City Council Regular Meeting – 18 Feb 2014 – Citizen Minutes

City Council Regular Meeting

18 February 2014

Citizen Minutes

Citizens Appearances

Paul Bingham spoke to the council about the fact that the Charter Review Committee agenda was not available on the city website but was available to members of the committee 3 days ago.   He also said the Planning Board minutes any later than 9/23/2013 and others are missing.  He was concerned because the meeting this evening was a regular meeting and a study session and the study session may be invisible to those looking for it on the internet as they would be embedded in the minutes of the regular portion of the meeting.

Pedal was recognized for their contributions to the city.  They have opened a second store in Aspen Grove.

Pam Chadbourne addressed a study session topic on the acquisition of streetlights.  She said they should not be looking at the 1970 lights used by Littleton but should be looking into purchasing lights of the 2070s.  She said the street lights currently used are not good lights.  The city should be investing in LED, energy saving lights that are safer and better for the residents.  The “Sternberg” lights being used in the downtown area produces light in all directions when a downward directed light would be much better.

Consent Agenda

a)    Resolution authorizing the Colorado Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Memorandum of Understanding

b)   Resolution approving the memorandum of Understanding for the shared use of criminalists between the City of Littleton and Greenwood Village Police Department

c)    Ordinance on first reading authorizing the Burnet Farm Lease for the farms in the Littleton/Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant Biosolids Management Program

d)   Resolution authorizing an Intergovernmental Agreement to participate in a regional task force known as the Arapahoe County Impact Team

e)    Resolution approving the Intergovernmental Agreement with Arapahoe county relating to community service case management

All passed 7/0.

New Board and Commission members were approved.

Board of Adjustment – Becky Provo, Andrew Rottman and Stacey Brady

Building Board of Appeals – Dean Rue, James Boone, Justin Hay

Historic Preservation – Margi Clute, Pam Grove, Michael Price, Sharon Gaare

South Metro Housing Options – Stew Meagher and Kyle Henderson

Licensing Authority – Bill Bradish, Robin Peterson, Peter Webb

Museum Board – Amy Fischer, Alys Novak, and Gary Cooprider

Planning Board – Karina Elrod and RC Myles

Election Commission – John Hershey

Fine Arts Board – Denise Wee, Kate Eckel, Joan Barton-Evans, Sue Hinkin

Library Board – Lisa Ohlgren and Cathy Schwartz

Reports

Bruce Beckman – the C470 Task Force is meeting with a goal to reduce traffic from I-25 to Lucent.  There will be $100 million in funds from the state with another $100 million committed from other sources.  They plan on a public/private partnership and a toll booth will be part of the solution.  (Sounds like what is happening right now on 36.)

 Study Session

Street Light Acquisition

City attorney, Ken Fellman, provided a legal framework for the discussion.  Xcel is our electric provider.  When a developer develops a property streetlights are part of the development.  They are installed either by the developer or Xcel.  They are eventually dedicated to Xcel.  Littleton pays Xcel for the routine maintenance and power use.

Six or seven years ago Aurora asked, “what if we owned our street lights.”  If they did they would not be limited to use the Xcel “market basket” (Xcel provides the options for cities to chose from as far as which street lights they can use – it is called the “market basket” in this conversation.)   Fellman said Pam Chadbourne was right – the lights selected by Xcel are not energy efficient – Xcel is not ready for LED according to Fellman.  Back to Aurora, Xcel told Aurora there was no non-meter rate for power.  (Littleton pays Xcel a metered rate that includes electrical power and other services – if Aurora owned their own streetlights they would be looking for a non-metered rate – a power only rate.)  Seventeen cities, including Littleton, went to the PUC to get a non-metered rate and a new non-metered rate did go into effect.

Golden has asked Xcel to buy their streetlights and Xcel has not come up with a method of determining how each component should be priced.  (Apparently there are a number of components to a streetlight – it is not as easy as just the fixture – there are up to 30 different components.  I am pretty sure I got the 30 right but if not it certainly gets the point across that it is not a simple task and there are several components that need to be assessed and then depreciated etc.)  As of today Fellman said that Golden still does not have an answer from Xcel so Golden has hired their own consultant to come up with a methodology hoping to move the decision along.

Fellman said we (Littleton) now have a way to buy our own streetlights.

Charlie Blosten said there are now four cities that are actively looking into purchasing their own streetlights.  There are 3,200 streetlights in Littleton.  There are 66 of the Sternberg lights in the downtown area most of which were installed in 1987 or 1988.  They are totally depreciated and not worth much.  Blosten has asked Xcel for a purchase price and Xcel does not know how to react.  Blosten even suggested that we no longer wanted them and for Xcel to come and get them.

Blosten asked council would support owning and managing our streetlights in downtown from Rio Grande to Rapp Street.

Blosten’s next question was why not use the ESL (electric streetlight rate) for Littleton Village – the city would own and manage all the streetlights in the development.  (Ltn Village is the project approved for the old Marathon Oil property.)  The traffic signal manager that the city uses will also maintain and service the streetlights for less than Xcel and the lights we would get will be better, cheaper and better serve the citizens.

Council, as a whole, agreed it was supporting further action to proceed as Blosten suggested.

 

Trash Collection

 Debbie Brinkman brought this item forward.  The background information provided states, “There is cash in trash!”  Municipal-run trash services make money.”

“The City of Thornton runs a very successful municipal trash service operation.  There are some compelling reasons to get into the business of single-family residential trash and recycling.  There are also valid concerns and issues related to the expense and impact of adding a municipal service.  Initial investigations indicate this is a subject Littleton should not only consider but should seriously study and research.”

Brinkman told the council the only goal of the meeting was to determine whether or not to go forward in gathering more information or not.  The Thornton model that was discussed was not a sole provider.  All the other trash companies were allowed to operate in Thornton.  If Littleton pursues this service they are advised to only serve single family and duplex customers….no commercial customers.  Thornton bills with the water bill and they had to borrow the start up money required.  Customers purchase their trash containers from the city for weekly trash collection and bi-weekly recycling.  They are thinking about going to trash collection on a bi-weekly basis too because the recycling program has been so successful.  We would be using the landfills that are owned and operated by the trash collectors so we will have to work with them.  This would provide the city with opportunities for a lot of out reach – newspaper recycle drives, technology drop off – it is more than just trash.

Brinkman continued, it is no doubt that Thornton has found a way to make money and it may not work in Littleton.  We could keep the money in reserves and then move it into the General Fund – this is years down the road.

Michael Penny, city manager, said they had looked into using the sewer billing as a possibility.  Thornton representative(s) are willing to come to a study session if requested.  This could be done as an Enterprise or just as a department.

Peggy Cole asked about other models – a sole provider as an example.  She would like to see some sort of a survey to see that level of participation.

Brinkman said this is a good plan to start working on now with the payoff 7 to 10 years down the road.

Beckman asked Fellman of any legal issues and Fellman said there were none.

Beckman said the trash trucks are the heaviest vehicles on the road and do the most damage – he would like to see a way to limit them.

Penny said this would add vehicles on the street.  Another model is a mandated service – you bill all the customers but they are free to use another provider but they will also have to pay the city.

Cole asked Penny what service we provide now that makes money.  Penny said the sewer but that is an Enterprise and the funds have to be used to offset the expense..  Cole said she thought there was either a stated policy or an implied policy not to compete with the private sector.  She also mentioned that we already offer some of the same services – tire recycle, tree drop off, Spring clean up.  Bottom line – she wanted to hear from citizens.

Brinkman said this would allow us to put out recycle bins.  We don’t currently charge for the services that Cole mentioned.

Bruce Stahlman said he was happy to have staff spend some time.  Can we offer the service for less?  He also suggested looking into seeing if Denver would extend their service to Littleton with a cost savings.

Penny said he did not think Denver would drive past Englewood to come to Littleton to pick up our trash.

Phil Cernanec said they have a fiduciary responsibility for the overall good of the community.  He wanted to understand the costs, understand an exclusive contract, and neighborhoods having reduced rates.

Jerry Valdes said, “if you like your trash collector you can keep your trash collector.”  The City needs to stick to what we do – infrastructure.  We do not need to grow government at the expense of the private sector.  The services are out there and they are affordable.  He had no interest in this at all.

Randy Stein said he was a small government guy but council just approved an IGA with Arapahoe County to reduce costs and we talked about taking over the streetlights in the city versus being at the mercy of Xcel.  This is intriguing and a continuation of the same thread.  At the end of the day it is a business model and if it works – it works.  We have to see if it makes sense.  We have limited opportunities to raise revenue and we need to be more innovative.

Cole said she was not interested in spending any more time on it.

Beckman wanted more information – initially he was not comfortable with the idea.

Stahlman was ok with having the staff look into it further.

Cernanec wanted more information.

Valdes said let’s do more for the people like the federal government – he was totally opposed.

Brinkman closed the discussion said her initial comment that this was a “cash cow” – she was not doing this as a “cash cow” – she was not trying to capitalize on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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