Littleton City Council Minutes – 2 December 2008



Regular Meeting of City Council

December 2, 2008


             Citizens Appearances


(a)                Guest Citizens – 2009 Littleton Calendar and Annual Report photography contest winners


(b)        Unscheduled public appearances


William DeScalia suggested that the council consider amending the City Code to include a required distance from one liquor establishment to another.  Aurora has a 1000 foot limit and Denver has a 1500 foot limit.  Doug Clark told him that he thought the State controlled those matters.  Suzanne Staiert told Council that the State does set standards but the City could change the requirements to make them more stringent.  At the current time the City of Littleton does not have an Ordinance so they follow the State requirements.  Jim Woods told Council he would get copies of the Denver and Aurora policies for the Council.


7.         Consent Agenda Items


(a)        Council Appointment of Municipal Court Presiding Judge, Assistant Presiding Judge, and Associate Judges – Motion passed 7/0


8.         Second and Final Reading on Ordinances and Public Hearings


(a)        Ordinance on second reading amending Sales Tax Code 3-9-3-2 removing sales tax limitations on school approved organizations – Motion passed 7/0.


(b)        Ordinance on second reading amending the 2008 budget – Motion passed 7/0.


(c)        Resolution Approving the Highline Business Improvement District 2009 Operating Plan and Budget  (item moved up on the agenda from 12a.)


“The Highline Business Improvement District (BID) was organized by the City of Littleton on August 19, 1998 and is required to submit an Operating Plan and Budget to the City each year for approval.  The District is substantially behind on its scheduled payments; however, the bond documents require the District to impose 37 mills and pay the proceeds towards the bond fund, and if it does so, the District is not in default on the bonds, regardless of whether 37 mills generates sufficient revenue to make the full payment due on the bonds.  The Mission Hills Baptist Church is underway in the District.  By an agreement with the South Park Owners Association and the District, the church will pay for its fair share of the debt service costs.”  (from Council Communication)  (This is a plot of land south of Mineral that investors were granted the authority to sell bonds to develop the infrastructure by forming a business improvement district.  However, the development has not happened.  From the discussion the financing of the BID is a mess.) 


Doug Farmen gave the Council a chronology of the history of the BID.  Based on the chronology Clark commented that they actually paid $100,000 to secure a loan at 8.75% to pay off a loan at 7%. 


Farmen mentioned that there were a couple of debts that were not recorded in the financials but were disclosed in the footnotes.


Clark asked if the staff had seen what Mission Hills Church will pay and Farmen said they had.  Brinkman asked what taxes a church has to pay.  Farmen said they don’t have to pay taxes but they have agreed to pay their fair share to the District.    Clark asked the attorney if Mission Hills knew about the debt of the BID and the attorney said, “No.”


Clark was also concerned about $37,000 that could be used to pay off the bond but will be used to pay “themselves.”    The attorney told Council that they BID does not have to follow their budget.


Peggy Cole said she was disappointed in their cover letter because it was addressed to the former City Clerk and former City Attorney.  She did not have much confidence in the rest of the document.  She was also upset that this was before them with a deadline for approval three days away.


Brinkman agreed with Cole that it was difficult to even formulate questions with the information provided. 


Clark asked the attorney if the debt of the BID could be considered a toxic debt.  The attorney said it was not toxic but it was underperforming.  Cole commented that she still did not understand why they were paying themselves back before paying on the bond. 


The attorney said it was possible that the Council could say they could not do that.


Woods asked the council if they were looking for some cure – the BID can’t be get their mill levy certified by the County without the approval of the Council.  Clark said he needed some legal advice before he was prepared to vote.


Brinkman moved to go into an executive session to discuss the legal matters with their attorney.  Motion passed 6/1 with John Ostermiller dissenting.


Upon reconvening the Council voted 7/0 to approve the motion.  However, the BID was told to submit next year’s plan at the same time they file the plan with the State of Colorado – the end of September.



9.         General Business


(a)                Discussion of 2009 workshop procedures


Woods said Cole had asked for clarification about the taping and official minutes of the Workshop.


Kelli Narde told the Council they do not have the equipment to tape the meeting at the Museum.  It could be rented but it would be expensive.  Cole asked about the audio recording and Wendy (City Clerk) told her that the equipment they have does not do a good job unless it is used in the Council chambers.


Woods thought it was a policy decision.  What are your expectations?  The meeting is posted and open.


Jim Taylor asked Cole what her objective was for this discussion.  Cole said for the people that work that want to see what we do.  Taylor asked if the workshop report was not adequate to which Cole said it wasn’t. 


Clark moved that the Workshop is a special meeting and that minutes be taken but minutes of the action items only and that the workshop document be produced as in the past.  Brinkman said she hoped it was the last discussion of the workshop before they have the workshop.  Motion passed 7/0.


(b)               Discussion of 2009 performance goals for city manager


Clark said the Council had done the evaluation differently than in the past.  The Council was pleased with the City Manager’s performance.  The Council employed the help of a consultant that helped them put together the coming objectives and goals for the City Manager.


Woods said this was breaking new ground for him – in the past the results were very concrete – save the Court House and get money for Santa Fe Drive.  Some of the 2009 objectives are abstract.  Clark said the metrics will come down to how each council member thinks he has performed his job over the entire year rather than just focusing in on the two months prior to the evaluation.


Clark added an objective to include updates on the progress of the TABOR projects approved by the voters.  Ostermiller thought it would be wise to take a look at this again mid year to see how it is working since it is a new approach.



13.       Comments / Reports


(a)        City Manager – The OEC study on the Fire Department was complete and a copy was put on the councilmember’s desk.  It is a daunting report and they were not obligated to read the entire report.  He suggested that they concentrate on the 12 page executive summary.  It will be discussed at the next council meeting.

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