Littleton City Council Meeting Minutes – 20 January 2009




Regular Meeting of City Council

City of Littleton, Colorado

January 20, 2009



Peggy Cole added an agenda item – Economic Update by the City Manager


6.         Citizens Appearances


a)         Guest Citizens – Heritage High School Marching Band


c)         Unscheduled public appearances (limited to 4 minutes)


Nancy Stall (?), director of the Town Hall Arts Center, thanked the Council for their financial support in the form of an operating grant.


Carol Brzeczek reminded the Council that they were required by the Open Meetings Law to make a motion approving the posting location of all their meetings at their first meeting of the year.  They have not done so as of yet.


She also commented on the number of additions that are being made to their agendas on their meeting nights.  For those citizens who are interested in what business comes before Council and obtain the agenda prior to the meeting and plan accordingly – it becomes a meaningless task when changes to the agenda are made at the last minute.  She said the addition of agenda items is in opposition to the open government that so many of them ran on and the practice should only continue if the agenda item was absolutely necessary.  Additionally it made the Council look disorganized.


Finally Brzeczek asked the Council if we have an accident report from the train wreck from last year – do we know what caused the accident.  She suggested that one accident was one thing but to have two wrecks in 13 months was cause for concern.  She asked that a report on both accidents be included in the next Littleton Report.  She lives near the railroad tracks and wondered if the wreck had resulted in a hazardous material spill how would the citizens be notified.  Do we have reverse 911?  Have our first responders trained for such an accident?


Jim Woods said the City does have the reverse 911 and it would be used if there was such a spill. He also said that the first responders have trained for this type of accident.


7.         Consent Agenda Items


a)         Ordinance on first reading regarding 2009 Sanitary Sewer Utility Charges – passed 7/0.  A final reading on this item will be on February 2nd.


8.         Second and Final Reading on Ordinances and Public Hearings – None


9.         General Business


a)         Report on Red Light Technology Enforcement program – Chief Coogan presented this item.  The Council had given staff direction to investigate the use of the red light technology.  Three intersections were evaluated by two companies with similar results. 


W/B Mineral to N/B Santa Fe                          78 violations                 Right Hand Turns

N/B Santa Fe to W/B Mineral                          33 violations                 Left Arrow Violations

E/B Bowles to N/B Santa Fe                            47 violations                 Left Arrow Violations

N/B Santa Fe to W/B Bowles                           42 violations                 Left Arrow Violations

N/B Broadway to W.B Littleton Blvd               29 violations                 Left Arrow Violations


The camera takes 4 pictures – 2 of the offense, 1 of the driver and 1 of the license plate.  The offender can even go online and view themselves in the act of the violation.  The City charges $88 for a traffic ticket issued by a police officer.  However, a ticket issued by the vendor of the red light technology is limited to $75 per Colorado State Law.


John Ostermiller asked how we would know if someone did not stop on the red light before taking a right hand turn.  Coogan said the technology responds to the speed of the car so it would know if the car stopped.


Tom Mulvey clarified that there would be a period of time for a warning sign to be posted before the technology gets going for real.  Coogan said that was true – the signs will be up for 30 days before going live and any violations during that time would not have a fine attached even though the offender would receive the pictures in the mail.  The signs would remain – the intent is to create a safer environment.  Woods said the corresponding benefit is in freeing up officer’s time.  Coogan said that was correct – the intersections selected are so large that it is not safe for the officers to enforce them.


Suzanne Staiert said the Council will have to pass a new ordinance to accommodate this technology.


Brinkman asked about the ability to collect the fines.  Coogan said we would not go after someone to collect.


Doug Clark asked if they had a break down on approach in the accidents at Santa Fe and Mineral.  He was told that they have that information but not for this evening.


Clark said the reputation of the City and the Police Department is based on how we treat public safety.  He thought this was close to being purely revenue driven.  There were 78 right turn violations and no accidents and we put in a system that costs $6,000 per month and there is voluntary compliance – how is it anything more than revenue generation?


Woods said this was not intended to be revenue generating.  What the staff is looking for is the authority to go and negotiate with the vendor.


Brinkman moved that staff be authorized to negotiate a contract with ATS Traffic Solutions and move forward to initiate the red light technology enforcement on the most serious approaches for the above intersections.  Jim Taylor seconded.


Brinkman said she did not see this as revenue generating but more a break even situation.  It is a way to slow traffic – a way to calm traffic.  It is not safe to put an officer out there and this is like having an officer there.


Ostermiller asked what the terms of the agreement would be and Coogan said it was up to us.  Ostermiller asked if it was cancellable on a monthly basis.  Suzanne Staiert said they will write that into the contract.


Peggy Cole asked if this technology might allow us to reduce some staff.  Coogan said the purpose of this technology is not having personnel tied up with traffic accidents in these major intersections leaving the police available to handle their number one priority – to handle calls for service.  It will take a part-time person to review the pictures to determine which ones were true offenses.  This person would not be on the City’s payroll and the fines would pay for the wages.


Tom Mulvey said he was very happy with the proposal and would support a higher fine.


Jose asked if the fines had to be paid.  Coogan said they don’t have to be paid.  She said Greenwood Village has created Ordinances to allow them to go after the collection of the fines.  Jose said his only problem was that the people could ignore the fine.


Cole said we are not trying to generate revenue but it would be nice to generate some that could be dedicated to a specific use – outreach to the North neighborhood.


Brinkman suggested that the group get back to the motion on floor.  Motion passed 6/1 with Clark dissenting.


b)         Recommendation for appointment to Arapahoe County Community Corrections Board – Linda Suttle was reappointed to the Arapahoe County Community Corrections Board on a 7/0 vote.


c)         Motion approving 2009 Arapahoe County Open Space Grant Application – The City has the authority to apply for Open Space Grants from Arapahoe County and has been asked to do so on behalf of East Elementary.  Littleton would have to match the grant with 25% – $36,000.  The total project would not exceed $220,000 with a $176,000 grant request, East PTO providing $8,413 and the City the remaining $36,000.  The City’s contribution would come from the Conservation Trust Fund which has already been allocated.


Brinkman requested that since we would be the major contributor that we have more of an active role in the project.  Motion passed 7/0.



d)         Review City Attorney’s Goals & Objectives – Item moved to Executive Session.


Added agenda item – Economic Update


Woods said their 2008 projections were almost right on.  The December actuals aren’t in yet.  They have budgeted for a recession in 2009 and so far no surprises.  If the Home Depot or the Lowe’s went dark it would have a significant impact on Littleton.


Clark thought they should re-evaluate the City’s portfolios and the banks the City are invested in light of the expiration of the Federal government guarantees. 


13.       Comments / Reports


c)         Council Members – Brinkman – The Fine Arts Committee will have a reception for the Eye of the Camera show on the 29th at 5:30 to 7:00.  The show will run through March 1st.


Brinkman asked about the possibility of the Fine Arts Committee to carry over their budget from year to year.  The committee tends to rush to spend the money at the end of the year and carrying the money over would make some of the larger projects, conservation and acquisition easier to accomplish.


Woods said the money can be encumbered and if the Council wanted to make an exception it was such a small amount of money that it would not be an issue.  He suggested Doug and Tiffany meet with Lorena, and Tim.


Jose was amazed at the crew that is cleaning up the train derailment.  Clark said they seem to be experienced.  Jose heard that for every hour the railroad is down they lose $1 million.


Taylor said DRCOG is discussing moving the rails out further east. 


d)         Council PresidentClark asked when the light rail would be back up – Blosten said he would get the answer.


Council moved to go into Executive Session to discuss sewer issue and the City Attorney’s mid year evaluation.





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