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City Council Meeting, October 21, 2013

by on October 22, 2013
All council members were in attendance: Bob Fifer, Mark McGoff, Rachel Zenzinger, Mayor Marc Williams, Bob Dyer, Shelley Cook, and Don Allard.

Minutes from October 7 meeting were approved.

This was Shelley Cook’s last business meeting, and the city staff put together a video in her honor. Shelley had two different stints on the council, from 1995 to 2001, and again from 2009 to 2013.

In the video, Mayor Williams introduced Shelley as a “tenacious advocate for the citizens of her district” and said she has been very responsive to the concerns of those citizens.

Shelley outlined ten things to know about being on city council: They are sometimes as frustrated as the citizens are; Arvada’s form of government is comprised of a city council which hires and supervises a city manager; local government is for providing services directly to the citizens, it’s responsive and can provide remedies for all sorts of problems; that Arvada is required by charter to pass a balanced annual budget, and that there is supposed to be a 19% surplus for exigencies; that the council’s decisions are not made arbitrarily and that they would prefer earlier citizen involvement, and that the principles of accountability, fairness, openness and transparency continue to be important; that council is non-partisan; that being on the council allows one to see their plans ripple through generations–for example, the Gold Line has been in the works for over 20 years and is starting to come to fruition; that local governments focus on density with good reason, including help for the air quality, infrastructure, health benefits, limiting sprawl, and allowing space for more rural areas in the surrounding parts of town; and, finally, that anyone can get involved–there are many ways to make a difference including volunteering on boards. Running for office is a life altering experience which is both terrifying and rewarding.

CLRC members gathered at the podium to thank Shelley and said that they hope she will continue being involved in this community.

A representative of the Gold Corridor Stakeholder’s Committee, representing eight stations (including Union Station) invited citizens and council to attend a forum to be held October 30 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Wheat Ridge Rec Center, 4005 Kipling. For more info, go to drcog.org. This forum is intended to bring together all Gold Corridor stake holders and find common goals. The representative said that Arvada is considered a leader in the area for all the work that’s been done on the stations. The forum will be an open house, with lots of activities.

Judith Denham from the Festivals Commission invited everyone to the 7th annual Wines For the Holiday, November 15, 2013 from 6 to 8:30 at the Standley Lake Library. There will be 100 different wines from seven front range wineries, hors d’oeuvres from six local caterers, a silent auction which features a getaway and some sports items, and live entertainment including the Mile High Jazz Combo. The event is a fundraiser for the Arvada Community Food Bank and the Caring Clinic. Reservations are $35 apiece. The event raised $17,000 in 2012 and the goal this year is to do at least that well.

Dot Wright, President of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, spoke about a personal friend and local businessman, Danny Cheyer, co-owner of the Silver Vines Winery in Olde Town. Mr. Cheyer has been diagnosed with an extremely rare disease called NMO or Devic’s disease. There will be a fundraiser on November 16 at 5 p.m. at the winery and proceeds will go to the Devic’s disease foundation. For more information, see silvervineswinery.com.

Mayor Williams and Bob Dyer both endorsed Silver Vines and said that it would be good to make the effort to stop in to the winery and see if there is anything a volunteer could do; that we need to be supportive of the winery and not just attend this event.

Next were resolutions:

13-135, Church Ditch Water Authority Licensing Agreement
13-136, Non-Exclusive Utility Easement to Public Service Company at Westwoods
13-137, Non-Exclusive Utility Easement, Public Service Company, Lake Arbor Community Station
13-138, Agreement between City of Arvada and CTM, Inc., for Leyden Creek Park Revitalization Project, approximately $367,000.

All resolutions passed, 7 to 0.

The next resolution was about an agreement (memorandum of understanding, or MOU) between the City of Arvada, Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District, and Wanco, Inc.

Wanco is an Arvada manufacturer of traffic signs, one of only three major companies in the world which manufacture variable message boards. This 200-employee family company has been in existence since 1984, and in Arvada since 1998 in their facility at 59th and Tennyson. Their 165,000 square foot facility has become too small and the question became how to stay in Arvada but be able to expand substantially to meet their requirements.
This agreement will make partners of Hyland Hills, Wanco, and Arvada by creating a new regional park plus a 100,000 square foot expansion for Wanco. They will be able to add 75 to 100 new employees, making them one of Arvada’s largest employers. Deputy City Manager Bill Ray said that the first phase will begin immediately after the master plan is adopted, and should be completed just as the Gold Line is finished.

Bob Fifer asked if the park will be annexed into Arvada. Mr. Ray said that, although the matter at hand is a memorandum of understanding and not decisive of those sorts of details, that annexation makes sense. Bob Fifer agreed. Don Allard commended the staff for completing a complicated negotiation. Shelley Cooke called it an “elegant solution” and said that the jobs provided will be very high-quality, well-paying jobs. Mayor Williams said that it was of great importance not to lose a major employer, and that the plan also meets the needs of the recreation district.

This resolution, #13-139, passed 7 to 0.

Next item: Rezoning for Panera Bread Cafe at 64th and Yank.

The main discussion about this was between the management of Springwood Retirement Community, which will border the plot of land to be used for not only a Panera Bread Cafe, but also a proposed Noodles & Co. Restaurant, and the representatives of those two businesses. Springwood’s concerns include light shining into the retirement cottages, noise and disruption relating to drive-throughs, and the manner in which trash and cleaning of grease traps are handled.

Sean Kaiser of the Colorado Restaurant Assn. and Arvada Chamber of Commerce gave some statistics about the restaurant industry. Restaurant job growth outpaces other industries across the board, in the U. S. workforce. There are expected to be 1.3 million new restaurant jobs added in the next decade. For every $1 spent in restaurants, there is $1.15 in additional sales in the state’s economy. Colorado has over 239,000 restaurant jobs, which is expected to grow substantially by the year 2023. Congressman Perlmutter’s district, including the Arvada area, is second to last in the number of restaurants in Colorado. Last, Mr. Kaiser said that Panera Bread is a very good community citizen, giving back and committed to combating hunger. It is, he said, an excellent fit for the location.

The site is 1.65 acres, with Panera expected to use 4,620 square feet for a 240-seat facility, and Noodles & Co 2,010 square feet for an 80 seat facility. The Noodles & Co. restaurant is still being negotiated.

Matters between Springwood and Panera’s representatives were tentatively settled, with boundaries being set for the hours of operation, plus landscaping and fencing to block light.

This resolution was approved 7 to 0.

The following items, CB-13-029, 040, 041, and 042, concerned appropriating funds for the 2014 fiscal year budget. The city is changing from a formatted budget to a performance based budget, which will be discussed in more detail later in the meeting.

Some new positions are being added, bringing staffing levels to 694 positions in 2014. It is worth noting that in 2009, there were 707 positions authorized and levels have been lower than that, during the recession.

Line items in the budget were discussed. An item of particular interest to Councilman Dyer was the condition of Arvada’s outdoor art. Funding for maintenance of the art, most of which is at the Arvada Center, has not been available for about two years. Mr. Dyer expressed a desire to have a budget allocated in the approximate amount of $55,000 next year, to catch up, and then about $50,000 following that until the maintenance is caught up. The budget may need to be amended to include such maintenance.

There was discussion about greens fees at Lake Arbor and West Woods. Councilman Dyer said that if the costs to users increase, it will be important to make sure the people are happy with the conditions; for example, not to raise the cost of carts but remove the GPS in those carts.

There was a presentation by Edward Stafford of the City Manager’s Office, regarding the implications of the change to a performance based budget. All city departments are expected to have the change completed by March of 2014. Essentially, he said, it requires a series of actions to be completed by each department: coming up with a mission statement for each department stating what they do, and for whom, and what results are expected as the result of their labors; then, a set of strategies to achieve those results, and by the 2015-2016 budget cycle, all departments’ budgets will be performance-based. There will be quarterly performance updates starting in 2014.

Mark McGoff asked if the budget will be longer next year due to some restructuring of the way it is written as a performance based budget utilizing “lines of business” and individual “programs”. For example, the Utilities Department will have nine lines of business and 25 programs. Mr. Stafford said the budget will indeed be longer. “I can’t wait to read it,” said Mr. McGoff.

CB13-038, 140, 141, and 142 all passed 7 to 0.

CB13-039 regards the Arvada Mill Levy. It will not be increasing. There were no public comments. It passed 7 to 0.

CB 13-040, 041, and 042 pertain to Water User Rates, Wastewater Rates, and Utilities (Water Fees.) Jim Sullivan, Director of Utilities, presented graphs showing the relative costs of those items here in Arvada, compared to the surrounding areas. There is an increase expected, which would add approximately $2.00 per month to each customer’s bill.

There was discussion about flood damage. FEMA is expected to contribute 75% of the $350,000 costs for repairs, and Colorado the remaining 25%. This is not certain, however.

CB-13-040, 041, and 042 were all approved, 7 to 0.

Reports from city council included Bob Fifer’s rundown on the Scarecrow Festival. He said it was well-attended. He begged off judging the pumpkin-related food next time, however, as it was a lot of food and too much for one person to digest happily at one time.

Rachel Zenzinger discussed the Child and Youth Leadership Committee’s workshop. The topic was child prostitution and trafficking, which is on the increase in Jefferson County. This needs to be a focus area. Rachel said she was “stunned by the prevalence” of this problem, and that it is sobering to see the extent of it. She believes our municipal judges would benefit from special training in the problem. She said that research shows that children who run away and are gone from home longer than a week have a 90% chance of falling victim to sex trafficking.

Shelley Cook thanked her constituents, the other council members, and the city staff.

Mayor Williams said that AURA has agreed to purchase the vacant Safeway building for much less than its appraised value. They also have an option to purchase the neighboring building which houses, among other businesses, the Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant. AURA does not own, nor intend to own, the former Blockbuster building, which is now going to be home to an emergency medical facility. Mayor Williams said the question for now is how to repurpose the Safeway building between now and when the major projects go in on that side of Ralston Road.

The City Council next voted on the proposal to cancel the November 4 City Council meeting, the night before the election. Mr. Allard said that if the workshop was going to be long and complicated he’d prefer to split it into two meetings and have the second one on the 4th as a substitute for the regular business meeting of the council. He said that, as “the only candidate” in the election, he wouldn’t have much to do the night before the election anyway, and that going too long in a workshop means that the last one or two items don’t get the attention they deserve.

Bob Dyer said that he will be absent. Shelley Cook said the clerk might be busy the night before the election. Bob Dyer said that the traditional reason for not having a meeting the night before elections, is so that the outgoing members can’t pass questionable items that the new members have to live with.

Mr. Ray said the workshop won’t be that intensive and there would be no need to split them. Mayor Williams said he prefers to keep the workshop all in one meeting and that all members be able to attend. Mark McGoff agreed that Bob Dyer’s presence at the workshop would be very valuable.

The motion to cancel the November 4 city council meeting passed 6 to 1 with Mr. Allard dissenting.

Finally, Mr. Ray said there are many citizen opportunities with the RTD advisory committee. Applications are being accepted through October 25.

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