the two calculated baselines, using the ACS data.To officially opt-in to the program the City Council would need to approve an official resolution. 

AMENDMENTS TO THE CONTRACT FOR THE SALE OF HISTORIC CITY HALL

City Councilors were presented with proposed amendments to the contract to sell the historic City Hall building. 

Earlier this year, City Councilors voted 4-1 to approve Ordinance 2617, authorizing the sale of the city’s historic City Hall located at 433 South First Street for use as a functional educational facility and world-class hotel to be known as the Rathbone Hotel. 

Proceeds from the sale will be contributed to a permanent endowment fund in collaboration with the Colorado Mesa University Foundation for further expansion of the CMU-Montrose physical campus and its program offerings.

City Attorney Ben Morris said the amendment would extend the closing date of the sale of City Hall until August 15, 2024. 

STAFF REPORTS

City Event Coordinator Katie Schroer said the city’s FUNC Fest this past weekend was a great success with thousands of people in attendance. This year’s FUNC Fest was the first two-day event since 2019. 

 •••

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.

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