Reporter’s notebook: Glenwood Springs council wrapup for Oct. 1
Glenwood Springs City Council faced no immediately pressing decisions at the Oct. 1 meeting.
A couple of items have been already written about in the Post Independent: a 106-acre parcel of private land east of Walmart that could be donated to the city but which is known to have homeless encampments and a serious trash problem; and a water system update describing the risk of debris flows and the costs of treating water with more sediment than the water plant is accustomed to.
Following are highlights of the rest of the meeting.
Council wasted no time in voting unanimously to accept staff’s recommendation to keep the Blake Gate closed until a certificate of occupancy is issued for a building at the Bell Rippy development at some point in 2021. This vote was necessary because on July 23, City Council voted to open the gate in 2020 pending community outreach meetings and staff recommendations.
During council comments, Councilor Charlie Willman noted that the Take a Minute campaign signs have been out longer than city sign code allows.
City manger Debra Figueroa reminded council of an emergency ordinance waiving portions of the ordinance through October.
Mayor Jonathan Godes was leery of extending the waiver with a city election coming up in April, so Willman suggested extending the waiver for commercial businesses only.
Figueroa recommended the extension go through next summer as she anticipates a difficult winter for businesses.
That discussion ended with Figueroa offering to bring an extension to council for review at the next meeting.
Council was considering appointing members to the Historical Preservation Commission. There are four candidates and a bit of confusion about whether there are three or four openings on the board. The appointments were continued until the next meeting.
Council did spend about 15 minutes discussing whether Marice Doll should be allowed to serve a sixth term if city code limits appointees to two consecutive terms unless they are deemed “essential” for the operation of the commission.
Councilor Tony Hershey said, “I’m not a fan of term limits. I hate to lose someone who’s so knowledgeable.”
Councilor Steve Davis said, “We’re overthinking this. Without Marice that board might not continue to exist.”
Godes said that if council doesn’t think the code makes sense then council should change the code.
No action was taken.
Stefan Johnson, transportation program manager for CLEER, gave a slide presentation for GoEV City, a statewide campaign to increase electric vehicle use.
Should Glenwood opt in and sign a resolution, the plan calls for the city to transition its fleet to zero emission vehicles and subsequently to work toward zero emission buses, taxis and private vehicles.
Charging stations would need to be built for the new city fleet, prompting Councilor Paula Stepp to ask about the cost of the stations.
Johnson said they cost $9,000 on average, and grants are available for that amount.
The discussion concluded with Johnson offering to send over sample resolutions for review and working with Public Works director Matt Langhorst to determine infrastructure costs.
Youth basketball permit
During public comment Cassandra Irving of Game On Camps in Glenwood Springs expressed her desire to hold a championship youth outdoor basketball tournament in Sayre Park with the players not wearing masks.
During the summer Irving hosted basketball clinics with maskless players and reported no cases of COVID-19.
Dendy Heisel of Glenwood Springs and Ann O’Brien of Carbondale also spoke in favor of allowing the tournament.
Figueroa said that the state highly discourages contact sports, and the city needs to follow the advice of health experts.
“We support them playing with guidelines, and unfortunately those guidelines are masks,” she said.
Council was not swayed to overturn staff’s decision to deny the permit.
Among the items on the consent agenda was a resolution from City Council expressing support of the Colorado River Water Conservation District’s ballot question 7A.
The district works to keep water on the Western Slope.
7A would raise almost $5 million in additional tax revenues in 2021 (which amounts to approximately $1.90 for every $100,000 in residential property value), and such amounts as are generated annually thereafter from an additional property tax levy of .248 mills (for a total mill levy of 0.5 mills), according to the ballot language.
Despite Hershey’s objection to the resolution at the Sept. 17 councilor meeting, the consent agenda passed unanimously.
Figueroa gave a presentation outlining the city’s accomplishments of 2019 and the highlights of the 2020 budget.
Councilor Shelley Kaup moved to authorize the budget for review with Godes seconding. The motion passed unanimously, and the budget will be subject to public comment in an upcoming council meeting.
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