Town Board Meeting: October 28, 201911 min read
Hi neighbors! In last Monday night’s Town Board Work Session and Meeting, we discussed options for improving 88th Street in 2020, heard a presentation from our economic development consultant, heard an update from our CAPS committee on the Cultural Arts Master Plan, approved an agreement for design work at 1500 Coalton Road (the former Land Rover facility), approved the 2020 budget, named the new trailhead at the former Shan Shan Chu property, and agreed upon a new meeting end time policy.. 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!
We kicked off Monday’s Work Session by interviewing Frank Parker for potential appointment to the Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC).
The rest of the working session was dedicated to discussing options for improving 88th Street in 2020. In a recent inspection, the pavement condition index was calculated to be 26 (on a scale of 1 to 100), which is very poor. The 2020 budget that we’d be considering for approval later in the meeting had funding allocated for 88th Street improvements; these could be as simple as reconstructing the existing roadway and completing the “urban section” (curb, gutter, and sidewalk on the east side) to widening the roadway to accommodate four lanes of travel.
We considered three design options prepared by Town Staff. All three options included a center median; left-turn lanes at Promenade Drive, at the PARQ access, and at Shamrock Drive; full-depth reconstruction of the existing pavement; a 10-foot wide trail along the east side; and 5-foot wide bike lanes on both sides of the roadway. Option 1 ($2.99M) contemplated a two-lane configuration; option 2 ($3.17M) would be two lanes but have a right of way that would allow for future widening of the road to four lanes; and option 3 ($3.76M) would be built for four lanes but be striped for an interim configuration of two lanes.
Item 2D – Board Reports
During Board reports, I noted that our Board recently completed performance evaluations for our Town Manager and Town Attorney. I was disappointed to learn that they will not be asked to return the favor and complete evaluations of our work as Trustees, and also that our Board won’t be conducting peer evaluations of each other. From my perspective, it’s critical to periodically step back and review performance in order to improve. Two other Board members and I have only been on the Board for a year, and I, for one, am trying my best but know I’m making plenty of mistakes as I learn! 🙂
I asked the rest of the Board if there was interest in completing performance reviews for each other, so we can all grow and improve, but no one on the Board said they were interested in doing this. However, I also asked if my fellow Board members would mind if I created a brief survey to send out to the public, to get your feedback on how I’m doing. Look for this in the next few weeks!
Item 2E – Public Comment
During public comment, resident Peter Ruprecht shared the results of the 2019 Hodgson-Harris Reservoir Breeding Bird Survey, which found an increase in the number of species at Hodgson-Harris Reservoir. You may read the study here.
Item 2F – Presentations
Our economic development consultant, Adam Hughes from Better City, presented an update on his activities to drive business in Superior. He’s been pursuing a number of different outreach activities – soliciting hotels, offices, restaurants, and experience-focused businesses for the Superior Marketplace. You may read the full report here.
Next, our co-chairs of the Cultural Arts & Public Spaces (CAPS) committee shared an update on the development of our Cultural Arts Master Plan. CAPS and our hired consultants from Happy City have completed two rounds of surveys, two rounds of public engagement (one at Chili Fest and one at the Superior Shindig), and are now working on a needs assessment, asset inventory, and public art management handbook. I liked seeing this word cloud from the first round of the survey, asking residents what one word they would use to describe Superior:
Our master plan consultants, Happy City, will be presenting to CAPS on November 14th, and to the Board on November 18th. I’m excited to hear from them! In the meantime, you may read the full CAPS update here.
Item 3 – Consent Agenda
Next, our Board unanimously passed the entire consent agenda – including meeting minutes, a proclamation for Extra Mile Day, a proclamation for Veteran’s Day, appointment of Rebecca Ho to the Advisory Committee for Environmental Sustainability (ACES), appointment of Alan Spann to the Parks, Recreation, Open Space, and Trails Advisory Committee (PROSTAC), and approval of a $104,000 agreement for continued economic development consulting services from Better City LLC.
Item 4 – Agreement with OZ Architecture for Design of 1500 Coalton Road Improvements
Now that we have acquired the former Land Rover building at 1500 Coalton Road, we’ve put an RFP request out for design services; eight firms responded, and we asked four to submit full proposals. Of those, town staff recommended OZ Architecture to move forward with a contract.
OZ Architecture is based in RiNo, and has designed a number of spaces analogous to what we are considering. They’ve designed coworking spaces (Industry), library services, multi-purpose community meeting spaces (CU Glenn Miller Ballroom), performance spaces, AV studios, multi-purpose outdoor spaces (Improper City), makers spaces, teen spaces (Boys and Girls Club), and teaching/test kitchens (WhiteWave Foods). You can read their proposal here.
We had a lot of discussions around the potential timeline laid out in the cover memo, which contemplated finalizing the design in January, selection a contractor and beginning construction in February/March, and opening the new facility in September/October. We also talked preliminarily about a few of the design ideas, in particular, library services.
One thing I will make a strong push for is the idea of a technology-enabled library pickup option. Today, we can return books at the Town Hall dropbox, but everyone must physically go to Louisville Library to pick up books. I’d like to see us explore something like Bibiliotecha’s remoteLocker solution, which works like an Amazon Locker for library books. This would allow us to truly extend Louisville Library’s circulation services (which we pay for in our tax dollars) to Superior, without a dramatic increase in manpower.
The Board unanimously approved the agreement with OZ Architecture for $282,580 for architectural planning and design services (including preliminary / final designs and construction management). I am excited to kick off the ideation process!
Item 5 – 2020 Budget
In Monday’s meeting, Town Finance Director Paul Nilles walked us through the 2020 budget items as they relate to our Board goals:
- Enhance financial stability and business retention
- Provide excellent public services and infrastructure
- Engage residents through outreach and marketing
- Strategically manage / enhance Open Space
- Promote / manage development opportunities
- Support environmental sustainability.
Our 2020 Town of Superior budget is estimated at $25.8M – one of the highest budgets in Superior’s history, and significantly higher than 2019’s $21.2M budget. The majority of this increase is within the Capital Improvement Projects budget, which allocates $1M toward the Street Replacement program for the construction of Promenade Drive (the road to nowhere I mentioned in my last post), $900K for Parks & Recreation capital projects (design of parks in Downtown Superior and six new pickleball courts), and $2.2M for design and construction of improvements to 1500 Coalton Road.
The 2003 Board recommended a policy that we maintain between 75-100% of annual expenses in reserve (after subtracting Superior Metro District 1 admin fees). With our 2020 expenditures budgeted for $13.9M, we are right at the 75% reserve line – which is risky, as it doesn’t give us a cushion for unexpected expenses. With this in mind, two other Trustees and I voted not to approve the current budget – and with only six Trustees in attendance, that meant the budget did not pass.
For me personally, my biggest concern was the $1.3M allocated to build the Promenade Drive “road to nowhere”. As I mentioned in the Board meeting, our shifting soil means that roads have to be continuously monitored and repaired, and I don’t think it’s at all prudent to spend $1.3M (or about $300 per household) to build a brand new road that won’t be used for several years. At my own home, I spent $800 last year to have my sinking / cracking front steps repaired; only a year later, they are cracking again. If I weren’t going to be using / looking at my front steps for several years, I would consider it a big waste of money to repair them, and I see this as very similar to building Promenade Drive when we won’t be using it immediately. When entrusted with $300 per house of taxpayer money, I would much rather fund other projects in the near term, and then build the road when we actually need it and can enjoy the benefits of it being smooth and new.
Our Board amended the budget to pull out the $1.3M allocated to build Promenade Drive in 2020; with this modification, the new budget passed 4-2, with Board members Lacis and Lish voting not to approve.
Item 6 – Naming of New Trailhead at Former Shan Shan Chu Property
We’ve recently been building a trailhead parking lot at the former Shan Shan Chu property (west side of McCaslin, near the Key Bank Building); now, the trailhead is ready to be named. The Superior Historical Commission recommended several name options that represent important people in the town’s history; the Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC) prioritized names that were about the property itself and what’s happened historically on that land.
Our Board discussed at length the idea of calling the trail the Josephine Roche Trailhead (for the benevolent owner of the Superior Mine) or the Edith Oerman Trailhead (for the beloved Superior schoolteacher to whom we have dedicated an exhibit in the Superior Historical Museum), in part because we wanted the opportunity to name the trail after a female. With all respect, I preferred that we not use the name Josephine Roche, only because there is already a Josephine Roche Open Space in Lafayette, and I think the most important thing about a trailhead name is that it be distinctive so visitors can get to the correct spot (vs two parties agreeing to “meet at Roche” and one going to Lafayette while the other goes to Superior). However, I settled for a joint name, as long as Miss Oerman’s name came first in the hyphenation so that it would not get dropped as people shorten the name colloquially. The Board voted unanimously to name the trailhead the Oerman-Roche Trailhead.
Item 7 – Discussion of Meeting End Time Policy
Finally, we discussed a potential resolution to end all future Board meetings at 10:30pm, with an option to extend to 11:00pm – but in no cases would meetings be allowed to extend past 11:00pm. Our Board has had a lot to cover in the last year, and we’ve had several occasions where proceedings have pushed past midnight. When our work sessions start at 5:30pm or 6pm, that’s more than six hours of focused attention, and often only one two minute bathroom break! I would never ask my colleagues at my regular job to go that long in one stretch, and I also don’t think any of us make our best decisions late at night when we’re exhausted. So, I was definitely in support of this resolution to force a hard stop at 11:00pm.
I think there is a lot of room for improvement in the efficiency of how we run our meetings, and I am in discussion with our Town Manager to figure out how exactly we can be more productive. Some things that I would do in the corporate world are off-limits; for example, we can’t surface questions / concerns via emails ahead of time to the rest of the Board, as I’m told this would violate Colorado Open Meetings Law. However, my hope is that by forcing a stop time, we’ll gain some efficiencies just due to Parkinson’s Law 😉
We updated the resolution to note that we may extend the meeting past 11:00pm if it is unanimously agreed upon by all Trustees present; this resolution then passed unanimously.
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 email@example.com, or to me specifically at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.