Littleton City Council Meeting Minutes May 12, 2009

Citizen Minutes

Special Meeting

Littleton City Council

Tuesday May 12, 2009

 

a)  Discuss City Charter Requirements for Municipal Judge

 The Charter requires the municipal judge to reside in the city or have a law office in the city.  It was agreed that the staff will bring back a proposed ballot question to be considered by the voters this November to remove this requirement. 

 b)  Discuss Funding for Wild on Littleton Event – John Brackney said he had made the decision to not fund the Wild on Littleton Event this year because of difficult financial times for the Chamber of Commerce.  He was reconsidering his decision because some merchants on Main Street want the event to happen.  Brackney was difficult to pin down on the exact costs of the event but said the Chamber loses about $10,000 each year on this event.  (The City spent $8,559 on the event last year.)  If the event happens this year it is scheduled for July 13th.  Brackney said he preferred a spring event for the merchant’s sake. 

Taylor was in favor of the event but asked for more budget figures so they would know what is being asked of the Council.

Brinkman asked Brackney how much the Chamber could spend on the event.  Brackney told her they were $100,000 short and he was still unclear what cuts he would have to make. 

Brackney said they could cut the fireworks, bands and sets out of the event to lower the cost but then all you have is food and milling around.

Clark said the economic support of the City is the Business/Industry Affairs department and the Chamber.  We contract with the Chamber ($12,000/year) and that covers service for all businesses in Littleton.  The reason we contract with you is we trust your judgment and your service is good.  The decision is yours to make.  We have a good relationship with the Chamber and we are going through tough economic times too and the event has expenses for us too.  If City Council wants to go through with the event we need to talk about funding.

Ostermiller asked how many downtown merchants belong to the Chamber – Brackney said maybe 10.  Ostermiller said if it can’t be done right it should not be done….don’t throw a party that none of us can afford.

Cole said if you can’t afford it don’t do it.  She didn’t like it when it was held in the heat of the summer.  She had suggested to the Chamber that they hold a celebration of multi-cultures.

Taylor moved to allow guest speakers and the motion passed 7/0.

Dave Svenson said he was just one merchant in downtown but he had a vision of where this community should be going.  Downtown is a diamond in the rough and it is starting to be revealed.  He said Greg Reinke had commitments for $7,100 – $100 from 71 different merchants in downtown Littleton.  How much does the Chamber need?  We don’t need to send another message out there how bad it is.  Please do what you can to make this happen.

Brinkman asked Brackney how much a membership is.  Brackney said from $500 to $15,000 – for most of the businesses in downtown Littleton it is $500 to $1,000.

Brinkman said if they had 20 more members that would cover the $10,000.

Greg Reinke told Council the Chamber was $18,000 short and he would raise $9,000.  We need to do this – we need 180 people to donate $100.  All the other events held in downtown Littleton were gone with the exception of Western Welcome Week – he heard someone say, at an Old Shopping District meeting, that Littleton is dying.

Ostermiller asked what happened to the other events.  Reinke said they were approved but not for ongoing years and if there were complaints the events would not be allowed.  There were complaints so they had to stop.

Brackney asked Council to contribute $5,000 (Svenson’s idea) – which he said he felt awkward asking for the money.  We are not a charity. 

Taylor asked if Riviera Electric was still “in”.  Brackney did not know.  Taylor said consistency is essential to get people to come back each year.  A party in this economy allows people to get their mind off things.  Cutting the VIP parties would help a little with the cost.

Tom Mulvey said he keeps saying they need an advertising and marketing budget.  If the merchants come up with $9,000 we should too.

Brinkman was not willing to commit any money until they had good numbers from the Chamber.  She was impressed by the commitment of the merchants.

Jose said his family loved Littleton but he was elected to represent citizens and they needed to live within their budget.  He told the Chamber they needed to come in well prepared during the budget discussions just like Western Welcome Week does.  Brackney has done what he needed to do and our money is budgeted for this year.

Ostermiller thought July 13th was too close to Western Welcome Week and the County Fair.  To put this together in a hurry was not a good idea – it is a tough situation and we can’t afford to do everything for everyone.

c)  Discuss Proposal to Modify Sales Tax Vendor Fee – For those that don’t know, when a retailer submits the sales tax they have collected to the City they are able to deduct a 2.5% fee from the total tax collected to reimburse themselves for the time and trouble of collecting the sales tax, filling out the form and submitting the check to the City.  This is called the Vendor Fee.

Doug Farmen presented this topic to Council.  This discuss was prompted by the fact that the State reduced their vendor’s fees on March 1st in order to raise more state revenues.  Farmen proposed no change in the fee but to impose a limit of $100.  This limit would increase revenue by $196,250.  This change would only impact the filers that generate $133,333.33 in monthly sales such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Xcel Energy, Qwest and auto dealers.

Taylor asked if he looked at reducing the fee to 2% and that he would be interested in looking at that.  Ostermiller said if they lowered the fee it would hurt the small businesses.

Clark asked if there were any other taxes collected that we pay people to collect.  Farmen said they paid the County for vehicle fees.

Jose asked if the only reason to do this was to increase revenues and only because the State did so.  Clark thought that was correct.  Jose said he did not support the change.

Ostermiller said given our current revenues and budget – this only impacts 2% of the businesses and those that would be affected can afford the cap.  He was in support.

Cole moved to bring this back as a first reading.  Ostermiller seconded.

Clark said he didn’t know why we would do this and he was reticent to add any expenses to any business in this economy.  If, during the budget process, there is an indication we need to do this then we can discuss it at that time.  Motion passed 5/2 with Ostermiller and Taylor dissenting.

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