Virtual Town Board Meeting: October 26, 2020

Virtual Town Board Meeting: October 26, 202011 min read

Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Meeting, we heard an update on COVID19 in Colorado, heard an update on the Verizon macro facility at Community Park, approved final amendments to the 2020 budgets, approved an allotment contract for the Superior Metro District’s share of the Windy Gap Firming Project, approved a waste collection service agreement with Waste Connections, approved an intergovernmental agreement and bylaws for the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport Community Noise Roundtable, approved a new name for the former CenturyLink property Open Space, and approved an amendment to our town purchasing policy. Ready to find out more on what happened? As usual, you may read this post in written form, subscribe to the Laura for Superior podcast, or scroll to the bottom for a video recap.

Disclaimer: While I do my best to represent an honest and accurate portrayal, my posts should be considered to be editorials that represent one person’s interpretation of the meetings. My fellow Board members have also asked that I keep their points anonymous rather than trying to attribute my interpretation to them personally. For the most unbiased and complete information, you may watch the meeting video itself and draw your own conclusions – check out EngagedCitizens.us, a fantastic free tool created by one of our own residents, which 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!

(WordCloud TK)

Item 2D – Board Reports

During Board reports, a member of the Board let us know that Broomfield intends to withdraw their support from the Rocky Mountain Greenway project. The vision of the project is to ultimately connect the three Front Range National Wildlife Refuges (Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Two Ponds and Rocky Flats) with Rocky Mountain National Park through an interconnected, multi-use, regional trail system. However, it means building a trail through the contaminated Rocky Flats, which I (and other members of the Board) have concerns about stirring up.

I spoke up about a recent article in the September Colorado Municipal League newsletter (see page 4), which described how the town of Frisco town held listening sessions where the council and the public could collaborate and brainstorm ideas to keep businesses going and keep the town safe in spite of COVID19. This is something I was pushing our Board to do back in March, though there was no appetite to do so. With the rising number of cases (more on that shortly), I would like to again reiterate that I think we ought to be leaders in taking action and organizing sessions like this, rather than simply reacting and following what our neighbors do.

Item 2E – Public Comment

During public comment, resident Brad Walker noted that Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (RMMA) has a $750M impact on the local area, and asked us to wait to take any action until after the election.

Item 2F1 – Presentation – Boulder County Health

Jeff Zayach, Executive Director of Boulder County Public Health, provided an update on COVID19 cases in Colorado and where Boulder is. You can view a Tableau dashboard of the data by county here; it is updated daily. Additionally, Executive Director Zayach shared this presentation showing different cuts of the data, which I found incredibly insightful.

We have had 87 confirmed cases of COVID19 in Superior, and in the last few days, we’ve had quite a surge in cases. One thing that I found interesting was a stacked graph showing overall Boulder County residents who tested positive for COVID19, compared to Boulder County residents who tested positive for COVID19 and had some affiliation with CU Boulder. I believe that there is a misperception in Superior that Boulder County numbers are only going up because of college students, but this chart shows that in the last month, most cases in Boulder are people not affiliated with the university. Hospitalizations in Boulder are on the rise, and are now at the levels they were at in April. If we continue on the same trend, we are going to overwhelm our ICUs far more than we did this past spring.

While you may be tired of wearing a mask and not seeing anyone outside of your household, this fatigue is showing up in an increase in cases – so we need to be just as vigilant as we were this spring, not more relaxed. I know I have been guilty of this myself, seeing my friends more often as long as we are outdoors, but with the surge in cases and the cold weather, back to Zoom board game nights it is!

Please also remember that you should be wearing your mask and distancing from others not in your household – not just one or the other. Executive Director Zayach reiterated that individuals make all the difference in this; the more we isolate / distance, the better we can prevent the shutdown of businesses and damage to our economy. He also reminded us that our Board should not be meeting in person unless we absolutely have to do so.

Item 2F2 – Presentation – Verizon Macro Site at Community Park Project Update

Next, Debbie Essert, Senior Network Manager for Verizon Wireless, gave a short update on Verizon’s construction of a macro facility at Community Park to improve cell service. At the time of the project approval, Verizon was planning to build this past summer; however, due to the pandemic and its impacts on supply chains, Verizon has reconfigured their budgets and timelines and is now planning to build this in 2021. The projection would be to start construction next spring, with an anticipated project timeline being 60-90 days.

Item 3 – Consent Agenda

Next, our Board unanimously passed the consent agenda – including meeting minutes, a third quarter financial review, and a proclamation for Veteran’s Day 2020.

Item 3E, a $48K agreement with Peak One Pool and Spa for upgrades to the South Pool mechanical room, was pulled for discussion. Town Staff has noted a significant increase in the amount of time and money spent keeping much of the South Pool mechanical room equipment operating in a consistently reliable manner, so they recommended purchasing new pool boilers, plumbing, and a domestic water heater to improve mechanical efficiency levels. The agreement passed unanimously.

Item 3F, a $1.06M agreement with Brightview Landscape Services for landscape maintenance, snow removal and flower service, was also pulled for discussion. The Town is responsible for over 630 acres of park land and approximately 30 miles of hard-surface and soft-surface trails. Changes to this contract for 2021 include a move away from glyphosate chemical treatments, bringing trash removal in-house October through March, emissions reductions strategy, and new maintenance areas in Downtown Superior. We received six responsive bids in response to our RFP, and Brightview submitted the lowest cost overall and the lowest costs for the most used labor services; they will also provide an emission reduction strategy at no cost, for a 25% reduction per year during the potential four-year agreement. The agreement passed unanimously.

Item 4 – Amendments to the 2020 Budgets

Our 2020 Town of Superior budget needed to be adjusted to reflect actual spending. We increased the general budget by $585K to reflect COVID19 spending; increased landscaping fees by $200K to reflect an unusually hot and dry summer; increased the Open Space budget $15.6M and Open Space debt by $365K to account for the purchase of the CenturyLink property and improvements at Oerman Roche Trailhead; and increased the capital improvements budget by $1M for improvements and FFE at 1500 Coalton Road.

Our Superior Metropolitan District #1 (SMD1) budget amendments included a $250K increase in water operating expenses for 88th Street, a $155K increase in water capital to reflect 2019 capital projects completed in 2020, and a $95K increase in storm drainage operations to cover expense overruns.

Our Superior Urban Renewal Authority (SURA) budget amendments included a $959K increase in marketplace sales tax and a $1.04M increase in marketplace debt service, both because of higher than budgeted SURA Marketplace sales tax revenues, as a result of increased COVID-19 spending.

All three budget amendments passed unanimously.

Item 5 – Financial Participation in the Windy Gap Project

The SMD1 owns 15 units of water in the Windy Gap Project, which is essential to SMD1’s water portfolio, both because it is needed for projected future growth and because, unlike SMD1’s other sources of water, Windy Gap water is fully consumable. The Windy Gap water rights do not provide a firm yield every year, so the Windy Gap Firming Project (“WGFP”) would provide additional storage to firm the annual yield of the Windy Gap water rights, by storing water in years when ample water is available, and releasing it to the participants in years when water is not available. SMD1 has been participating in the Windy Gap Project project for over 17 years; at SMD1’s current participation level, the WGFP would provide 4,726 acre-feet of water storage.

The Water Activity Enterprise and most of the participants will seek pooled financing for the project. Participants have expended approximately $62M through 2020, and future project costs are estimated to be an additional $600M; SMD1’s total share of those costs would be approximately $31.5M, plus interest (estimated between 2.08% and 2.5%).

We unanimously approved the allotment contract.

Item 6 – Solid Waste Collection Services

In 2008, the Town assumed responsibility for providing residential trash and recycling collection services to homes in Original Town, Sagamore, The Ridge and Calmante neighborhoods; the goal was to lower costs, which had been reportedly increasing for residents not included in the Rock Creek HOA’s waste collection agreement. The current agreement was up for renewal, and as we discussed at last Monday’s retreat, Town Staff drafted an agreement with Waste Connections to provide weekly collection of both trash and recyclables for $13 per home per month. (This is a direct pass-through expense the Town collects through our Utility Billing operation and pays directly to the vendor.) We passed this agreement unanimously.

Item 7 – IGA and Bylaws for RMMA Community Noise Roundtable

In 2019, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) sent a delegation to meet with concerned citizens and corresponding elected officials / staff around noise complaints. The FAA advised the formation of a Community Noise Roundtable as the proper channel of communication in making suggestions regarding changes to mitigate noise from the airport. On Monday night, we considered an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Jefferson County, Boulder County, Broomfield, Arvada, Westminster, and the City of Louisville to establish the roundtable, and also considered a set of bylaws for the roundtable. In addition to unanimously approving the IGA and bylaws, we decided to appoint Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis and Trustee Kevin Ryan to serve as our representatives for this roundtable (though committee assignments will be revisited at our first Board meeting in December, after the election).

Item 8 – Naming of the CenturyLink Property Open Space

The Town of Superior owns part of the Open Space in the southeast portion of the town, colloquially known as “Coyote Ridge”; this year, we also acquired the adjacent land from CenturyLink. After sending a survey to the public, the Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC) recommended we give the entire Open Space a single name, and suggested four options: Coyote Ridge, Superior Ridge, Superior Overlook, and Superior Skyline. After some discussion, the rest of the Board voted to name the larger parcel “Coyote Ridge Open Space.” However, I voted a hard no on this one.

I recognize that some residents call the portion we already owned Coyote Ridge, but now that we are tasked with naming all of it, I don’t want us naming it something confusing. A simple Google search yields that there is a Coyote Ridge Park in Castle Pines and a Coyote Ridge Natural Area in Fort Collins – both of which are close enough to be confusing when telling friends to meet you on the trails. The most important aspect of a name is its ability to distinguish it from other places, and we already made this mistake in naming Oerman Roche Trailhead (when there is already a Roche Open Space in Lafayette). I was definitely frustrated that we didn’t choose an option like “Superior Ridge” that would have resolved this problem and also better described the location!

Item 9 – Purchasing Policy Amendments

Finally, we reviewed a potential amendment to our current Town purchasing policy, which was created in 2008 and has not been adjusted in twelve years. Staff proposed new purchasing limits for department heads (from $5K to $25K), for the Town Manager (from $25K to $100K), and for emergency purchases (from $25K to $100K); they also added a line item under the environmentally preferable purchasing policy to support the purchase of electric vehicles and equipment when financially viable. We approved this amendment unanimously.

Wrap Up

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 townboard@superiorcolorado.gov, or to me specifically at lauras@superiorcolorado.gov. 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.

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