GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - City Council approved an ordinance to allow the Downtown Development Authority to hire a part-time administration position. The change would relieve city manager Jeff Hecksel from his duties as executive director.
"Essentially what this ordinance does is it removed me as the executive director of the DDA," Hecksel said. "And it allows them to hire, in this particular case, what they consider a contract position to perform the duties of an executive director."
The 2010 DDA budget contains $60,000 for the part-time contract position, which would be funded by the sales tax portion of the DDA's budgeted revenue. However it requires a change in city ordinance to hire the position, according to a memo from Hecksel.
The authority is comprised of downtown business owners that handle capital improvement projects to promote downtown businesses. The authority is mostly volunteers, and it hired a full-time director in 2002 but failed to generate a revenue stream to pay the position's salary of around $100,000 per year. The position was terminated in 2004.
The DDA currently owes the city roughly $300,000 for the salary of the position for three years, and has agreed to pay back the funds at $30,000 per year for the next 10 years - interest free.
At the time the position was terminated, City Council decided that the city manager would be responsible for the duties. But, "the DDA would now like to hire their own executive director," Hecksel wrote in the memo.
The DDA board requested the change in the ordinance so they could hire a person who could dedicate more time to the needs of the downtown projects.
"Hiring its own staff will have an effect on the ability of the DDA to undertake capital projects, but it will allow the DDA to function more as the community originally envisioned when the DDA was formed," Hecksel wrote in his memo.
Hecksel added that city staff currently has limited time to support the DDA, and it has impacted the authority's ability to progress as a full-fledged DDA.
Council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance at the Dec. 17 meeting.
The DDA's primary source of funding comes from Tax Increment Financing (TIF), part of which is paid through property taxes and the majority from sales taxes collected within the DDA area.
While it was previously thought that the authority could not use the TIF funds to pay for operational costs, the DDA treasurer and city finance director determined that, in fact, the sales tax portions of revenues can be used to pay for such costs.
Councilor Shelley Kaup, who is City Council's representative on the DDA board, said that the position is to be a split position between the DDA and the Downtown Partnership. Kaup said that the Downtown Partnership would also contribute a portion to the position's salary. She also said that the DDA board has not determined if the position would be a contract position or a part-time position, yet.
The DDA will put out for the position a request for proposal, which will determine the ultimate salary for the job, according to Hecksel.
"I think that is yet to be determined," Hecksel said. "I think the way the board is contemplating it, at this point, is there will be a set of duties and responsibilities included in the request for proposal, and it will be a cost based on those duties and responsibilities."
Hecksel added that the $60,000 was only an estimate at this point, but that the salary could end up being more or less than that amount depending on the proposals. A second reading of the ordinance is required for final approval.