Town Board Work Session: August 16, 20216 min read
Hi neighbors! On Monday night, we held our third quarter Board retreat. 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 of meetings and events, the following should be considered an editorial that represents one person’s interpretation. At the request of my fellow Board members, I am not attributing any points to them. For the most unbiased and complete information, I encourage residents to watch the meeting video and draw their own conclusions – visit the town website at SuperiorColorado.gov for the official meeting video and meeting minutes.
Topics discussed at Monday’s retreat included:
Item 0 – COVID response and potential mask ordinance. (This was initially going to be part of the “other” category, which is why I’m numbering it item 0, to keep the agenda numbering consistent with the packet.) With the Delta variant of COVID19, masks are only proving 20-30% effective at protecting you, but 40-60% effective at protecting others. This means that individuals can’t adequately protect themselves, and are instead reliant on others – so the choice to wear a mask can’t really be left to the individual. (To me, this is very similar to how we outlaw drinking and driving – it has great potential to hurt others and not just yourself.) Furthermore, BCPH has strongly recommended that all individuals ages 2+ wear a mask indoors. Therefore, I believe that it would be prudent for us to institute a town wide ordinance requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public places, as many towns and cities around the country have done. Although our neighboring municipalities have not yet done so, I called on the rest of the Board to step up and have Superior take the lead in instituting a mask ordinance; however, the rest of the Board did not support doing so.
Item 1 – Discussion of Board representatives taking positions when serving on outside groups. We discussed whether Town Board representatives should take up positions when serving on outside groups, since there is not always time to discuss / build consensus with the rest of the Board. We concluded that Board members should take positions, as this is why they are assigned to those committees. I do find it ironic that we are willing to trust our Board representatives to take positions, but we are not willing to let our hand-selected members of our citizen Advisory committees make any decisions without Board approval… but that’s a topic for another day.
Item 2 – Sustainability Update.
Item 3 – Discussion of whether to resume dinners with advisory groups. While some members of the Board expressed concerns with resuming dinners with our Town Advisory groups, due to the Delta variant, I pointed out that virtual meetings are a good option that should be considered. The Delta variant is unfortunately likely to be something we will need to contend with for the foreseeable future, and I think a virtual meeting option is a great way to move forward with open dialogue with our committees rather than delaying indefinitely.
Item 4 – First Fridays. Our August First Friday had to be canceled because no Board members could attend – something I had cautioned against when we last year decided not to have specific representatives for First Friday but instead have it hosted by all Town Board members. It’s a lesson I’ve learned too many times in business: when you don’t have one person responsible, no one is responsible! We discussed starting a signup for Board members to each take responsibility for two meetings a year (which will also add a bit of overlap); we also agreed to alternate between in-person and virtual First Fridays, with one month in the morning and one month in the evening, to hopefully capture more attendance.
Item 5 – Discussion of the Board’s policy on when emails should be received to be considered for a public hearing. For public hearings, we have set a deadline of noon the day before the meeting for emails to be entered into the public record; I suggested we also publicize this deadline for all items, so residents know when they can email their comments and ensure they are read prior to a meeting. It may not be common knowledge, but our Board does not work full-time in our roles as Town Trustees, so we frequently get emails in the hours or even the minutes leading up to our meetings – showing how different expectations can be from person to person as to how often we check our emails. Personally, I always feel guilty when I have been working at my full-time job all day on Monday before a Board meeting, and realize only after the meeting that people emailed me items for consideration! On the flip side, most members of the Board do not respond to all emails, so residents don’t know if / when their email has been read by all members of the Board. While I have no intention of limiting anyone’s freedom of speech, I think it would be valuable to clarify to the general public exactly when they need to email us to ensure their email is read by everyone; after that deadline, they ought to join the live meeting to share their thoughts, as their email may or may not be read in time. However, this policy did not have enough support to move forward.
Item 6 – Discussion of gun violence legislation (SB256).
Item 7 – Discussion of a 2022 Budget item for a consultant to draft an equity, diversity, and inclusion plan.
Item 8 – Discussion of possible changes to the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. When we drafted our Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, there were two pieces of it that I disagreed with: only allowing a fee-in-lieu for developments of ten units or fewer, and requiring that all affordable housing units be essentially the same as the other units being built. With these two clauses, we are dramatically limiting the number of affordable housing units that can be built in Superior, since many of the properties being built in Superior are larger luxury homes – so instead of building three $300K homes to designate as affordable, we’re building one $900K home. Another Trustee suggested potentially amending our ordinance, but the Board as a whole decided not to move forward with any changes.
Item 9 – Discussion of federal stimulus funding, specifically, the potential allocation of the funding to wastewater facility projects.
Item 10 – Discussion about whether to ask the Planning Commission to evaluate options for the NW Area plan as well as updating the building code to be more specific about grading.
Item 11 – Discussion of partnering with Superior Safeway pharmacy to offer flu vaccines at the Community Center in the fall.
Item 12 – Discussion of whether to introduce a puppy mill ordinance.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read 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.