Littleton City Council Meeting 03.12.2013 – Study Session

Study Session
Littleton City Council
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
5:30 p.m.
Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Green Salad, Fruit Tray, Brownies and Soft Drinks were served.

Councilman Beckman was absent.

Study Session Topics

a)  Judge Feldman – Judge Feldman provided the council with three recommendations for Associate Municipal Judges; Tracy Dawson, Ben Currier, and Steve Castleman.  (Not sure if the spelling of the names is correct as there was no handout.)  The council will “talk” with the three at a study session on April 9th before swearing them into office.

b) Plastic Bag Discussion –  Staff presented five options for council consideration.

  1.  a fee on both paper and plastic checkout bags;
  2.  a ban on plastic bags combined with a fee on paper bags;
  3.  a ban on both plastic and paper bags; and/or
  4.  education and outreach campaigns
  5.  no action.

Bruce Stahlman believes this is a quality of life issue and the elimination of plastic bags is in concert with the community values.  Jim Taylor is opposed to a bag fee.  It could drive customers from a King Soopers in Littleton to one outside of Littleton.  Phil Cernanec liked the option that included education and outreach. Although it was an opportunity for revenue there was too much complexity to it.

Michael Penny said that some communities sponsor competitions – who can reduce the number of bags used.  Could pit city against city or King Soopers against Safeway.  Stahlman said it is not a tax but a fee and the intent is not to collect revenue but to modify behavior.  Peggy Cole said that a lot of people reuse plastic bags and really shouldn’t because of cross contamination.  She suggested having a program on Channel 8 on the impact of bags and the health issues associated with them.  She would include the alternative cloth bags and how often they need to be sanitized to help people see the consequences of using them.

Debbie Brinkman was in DC recently and they have a $.05 fee per bag and was asked at the register if she needed a bag – she didn’t so she left without her item being bagged.  Just being asked if she needed the bag made her aware that she really didn’t.  She pointed out that the research provided by staff was centered on mountain towns and it doesn’t appear that suburbia is embracing the idea of charging for plastic.

Jerry Valdes asked if they were talking about littering or recycling – he saw the discussion as a feel good measure – we should promote recycling if that’s the issue and not a new tax.

Staff was directed to come back with an awareness and community outreach program.

c) Solar Municipal Options03.12.2013 LCC Meeting Solar Energy  (Link to handout) Staff recommended to pursue an RFP for power purchase agreements with potential providers to determine feasibility, costs and cost savings to the City.  On the residential front they recommended to pursue discussions with other area local governments to determine if suitable land may be available on which a solar garden could be developed.

Stahlman said the Johnson Study that was done a few years back  provided more economical value to Johnson than the city.  Cernanec said that environmentally friendly energy generation does not have to be solar.  Cole is concerned about the citizens and that the council has two objectives one being to improve the housing stock and one economic development.  We need to encourage people to make their homes more energy and water efficient.  Maybe there could be a point system for improvements made that would amount to a credit on their property tax or other assessment.
Taylor said you need a permit from Xcel to do a solar garden and they are very difficult to get.  Cernanec was interested in a sales/use tax forgiveness/exemption for using an environmentally friendly energy source.
Brinkman asked what staff wanted from council.  There was discussion about a solar garden that could be used to help with the costs of the sewer plant.  Staff was directed to get more information on a solar garden.

d) Trash Collection Discussion   03.12.2013 LCC Meeting Trash Collection  (link to handout)– Penny said this was a quality of life issue.  There are a number of trash haulers on the streets and is a matter of statewide concern meaning that there are laws that limit what a municipality can do.  Choices are:

  1. No regulation;
  2. Municipality adopts an ordinance regulating all trash haulers operating in the city
  3. Municipality hires independent trash hauling company to provide citywide service (this option would require each of us to pay the city for trash hauling and if we decided on a different hauler we would be responsible for that payment as well)
  4. Municipality provides trash hauling services.

There was discussion about how many different trash haulers come down each of the city streets causing wear and tear on them.  Stahlman suggested licensing all trash haulers and asked if there could be a charge to help with the road and street depreciation.  How much would it increase our trash bill?  It is a potential source of revenue for road maintenance and repairs.  Valdes said it boils down to choice and it sounds like government wants to haul our trash.  We won’t make it better but we can make it worse.  We don’t need government to haul our trash.

Brinkman did not support doing anything with this.  The streets are a mess but the school buses, Fed Ex and UPS trucks also impact the roads.

Taylor wanted to license all trash haulers that operate in Littleton just to see how many there are.  Stahlman said the answer was in the yellow pages.

Legislative Policy03.12.2013 LCC Meeting Legislative Policy This is a policy that staff will use to guide them through legislative sessions.  I am providing a link for those interested in reading it.  It is worth the time to read!   The document was well received by council.

Legal Council Options – Penny suggested to council that having a .5 FTE city attorney on staff was sufficient to cover the Planning Board, the City Council and larger issues as they come up and to contract out for other expertise.  He will make changes in how the staff uses the in-house attorney.  Taylor has always liked having legal counsel on staff but is willing to take a look at an outside firm.  He requested to see the RFP before it goes out.  Penny said he did not want to write the RFP by committee and with the rest of council’s permission he would work with Taylor on the RFP.

Cole preferred to have a full time attorney on staff and look for a .5 FTE in an outside attorney.  She thought a full time in-house attorney would provide a stronger feel and connection to the community.  Stahlman and Valdes were in favor of the RFP.  I couldn’t hear Cernanec’s response but I believe it was in favor.  Taylor said it was ok to go with the RFP because they could always turn it down.

One Response

  1. Thank You for spending the time to track their comments and actions. There has been an ongoing effort for the last two years to disconnect the Council from the view and voices of the citizens. Can’t you go quietly along the path Diogenes? Me neither.

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