Littleton City Council Meeting Minutes – 18 November 2008

Littleton City Council Meeting

18 November 2008

 

Citizens Appearance

Maria Fountain, received a Littleton Police Department Citizen Appreciation Award for her translation services provided to the Littleton Police at no charge.  She recently helped in an emergency situation that saved a child’s life.

 

A large number of children from Field Elementary and Goddard Middle School were honored for their volunteer services to wash cars to raise money for the Cruz family whose husband/father was killed in the recent past. 

 

Unscheduled Public Appearances

Doug Carlson gave the council an update on the energy program at Mia Cocina Restaurant.  They have installed solar panels on the west patio and are being paid $4 per watt by Public Service.  They have generated 478 KW hours and saved 1200 pounds of CO2 since the equipment was installed.

 

Kent Bagley resigned from his Planning Commission appointment on becoming elected to the RTD Board.

 

Dave Svenson thanked the City and all the citizens for their support in opening Merle’s.  They are now open for business.

 

Carol Brzeczek spoke about an added agenda item on the evening’s agenda – minutes for their study sessions/special meetings.  She said it would be nice for the council to clearly define a study session and a special meeting.  She said there have been times when the council has gone into a study session (which is a clear indication that no decisions will be made) but they have made decisions and then called the meeting a special meeting for the recording of the minutes.  She pointed out that their legislative rules indicate that all study session shall be special meetings so they really can’t have any study sessions until their rules are clarified.

 

Consent Agenda

The following consent agenda items were approved on a 7/0 vote.

 

(a) Resolution to approve a budget for 2009 for the City of Littleton Fire Department’s Permit and Plan Review Enterprise

 

(b)  Resolution to approve a budget for 2009 for the City of Littleton Emergency Medical Transportation Enterprise

 

(c)  Resolution to approve a budget for 2009 for the City of Littleton, Colorado Sewer Utility Enterprise

(d)  Resolution by the City Council, of the City of Littleton, Colorado, Requesting Full Department Entry Coverage Under the FPPA Defined Benefit System, Administered By the Fire and Police Pension Association For Members Currently Covered By the Money Purchase Pension Plan of the City of Littleton Fire Department

 

(e)  Ordinance on first reading amending Sales Tax Code 3-9-3-2 removing sales tax limitations on school approved organizations

 

(f)   Ordinance on first reading amending the 2008 budget

 

Second and Final Reading on Ordinances and Public Hearings

(a)  Ordinance on second reading regarding 2009 Annual Appropriation Ordinance, 2008 Tax (Mill) Levy Ordinance – Clark offered an amendment to delete the Water Fund line item 8500 and decrease the General Fund by the corresponding amount.  Amendment was approved 7/0 and the main motion was approved on a 7/0 vote.

 

(b)   Ordinance on second reading amending City Code Section 6-5-15 pertaining to the disposition of Intangible Property – Peggy Cole moved to amend the City Code to dispose of intangible property (outstanding checks) in 6months as opposed to the current five years.  Debbie Brinkman seconded.  Jose amended the motion to extend the time period to one year and Clark seconded.  Cole said Doug Farmen said six months is adequate and more efficient use of staff for the City.  Ostermiller said he could not support he amendment – six months is fairly standard.  The amendment failed on a ¾ vote with Brinkman, Taylor, Ostermiller and Cole dissenting.  The main motion passed on a 6/1 vote with Clark dissenting.

 

 

General Business

Authorization to Participate in Rate Challenge to Xcel Energy for Street Light Charges – Charlie Blosten asked the Council to participate along with several other cities in Colorado.  Right now Xcel owns all the lights in Littleton – 3,500 of them!  Xcel charges a flat rate that amounts to $700,000 per year.  A study done by Aurora suggested “that service can be improved and money can be saved if Xcel offered a rate for municipally owned lights that covered energy use only.”  “At present, no such rate is offered.”  Littleton pays a tariff rate to Xcel. 

 

Developers usually pay for the lights and then they convey them to Xcel at no cost.  “The tariff requires the municipality to pay for the energy used, as well as routine maintenance.”  The City also pays for new street lights if one is damaged by a motorist.  The street lights are not metered.  The cities involved believe there is money to be saved if they could go to a metered system.  Littleton’s share for legal fees would be $4,500 which Blosten said would be paid out of the street light budget.

 

Taylor liked the idea of owning the ornamental lights in Littleton and he would like to put a shield on them.  Jose asked if we had the equipment to do our own maintenance. Blosten said we have the truck but we could recover costs in other ways.  For example, the Ensor property and Littleton Village – if those projects come about we could charge the people that live there or other property owners to recover some costs. 

 

Woods asked if it would require an amendment to our agreement with Xcel.  Blosten said no.  Taylor moved to participate and Cole seconded.  Motion passed 7/0.

 

Discussion of 2009 council workshop

Taylor asked Woods about a parking study to be completed by spring regarding parking alternatives between Stern Park and the railroad tracks.  If the study wasn’t completed before the workshop he preferred not to have the topic on their agenda.  Woods said the staff was getting some indications from some council members that the issue should be accelerated.

 

Taylor also said he favored a one-day workshop with limited topics.  Cole said she did not know how they could set the one day without knowing what the topics are going to be – we might need more time.  Taylor said it was just the opposite and Clark said it was the chicken or the egg.  Taylor made the motion and it was passed 6/1 with Cole dissenting.

 

The date for the workshop was set for January 30 on a 6/1 vote with Mulvey dissenting. 

 

Taylor moved to include a discussion on the policy direction on the Water Fund and alternatives for the police space needs.  Brinkman seconded the motion.  Cole wanted to include a discussion on the current policy related to moving money around between departments.  Clark suggested they vote on the motion before them first which passed 6/1 with Cole dissenting.

 

Taylor went back to Cole’s suggestion and asked if it could be done in a study session.  Clark said it might be as simple as a memo.

 

Brinkman moved to hold the workshop at the museum.  Taylor seconded and motion passed 6/1 with Cole dissenting.  Cole preferred to hold the meeting at a location where it could be televised.

 

Minutes of Special Meetings/Study Sessions

This agenda item was added by Cole.  Clark began by saying that all study sessions are special meetings and minutes have to be taken.  The point rose earlier about the legislative rules being confusing he agrees with since there is also a section on study sessions and minutes would not have to be taken because no action could take place.  We give direction to staff although we very rarely take action that is not subsequently ratified at a regular meeting. For instance we will direct staff to develop an Ordinance that will come before us in a regular meeting.  The last pure study session was at our workshop last February where the council determined that they would not take action therefore no minutes would be taken.  I think Wendy and Phil are looking for direction as to how much detail to put in the minutes.  All motions made should appear in the minutes and will make sure they get into the minutes.  Sometimes action is not inclusive enough for all council members – if you want more details you are welcome to amend the minutes.

 

Cole said she would like the agenda to indicate if it is informational but would not preclude council from directing staff.  She also wanted to know if a member of the public wanted to address the council during a study session would they be allowed to speak.  Clark asked if there was any objection to indicating when an item is informational on the agenda.  Ostermiller said as long as it doesn’t preclude any action.  Clark thought it might be confusing for the public.

 

Taylor said at a minimum the minutes need to reflect the topic, motion and vote.  He was not interested in 25 pages of minutes.  Roberts Rules of Order are specific as to what is included in minutes and he would like to follow Roberts Rules – he preferred the minutes to be simpler as opposed to more complicated.  Clark said they needed to finish the discussion on the agenda issue first.

 

Cole said the intent of her motion is to let the public know if a decision will be made and to provide some mechanism for them to give input.  Clark said he agreed with her goal but was concerned if we label something as information only we are obligated not to take any action.  Mulvey seconded Cole’s motion which failed on a 3/4 vote with Taylor, Ostermiller, Brinkman and Jose dissenting.

 

Clark thought the Oct. 14th minutes were a good compromise – is that what you had in mind (Taylor)?  Taylor said he had no objection to the Oct. 14th minutes – they reflected the tenor of the meeting.  Clark asked the rest of council if the Oct. 14th minutes were a good format for Special meetings.  Brinkman asked Phil and Wendy to use their discretion on Special meetings and what caused a lot of debate should be something to include and site that there was active discussion and refer them to the City’s web site.  Clark asked about the Granicus system and will it have corresponding agenda/audio/video and that should help.  Cole asked if when they get minutes they will also get written minutes from Granicus.  Kelli Narde said the minutes won’t change.  The printed minutes will be synced with the audio/video of the meeting and can be shown simultaneously.  Woods said the discretion Brinkman mentioned could be done – it doesn’t have to be a blow by blow but could include disagreement and different points of view.  Cole asked how long the minutes and video will be available on Granicus.  Narde said that decision has not been made.  The DVDs are only kept for 1 year at the library.  Suzanne Staiert said they are kept as a permanent record.

 

Clark said it was incumbent on council to get what we want in the minutes – that is the best compromise.  Taylor said the Oct. 14th topic on BIAAC got a little verbose.  Phil told council if they had a desire to have something noted in the minutes it would help to have it mentioned that evening.  Cole said the staff is doing an incredible job with the study session minutes.

 

Resolutions

Resolution regarding Proposed Regional Transportation Authority

Clark met with the Chair of the Douglas County Commissioners who has requested that Littleton join them in forming a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).  He said he realizes she is trying to get something done but he does not think it is in the best interests of the citizens.  Taylor said he told members of DRCOG that he did not think Littleton citizens would approve the RTA.  Ostermiller said what Douglas County is doing is short circuiting and the state will not find a state-wide solution.  It is premature.  Ostermiller moved that the resolution be denied.  Brinkman seconded and motion passed 6/1 with Clark dissenting.

 

Reports

Cole reported that Bemis now has a self check-out machine up and running.  The Historic Preservation Board forums will be held February 12th and 26th.

 

Taylor asked if there was support for the staff to look into rebates for insulating homes.  Woods said he would send out a memo.

 

Mulvey said the Veteran’s Day Memorial was very nice but he was concerned about the bricks fading.

 

Ostermiller moved to convene into an executive session to discuss the City Manager’s evaluation.  Brinkman seconded and motion passed 7/0.  Clark suggested the Council meet early on December 2 for the results of the evaluation.  The Goals and Objectives for the City Manager would be discussed in an open meeting.  Taylor moved to start the meeting at 6pm on Dec. 6th for the executive session to discuss the evaluation with the City Manager.  Motion passed 7/0.

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