Town Board Meeting: October 14, 201912 min read
Hi neighbors! In last Monday night’s Town Board Work Session and Meeting, we held a working session with the Superior Chamber of Commerce, interviewed two potential new Advisory Committee members, discussed our 2020 Town Budget, approved an ordinance allowing both medical and retail marijuana delivery, and began discussing our next steps for airport noise following the September 30th joint session with Louisville and our hired consultants. Ready to find out more on what happened? As usual, you may read this post in written form, or scroll to the bottom for a video recap.
Disclaimer: While I do my best to represent an honest and accurate portrayal of meetings and events, the following should be considered an editorial that represents one person’s interpretation of the meetings. At the request of my fellow Board members, I am keeping their points anonymous rather than trying to attribute my interpretation to them personally. For the most unbiased and complete information, I would encourage residents to watch the meeting video itself and draw their own conclusions – visit the town website at SuperiorColorado.gov for the official meeting video and meeting minutes. Finally, I’d also encourage you to check out EngagedCitizens.us, which is a fantastic free tool created by one of our own residents. Engaged Citizens includes a repository of agendas, documents, and meeting videos, and allows you to search within a video to jump to critical parts. I hope you find it as helpful as I do!
Monday’s Board Meeting kicked off with a working session with the Superior Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Executive Director TJ Sullivan talked about his goals for the year since coming into his position in January, and discussed the progress he’s already made toward helping the community and growing the Chamber membership (of the 250 members, 48 are new since January). Executive Director Sullivan talked about his desire to move from being a 3P Chamber (parades, pageants, and parties) to being a modern 3C Chamber (catalysts, conveners, and champions) – click here to read more on that concept.
Later during the regular Board meeting, our Board of Trustees would be discussing the Chamber’s ask for more money from the Town ($40,000) to support operations. As such, there was a lot of focus during the work session on the value of the Chamber to the community, and various Chamber Board members chimed in to talk about the significant impact the Chamber and its programming have had on their businesses. Chamber Board member Barbara Jaynes asked that we (the Superior Board of Trustees) try to keep the Chamber abreast of businesses that may be thinking about coming to Superior, so they can be part of the wooing process – which I completely agree with. We’ve heard that the Chamber has been successful in influencing some of our current businesses to locate here rather than in surrounding communities (e.g., Goldfish Swim School); I would love to see us work together to attract more businesses.
The work session ended with two interviews for appointments to Advisory Committees – Alan Spann applied for our Parks, Recreation, Open Space, and Trails Advisory Committee (PROSTAC), and Rebecca Ho applied to be on our Advisory Committee for Environmental Sustainability (ACES).
Item 2D – Board Reports
During Board reports, as we talked about our previous meetings, several Board members noted our attendance at the joint study session with Louisville City Council on airport noise. While I didn’t provide a full recap, I did write up my thoughts on the airport meeting here, and also linked to the recently-posted video of the session. Next steps would be addressed later in the night, in item 6 on the agenda.
Item 2E – Public Comment
During public comment, resident Gladys Forshee announced that this year’s Cookies with Veterans event on November 11th would have a baking contest attached; see details below:
I am looking forward to attending and bringing some cookies to enter in the contest, though haven’t yet decided on what kind I’ll make. I love to cook, but am not much of a baker, so winning cookie recipe suggestions welcome… I need all the help I can get 🙂
The co-chairs of our Cultural Arts & Public Spaces (CAPS) committee, Daryl McCool and Melinda Tan, spoke to let the Board know that they would like to organize a “Pinball Blizzard” event on December 8th, at our 1500 Coalton Road facility. CAPS would like to attract more men and teens to events, and is hopeful that this event would be a success with those demographics.
Item 3 – Consent Agenda
Next, our Board moved onto the consent agenda. We unanimously passed a motion that included meeting minutes for the Board, OSAC, PROSTAC, and SYLC; approval of a utility easement agreement with Superior Medical for an emergency generator; and an ordinance increasing the minimum age for purchase of tobacco/nicotine products to 21.
One member of the Board pulled item 3C, authorization for lease financing to fund the purchase of the former Land Rover building at 1500 Coalton Road, for discussion. A representative from our Town Bond Counsel, Butler Snow, gave an overview of the financing options, and after a number of questions, our Board voted unanimously to approve the financing.
Item 4 – 2020 Budget Open Items
Our Board previously held two work sessions to review drafts of the 2020 Budget, ask questions, and raise issues for resolution; these were on September 16th and October 3rd. Coming out of these meetings, we had five areas for further discussion and decision:
First, a Property Tax Mill Levy Credit / Rate Reduction. The Town of Superior has the ability to levy a property tax of up to 12 mills (~$434 on a $500,000 home); since 2008, we’ve granted a temporary annual reduction of at least 4 mills (~$145 on a $500,000 home). This year, we considered not extending the temporary annual reduction, in order to fund capital improvement projects, but decided to hold off on canceling the tax reduction until at least next year, when we can make the decision after a more robust discussion with residents about what specifically this money would be used for.
Next, our Board discussed the CAC email listserv, which currently has 479 members and costs the town $1,500 a year to maintain. Although $1,500 isn’t a lot, I don’t think this is a prudent use of our money when there are many free communications channels with much more up-to-date functionality (e.g., the ability to allow images / attachments). Furthermore, while the CAC has 479 members, I would guess that most of those people are also using other communications channels. Personally, I’m subscribed to the CAC so I don’t miss anything, but I don’t consider it a popular communications vehicle, and I don’t proactively post on it the way I do on my blog or Facebook.
I feel very strongly that we ought to close the CAC… but doing so shouldn’t be a hard cut off. While we piloted a trial of Reddit and Google Groups last year, we didn’t really promote those tools or help users migrate over to them – so I am not at all surprised that people didn’t switch over, without change management encouraging them to do so! The Board as a whole decided not to sunset the CAC, but I asked Town Staff to take proactive steps to help teach users how to migrate to and use other (free) channels. This could also dovetail nicely with the Superior Youth Leadership Council (SYLC)’s plans to offer cyber training for senior citizens.
Chamber of Commerce
Our third topic was a request from the Superior Chamber of Commerce to increase our support from $15,000 a year to $40,000 a year. Our Board was divided on this – while we all support the Chamber, there were concerns about whether it’s appropriate for the Town to be funding the Chamber, and whether this large increase is warranted. One member of the Board pointed out that the original $15,000 amount was set 13 years ago; after accounting for inflation, $40,000 is not as big of an increase as you might think.
I personally have been very impressed with the work that the Chamber has done to build business in our community, and I continue to hear from residents that we need and want more businesses in Superior to make it more than a bedroom community. I appreciate that the Chamber’s Executive Director, TJ Sullivan, meets regularly with both our Town Manager and also our economic development consultant, and also meets ad hoc with members of our Board, to discuss how the Chamber can ensure the vitality of businesses in town. To me, it doesn’t make sense for us to pay an economic development consultant but not fund our own Chamber of Commerce.
I did share the concerns of some of my colleagues in granting a permanent increase, but I also understand that it’s difficult to launch ongoing programs when funding must be secured each year. I was pleased that we decided to grant the increase for 2020, and asked the Chamber to share with us a five year plan that would help us decide how much (if anything) to grant in the future.
CAPS Annual Budget
Next, we discussed the CAPS annual budget. The previous Board set the 2019 budget for CAPS at $150,000; therefore, staff proposed the same $150,000 budget for 2020. Additionally, CAPS had $35,000 left unspent from projects in their 2019 budget that they wanted to roll over.
As the CAPS Master Plan is not yet complete, the current budget is tentative, and will need to be refined once CAPS can define a work plan for the year. There was some discussion over whether we ought to budget the full $185,000 if we weren’t yet sure CAPS would be able to spend it. As several Board members pointed out, CAPS is a bit different from other committees (e.g., PROSTAC) in that they don’t have a full department of staff to support their work; most CAPS events require hired help or volunteer time from those on the committee. In the end, the Board agreed to both the $150,000 budget as well as the $35,000 rollover.
Open Space Amenities at Shan Shan Chu Trailhead
The 2019 budget had allocated $100,000 to build a parking lot at the new Shan Shan Chu Trailhead (off McCaslin at the top of the hill between Downtown Superior and Rock Creek). The Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC) requested additional money in the 2020 budget for improvements to the trailhead; however, staff was awaiting direction from the Board before incorporating this into the budget.
There was a lot of discussion over whether the funding for these improvements should come from the Open Space fund (which some believed should be only for actual acquisition of Open Space, not improvements to it). The 2019 budget for the initial parking lot did already come from Open Space funds, but we could use the General Fund to refund the Open Space fund. OSAC Chair Tracy Koller spoke during public comment and noted that OSAC would like Open Space funds to be used only for the acquisition and preservation of open space.
While we didn’t resolve the question of whether Open Space funds should be reserved only for land acquisition or could also be used for improvements / Open Space amenities, we decided not to approve amenities for this trailhead in the 2020 budget, outside of some basic signage and trash cans.
With the five discussion areas concluded, we opened it up for broader discussion – and one Trustee brought up the line item to build the Promenade Drive connection from 88th Street to the property line at Downtown Superior, currently slated for 2020 (as decided in our last Board meeting, recapped here). However, Toll Brothers will not actually build their side of the road from Downtown Superior to the property line until at least 2022. There was debate about whether we should build our portion of the road next year when we do the 88th Street improvements, so as to only disrupt the immediate neighbors with roadwork once. However, doing so would mean immediately spending $1.3M to build this “road to nowhere”, when we could be spending that money on something residents could use over the next few years. The Board decided to keep this $1.3M in the budget for 2020, but one Trustee said he will encourage more awareness of the road and its associated budget when the construction contract comes back to us for approval.
Item 5 – Ordinances for Medical / Retail Marijuana Delivery
Per new legislation (House Bill 1234), marijuana may now be delivered in Colorado; this opens up an opportunity for Superior to write an ordinance to either allow or prohibit marijuana delivery in town. (As a reminder, we currently have an ordinance prohibiting marijuana from being sold in Superior.) It should be noted that there are two types of marijuana delivery, medical and retail, and we can decide separately whether each is allowed.
The first delivery of medical marijuana could be in 2020; the first delivery of retail marijuana could be in 2021. With those dates far out in the future, there was some discussion over whether to decide on both now, or wait. Ultimately, though, our Board unanimously decided to pass an ordinance allowing delivery of both medical and retail marijuana to locations in the town.
Item 6 – Airport Consultant Recommendations
Finally, our Board briefly discussed the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (RMMA) noise, and our next steps following the presentation from the consultants two weeks ago. (You can read my thoughts on that here.) While there was some disagreement as to the completeness of the consultants’ report, we agreed that more data points are needed around the problematic flights. At the suggestion of one of our residents during public comment, we also decided to move this topic from under the purview of the Parks & Recreation department to be the direct responsibility of the Town Manager, reflecting its importance.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read / listen to this recap – I hope it is helpful! Our Board is always open to hearing your comments, questions, and concerns – you may always email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to me specifically at email@example.com. As a reminder, any messages sent to a government email are part of the public record and will have your name attached; if you feel the need to write in anonymously, you may always comment at the bottom of my blog post recaps.