City Council Meeting December 4, 2007

City Council Meeting

4 December 2007

 Tom Mulvey was absent – home sick.  Tom, we wish you a quick recovery! 

This was the first complete council meeting of the newly elected council members.

 

The Littleton Photo Contest Winners were honored for their submissions being selected to be used in the Littleton 2008 Calendar and Annual Report.

 Unscheduled Appearances

Frank Atwood invited the public to attend his Economic Discussion group on the first Wednesday in February.  John Brackney, from the Chamber, will be the guest speaker.  The meeting will be at Bemis library at 10:00 am.

 

Frank also encouraged citizens to participate in the application process to serve on the various boards and commissions for the City of Littleton. 

 

One suggestion he recommended to council was based on the fact that the citizens have the last word every election.  He proposed that anyone who was unpaid and attended the entire council meeting be given the chance to have the last word; a reward for staying for the entire meeting.  The reward would be to allow each citizen the opportunity to have 1 minute to address the council thus having the last word.

 

Paul Bingham told the council that he was pleased with the changes that have been made in the web site in providing more useful information for the public.  He suggested that the council investigate the addition of a “list service” that citizens could subscribe to that would get the types of information they are interested in receiving sent directly to them via email.  He said people are too busy to take the time to look up the information.  Other communities have employed the use of a list service.  He has been including the counncil agendas in his updates to his email list.  He asked people if they liked receiving the agenda notices and there was an overwhelming support for him to continue to include the agenda in his future emails.

 

Pavlos Stavropoulos continued on the theme of communication saying that there needed to be better communication between the citizens and the city government.  He suggested a citizen’s ad hoc communication committee that would tap into the talent and creativity of those in the community to provide information and suggestions for a better communication model(s).

 

Gloria Shone thought the comments made by the previous speakers were very exciting.  She is a member of the Sierra Club and the club uses a list serve which has been invaluable for them.  She thought a list serve for Littleton would be very popular.

 

Carol Brzeczek asked the council to make public the portion of an executive session that was held on October 30, 2007 in violation of the open meetings law.  She told the Council that the Courts had found that the mere rubber stamping of a decision made in an executive session was prohibited.  She is prepared to ask the Court for an in-camera review of the record for the executive session in question but asked them to do the right thing and release the record without the Court’s intervention.

 

Jim Keeley (sp?) who lives next to Romano’s asked the council who to talk to about a code enforcement issue.  He believes he is getting the run around.  Mayor Clark asked him to leave his name and phone number with Julie and the appropriate person would be in touch.

 PEG FeesFor those that don’t know, the Comcast cable subscribers pay a monthly PEG fee of $.50 each month to Comcast.  The money is collected by Comcast and then submitted to the City to be used for public, education and government uses – aka as Channel 8.  The money can only be used for equipment to be used for Channel 8.  Tom Mulvey and Clark have tried for the past two years to use the PEG money to equip the community room so the study sessions could be televised. 

Jim Taylor wanted to know where the money was going to come from to cover the installation costs of the equipment.  Jim Woods said that there was a large contingency (30%) included in the proposed cost to cover installation.

 

Taylor was under the impression that the installation expenses could not be paid for with the PEG money.  Brad Bailey, Asst. Attorney, thought it was allowable under the franchise agreement.  The city’s staff time would not be covered by the PEG money but the staff would be paid anyway.

 

Peggy Cole moved, in honor of Mulvey, to spend the PEG money to equip the community room so all Council and Planning Commission meetings could be televised.

 

Clark asked her to split the question because they are limited to one subject per motion.

 

Cole did split the question and Brinkman seconded the motion.

 

Cole went on to say that one of the goals of equipping the community room was to ensure that all in attendance would be able to hear what was being said.  Currently it is very difficult for the audience to hear and understand what is being said by all members of the council in the study session.

 

Woods said the PA system was not included in the proposal and if there are additional costs they would come back to the council for authorization to move forward.

 

Taylor said he would not support the motion that the money was needed to fund more public safety personnel.  The approval of televising the study sessions would require additional personnel costs and he was not willing to make that commitment.

 

John Ostermiller said the only way the PEG money can be used is for the equipment and the fund is growing and he was in favor of the motion.  He also suggested that the PEG fee might be dropped from the customer’s bills if there wasn’t any future need for equipment.

 

The motion passed on a 5/1 vote with Taylor dissenting.

 Attorney Search

Phil Cortese, Dep. City Manager, submitted a memo to the council with suggestions about how to proceed with the search for the new city attorney.  Clark thought it was a great start.  It was decided to appoint a subcommittee that will define the tasks and procedures for the process.

 

Taylor suggested that the search be limited to attorneys living and practicing in Colorado.

 

Clark agreed.

 

Ostermiller thought the process laid out by Cortese was logical.  Because Littleton is a home rule municipality he suggested that they look for an attorney with home rule experience.

 

Clark appointed Cole, Ostermiller and himself as the subcommittee to formalize the search process.

 

Brinkman asked if it would be appropriate to include a citizen on the committee. 

 

Clark said the subcommittee would define the process but once that had been done it was a good idea to have a couple of citizens involved in the selection process. 

 Their first meeting will be next week.  (Since there are three members of the council participating the meeting will be open to the public.) Council Workshop

 The Workshop is currently scheduled for Feb. 8th.  The purpose of a Workshop, which is a day long meeting, is to schedule difficult topics for a prolonged discussion that they might not be able to complete in a regular study session, or for a series of subjects that are all connected in some way.  The outcome of the workshop will define the council’s goals and objectives for the coming year.

 

Woods provided a list of suggested topics but he wanted to hear from the council what they wanted to discuss. 

 

Woods topics outlined in his memo were:

 

  • Process for setting budget priorities for 2009
  • Land use and redevelopment goals for the city
  • Review of the status of Police facilities
  • Structural revenue study

 

Taylor thought they could handle the Structural Revenue Study at a study session.

 

Cole mentioned a possible conflict with the date.

 

Ostermiller said the workshop has been 2 days in the past and it was possible to do so again.  It would be a good time to sit and talk – to get comfortable with the direction they are going.

 

Clark was agreeable to holding it over two days but wanted to hear from Mulvey first.

 Study Sessions Topics

Woods explained that the study session topics get placed on the list by staff (particularly time sensitive issues) and by council members if there are 4 council members that want a topic on the list.  It is a very fluid process.

 

Clark asked if they were working on a system to put the study session topics on the website.  Woods said yes.

 

Brinkman mentioned the Qwest franchise.  Woods told her that the last direction the staff got from the Council was that if Qwest wanted to enter into a formal agreement with the City they needed to put forth a contract.

 

Clark said he understood it differently.  The council voted down an executive session to go forward with the Qwest franchise at that time.  However, the President of Qwest has put everything on hold.

 

Brinkman asked to have the List Service added to the December 11 study session.

 

Clark suggested that she put it on the list rather than for the specific meeting as their might not be time for it on the 11th.

 

Brinkman moved to have the List Service added to the study session topics list.  Jose Trujillo seconded.

 

Ostermiller said that Kelli Narde had written a lengthy memo on the List Service and it might answer everyone’s questions.

 

Brinkman withdrew her motion with Trujillo’s permission.

 

Cole wanted to add some topics for possible discussion at the Workshop.

  • Legislative Rules and Procedures – bring them inline with the Charter
  • Noise problems created by traffic on Santa Fe Drive and Broadway
  • Noise problems from entertainment venues
  • Refining the budget presentation and annual report
  • Increased parking for light rail

Woods thought it would be more appropriate to discuss the budget questions in March or April.  Clark thought that was a good idea and so moved.

 

Brinkman seconded the motion and it was passed on a 6/0 vote.

 

There was a discussion about the Comprehensive Audit and Financial Report (CAFR).  Clark would like to see it completed by the end of the first quarter of the year. 

 

Ostermiller said there was a letter from the accounting auditor for her services for the 2007 audit and they are scheduled to have their work completed by May.  Cole thought the Charter required the audit to be completed by the end of the first quarter.  Ostermiller told her the requirement was for the financial statements but not the audited report.

 

Taylor said he needed to know if there were any additional costs to getting the audit completed before May.  He thought the costs could double or triple.

 

Clark said the audit committee (Clark, Cole and Ostermiller) would need to meet before December 18th.

 

Woods told the Council that they may not be able to hire an auditor that could meet their deadline of the end of the first quarter.

 

Ostermiller said the situation is difficult because Littleton is dependent on Englewood to get the sewer plant audit done before Littleton can start on their audit.

 

Taylor moved that audit committee and the Finance Director needed to talk to the auditor to see if what the council is asking is possible and at what price.  Ostermiller seconded.

 

Cole wanted to clarify the goals – what are we trying to achieve by getting it done in the first quarter?

 

Clark told her some disadvantages of not having it done.

 

  • They do not know what their TABOR excess is until after the sewer bills are mailed and the sewer bills are a good way to refund the money.
  • It will help to establish the new budget if they have the prior year’s CAFR long before they get the proposed budget for the following year.  Currently they get both at the same time.

 

Cole made a motion to include a range of dates, from March 31 through May for the auditor to complete their work.

 

There was no second to her motion.

 

Taylor said the real objective ought to be to get the audit report to the council before they get the proposed budget.  They need to move forward and let the audit committee and the Finance Director do their work and report back to the Council on December 18th.

 

Brinkman called the question.  Motion passed 6/0.

 

Clark had some questions that need to be discussed about the sewer bills. 

 

  • How do they recalculate the sewer rates?
  • Do they get a new consultant or retain Red Oak?
  • He wants to get the Finance Dept involved in the process.

 

There will be more discussion on this subject on December 18th.

 Council Outreach Schedule 

Taylor noticed that the CBAC was on the agenda for March 25.  In his opinion, their work was done. 

 

The Breakfast meeting with the legislators in February is too late to have any impact on bills being carried by the representatives.  Clark thought the meeting with the legislators should be moved to a later date in the year.  He also said they may want to rethink the whole breakfast schedule.

 Cole said she had attended one and it was poorly attended and by the time everyone ate there was very little time for any discussion.  (In Cole’s campaign she talked about the expense involved with the breakfasts and thought it was over the top.) 

Woods said they may want to evaluate how effective the breakfasts are.

 

Littleton Englewood Waste Water Treatment Plant Joint Meeting with Englewood’s Council

Clark said the meeting on December 10th will be very repetitive for the returning council members. He would prefer to discuss the operational costs trends at the plant, an overview of the budget, flow rate trends, and the predictions for future flow rates.  He is also interested in discussion selling Littleton’s excess capacity.

 

Woods thought a study session would be valuable since Littleton is a 50% owner they can act on their own behalf.  He would have plant staff on hand for the discussion.

 

Clark made a motion to the do so.  Taylor seconded.  Motion passed 6/0.

 Study Sessions TelevisedEarlier in the meeting Cole had to split a question per their rules.  The second part of the question, since it was not covered on the agenda, went to the bottom of the agenda. 

Cole moved that all study sessions of the Council and the Planning Commission be televised.  Clark seconded.

 

The equipping of the community room might be completed within 8 weeks so there would be very few study session that would have to be held in the Council Chambers. 

 

Ostermiller thought it was premature to act as they did not know how much it was going to cost.  He wants to see proposals first.

 

Clark asked Woods where the appropriation would come from.  He said he would go looking for it – the council’s budget – they might have to go without cookies for the rest of the year.

 

Taylor had a problem with dictating to another Board that they will have to be televised and requested that the motion be split to deal with the Council and the Planning Commission separately.

 

Clark split the question.  The motion to televise the Council study session passed 5/1 with Ostermiller dissenting.

 

The question to address the Planning Commission was next.  Clark had heard that the Planning Commission had voted not to televise their study session on the Complan.  Clark said it was in the public’s interest, they were trying to get the public involved, they had spent money on public outreach so for the Planning Commission to discuss the Complan and not include the public is counter-productive.

 

Taylor asked if the motion failed could they come back with a motion to require a specific meeting to be televised.

 

Cole said the Planning Commission addresses issues that are of great concern to the citizens and the study sessions would help the citizens to understand the process and the issues.

 

Ostermiller said they would have to go out for bids since Wilton Koernig (the current videographer) is now serving on a Board.  The Charter requires the bid process under the circumstances.  (When the contract was awarded to Koernig, he was not sitting on a board so there was no issue.  He has since been appointed to a board and the Charter is concerned with the City doing business with someone on the City’s payroll.  There was a similar concern with Planning Commissioner Don Knight who also served as a Judge in the City of Littleton.)

 

Taylor and Ostermiller wanted to know the costs involved.

 

Woods said Koernig charges $175.00 per meeting.  He would have the total costs for the Council on Dec. 18th.

 

Cole moved to postpone the motion until Dec. 18.  Clark seconded.  Motion passed 6/0.

 

Clark asked for a clarification of the Charter involving the need to re-bid the contract.

 Reports

Clark asked the attorney to provide a memo with an explanation of the Open Meetings Law and executive sessions as it relates to personnel issues.

 

Clark then informed the Council that the agendas should include all the items that will be considered for action.  Any council person can submit an agenda item to Woods but there needs to be at least a 10 day notice so the staff can prepare the needed background information.

 

Clark said the agenda could always be modified but one reason to publish an agenda is to give the public advance notice of any action the council might take.  He urged everyone to strive to get their agenda items on the agenda in time for the printing.

 

He acknowledged that there would be trivial matters that weren’t on the agenda that will come up from time to time.  Any matters that are not trivial could be postponed to provide the public more notice.

 

Clark mentioned his intention to appoint Brinkman to the BIAAC.

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One Response

  1. Thanks once again for your notes, I had to rush away on Tue night, and didn’t get back to see Channel Eight until late. I will also watch once video is on the cities site.
    Norm

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