Virtual Town Board Meeting: May 24, 202111 min read
Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Meeting, we heard a presentation of our annual audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for fiscal year 2020; heard an update from Boulder County Housing Authority on potential affordable housing partnership opportunities; heard details of the plan for opening the 1500 Coalton Road Community Center; conducted interviews for vacancies on our citizen-led advisory committees; approved an agreement with Serendipity Catering to provide food and beverage and event services for 1500 Coalton; approved a Virtual Meeting Policy to allow remote participation at all meetings; and approved a mobile vending ordinance to allow food trucks to operate in Superior. 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.
Item 2D – Board Reports
During Board reports, a member of the Board expressed concerns about our new landscaping company, BrightView. In October 2020, we approved a one year contract for their services as a change from our previous landscape maintenance company, Vargas. We have heard feedback from many residents that mowing operations are subpar, with areas not being mowed regularly, and that vehicles have been driving too quickly down open space paths. There have also been concerns about too many weeds, but it’s not clear yet whether that is a BrightView issue or because of our decision last year to switch from glyphosate (Roundup) to glufosinate aluminum (Ignite). Town Manager Matt Magley said this may just be growing pains from switching to a new company, as we went through a similar transition when we first started using Vargas; he is working with BrightView to try to resolve it before we consider any more drastic next steps. Since the meeting, we received an update on Friday from BrightView explaining some of the challenges they’ve faced (weather delays, the less effective weed control) and saying that they recognize their challenges and are working hard to make sure they learn all areas of the town; they are committed to the Town of Superior to provide a quality product and will do everything it takes to accomplish this.
Item 2E – Public Comment
During public comment, ACES member Mike Foster brought up several bills working their way through the state legislative agenda that he would like us to support. SB21-246, Beneficial Electrification, encourages customers to install high-efficiency heat pumps, water heaters, and cooking equipment. HB21-1286, Energy Performance in Buildings, requires most large commercial, multifamily, and public buildings over 50,000 square feet to benchmark energy use and reduce emissions. Finally, HB 21-1238, Gas Utility DSM Standards, updates the methods used to determine cost-effectiveness and other requirements of demand-side management (DSM) programs implemented by gas utilities. ACES was not able to meet in time to make a formal recommendation, but plans to do so and bring that to the Board in early June.
Item 2F1 – Presentation – 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and Audit
Next, we heard a presentation from auditor Paul Niedermuller of CliftonLarsonAllen, presenting our annual audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for fiscal year 2020. The report provides not only all key financial statements for the town for 2020, but also includes a high-level overview of the projects completed last year and how they contribute to the Town Board goals (Enhance Financial Stability and Business Retention; Provide Excellent Public Services and Public Infrastructure; Engage Residents through Outreach and Marketing; Strategically Manage and Enhance Open Space, Parks and Trails; Promote and Manage Development Opportunities; and Support Environmental Sustainability). The Town’s total net position increased by $16.7M – caused by a variety of factors, including an increase in charges for services revenues, a reduction in principal and interest payments, and higher than budgeted sales tax revenue.
The report also includes some brief commentary on the impact of COVID19 on Superior, noting that our local economy continues to grow. In 2020, Town sales tax revenues were 21.3% higher than 2019; our 2021 budget called for a 4% decrease in sales tax revenues to a level consistent with pre-COVID19 activity, but as of this report, sales tax revenues are actually still up 15.4% and General Fund revenues up 9% in 2021. We anticipate revenues will decrease as the pandemic gets brought under control and buying patterns return to the “new normal”.
Item 2F2 – Presentation – Affordable Housing Partnership Opportunities
Our next presentation was from Norrie Boyd with the Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA), providing an update on affordable housing partnership opportunities. Director Boyd clarified the support that BCHA would be able to provide to Superior – from technical expertise, to participating as a special limited partner with a private developer on a qualified proposal, to leading the entire development process. Ms. Boyd clarified that for the Element proposal we heard at our last meeting, 20% affordable housing units at 80% of AMI would not meet the intent of BCHA funding regulations for “substantially benefitting persons of low income”, so their support would be limited unless the proposal were revised; they would be looking for a majority of units to be 60% AMI or less.
The presentation also clarified that while affordable housing could be delivered without any out of pocket cost to the Town, affordable housing financing is competitive and funding entities require commitments of local matches as indications of local support – for example, in the form of fee waivers for building permits and public improvement costs, or land contributions. Once again, I will reiterate that I am not supportive of the Town of Superior providing contributions (cash or otherwise) unless the housing is reserved for those who work in Superior. Otherwise, we are forcing Superior taxpayers to subsidize people who want to use Superior as a bedroom community for Boulder and Denver – which is not my vision for our town.
Item 2F3 – Presentation – 1500 Coalton Opening
Our final presentation of the night was from our Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Director Leslie Clark – with exciting news about our imminent opening of the 1500 Coalton Road Community Center. The interior is essentially complete, Town Staff have moved in, and initial furniture delivery is scheduled for June 18 and 19. Therefore, the community center could potentially have a small ribbon cutting ceremony with Board members on June 21, and then have a soft open with reduced hours from June 21 to July 3. The proposed limited hours would be 2-6pm Monday through Thursday, 2-8pm on Friday, and 11am-8pm on Saturday. Full hours after July 3 will be 8am-8pm Monday through Thursday, 8am-10pm on Friday and Saturday, and 12pm-6pm on Sunday. The Board was generally supportive of this plan – I, for one, can’t wait to see this open!
Item 3 – CAPS, OSAC, and PARC Interviews
Next, our Board did additional interviews as part of our quarterly filling of vacancies on our citizen-led Advisory committees. We interviewed one applicant for two vacancies on our CAPS committee (Michael Dempsey); two applicants for one vacancy on our OSAC committee (Michael McDonnell and Rob Olson); and one applicant for two vacancies on our PARC Committee (Mark Fordney).
Item 4 – Consent Agenda
Next, our Board unanimously passed the consent agenda – including meeting minutes, a proclamation for Gun Violence Awareness Day, and reappointments to the citizen Advisory Committees – Gregory Patton to ACES; Christina Costabile, Jill Giordano, Andrea Golod, and Rachael Tittle to CAPS; Mary Cartwright to the Historical Commission; Tracy Bain, Amber Greves, and Kate Senecal to OSAC; Hollis Richardson, Susan Stanish, and Dan Walkes to PARC.
Item 4D, an agreement with Serendipity Catering to provide food and beverage and event services at the Community Center and for Town events, was pulled for discussion. The agreement states that Serendipity will pay $1450/month in rent, and the contract will be revisited quarterly. Serendipity Catering owner Laura Zaspel gave an excellent presentation highlighting all the things that Serendipity brings to the table, and emphasizing how excited they are to be part of the Superior community. Several other members of the Board and I had questions about exclusivity, given that this is a community center and not a typical restaurant – we want to balance providing the community with affordable options with allowing Serendipity to make a profit. In the end, we approved this agreement unanimously.
Item 4E, a recommendation from the CAPS committee for artists for the Superior ARTery Project, was also pulled for discussion. In April, the Board approved the CAPS recommendation to place pilot art projects in seven locations; now, CAPS came back with specific artist recommendations for each of those locations, at a total cost of $49K. A member of the Board pulled this for discussion to note that putting art in crosswalks may violate the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)’s guidance on colored pavement treatments in crosswalks. Our Director of Public Works Alex Ariniello shared a 2013 FHWA memorandum clarifying that “subdued-colored aesthetic treatments between the legally marked transverse crosswalk lines are permissible provided that they are devoid of retroreflective properties and that they do not diminish the effectiveness of the legally required white transverse pavement markings used to establish the crosswalk.” With concerns about safety, though, the Board asked this particular art to be created at a different TBD location. With that adjustment, the seven pilot art projects passed unanimously.
Item 5 – Virtual Meeting Policy
Last year, our Board adopted a Remote Meeting Policy; since then, we’ve been holding all Town-related meetings on Zoom, which has worked well. With restrictions related to the pandemic beginning to relax, the Town is preparing to resume in-person meetings beginning on June 14. The Boardroom equipment has been modified to allow for the integration of Zoom as part of in-person meetings, and our Town Attorney drafted a Virtual Meeting Policy that outlines the practices that should be in place for all meetings in order to allow remote participation. This would allow people to participate either in-person or virtually, in a hybrid approach.
There were some concerns raised in the meeting as to whether we should limit remote participation and require in-person participation. As a staunch supporter of open government, I am vehemently against a requirement like this – I want to see us provide as many ways as possible for people to transparently see what’s going on and participate. I’m thrilled by the creation of a permanent policy to allow for remote participation, so that individuals can participate in whichever way is easiest and most comfortable for them. While it was believed pre-pandemic that we could not be effective when remote, I think the last year has shown that we certainly can be. Furthermore, I haven’t heard any concrete reasons behind what we gain by being at Town Hall in person, aside from allowing those who aren’t adept at technology to participate (which this new hybrid policy solves). I am really happy that we are now establishing the ability for people to participate either in person or remotely, which opens options up for everyone.
The policy was adopted by a vote of 5-2, with Trustees Ken Lish and Neal Shah as the dissenting votes.
Item 6 – Mobile Vending Ordinance
Finally, at our last meeting, we discussed amending our Superior Municipal Code to allow food trucks to park in Superior for more than 15 minutes, as well as adding other restrictions. At the last meeting, I suggested that we don’t limit hours of operation – let’s see what happens and then add operating hour limitations if there are issues. We will, however, require food trucks to get a business license and permit from the Town, and food trucks will not be allowed to operate within 50 feet of an open brick-and-mortar restaurant without written permission from the restaurant.
Resident Rachael Tittle spoke in public comment in favor of the ordinance, and asked us to pass it as an emergency ordinance so it could go into effect immediately. There was some debate as to whether this should be passed as an emergency ordinance or a regular ordinance (which would take a month to go into effect). However, at our last meeting, we discussed making the suggested changes in real time or delaying until this meeting and passing it as an emergency ordinance to achieve roughly the same effective time frame. While I don’t believe that food truck ordinances necessarily constitute an emergency, I felt it would be disingenuous of us to have delayed last time under the premise that we would do it as an emergency ordinance, and then change our minds – impacting the plans of Downtown Superior residents who have spent weeks planning a food truck event that could not occur without this ordinance change. The emergency ordinance required a supermajority (5 of 7 votes) to pass; it passed 5-2, with Trustees Ken Lish and Neal Shah as the dissenting votes.
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.