Citizen Minutes – Regular Council Meeting 12.01.2015

Citizen Minutes                        City Council Regular Meeting                     1 December 2015

Note: There’s a lot of mention of Impact Fees and spending Impact Fees. I will post a separate post that will display the state law on Impact Fees and I will also post the city’s own Ord on Impact Fees. You should take the time to read both of these documents. They spell out why Impact Fees can be collected and how they can be spent. Once you read the documents you can decide for yourself if what the council is proposing to do is within the bounds of the state law – which does govern over our home rule because the State has determined that Impact Fees are a matter of state-wide concern.

Citizen Comments – the agenda stated that this was to be used to address consent agenda items and general business items. However a citizen did address the council outside of the parameters of the agenda statement. Christy Woodyard came to ask for sponsorship for the Mrs. Colorado pageant.

Consent Agenda Items

 5f – Ordinance to approve a lease purchase agreement between Littleton and Motorola Solutions for radio equipment,

5g – Ordinance to approve a third amendment to he lease for 1221 West Mineral Avenue were approved by consent, and

all motions to approve the minutes of prior meetings were moved and seconded. .

 

Doug Clark pulled the following consent agenda items

 

5a) Ord on first reading to amend the Annual Appropriation Bill – This would amend the city’s budget that was recently approved to appropriate money to pay for a fire station to serve TrailMark. (TrailMark is the part of the city that lies just west of Chatfield Reservoir in Jefferson County. They have been receiving emergency services from West Metro at a cost to the city of $300,000 per year. There are approximately 36 calls a year in that area; 12 of which are true emergencies.)

 

This gets confusing so stay with me! The requests are:

 

$875,000 to fund 7 months of operation costs (annual cost is $1,500,000).

 

$2,288,000 from impact fees. The cost to construct the fire station is $2,600,000. It has been proposed to use facilities impact fees ($832,000), police impact fees ($2,900,000), fire impact fees ($1,166,000) and capital projects fund ($312,000) to pay for the fire station.

 

Then, the council would need to make an interfund loan of $1,081,000. Lockheed Martin, who will be served by the new fire station, will contribute $312,000.

 

This represents an increase in Littleton’s budget of $4,556,000.

 

Doug Clark said he was being asked to approve something he did not have, didn’t know how much the fire Protection district would be contributing to the cost, how many calls there are to Lockheed Martin, will the staff respond to calls from Highlands Ranch and if so how will the costs for service be determined and will they be reimbursed, the annual costs are presented in three different places and they are not the same. He said they were being asked to approve something that they had very little information for making a decision.

 

Peggy Cole asked staff if there would be answers to Clark’s questions prior to the second reading. Penny said yes.

 

Jerry Valdes reinforced Cole’s concerns about getting answers to Clark’s questions and asked the City Mgr, Michael Penny, once again if the answers would be provided.

 

Clark said this is a complex issue that would normally have been discussed in a study session. He asked if the council really wanted to move forward knowing that staff or someone was making all these decisions outside of the council meetings. He said the sequence was inappropriate. The Denver Post had already had a story on the fire station and some of the information would not be available until the second reading, which is totally inappropriate. He said there would be an inordinate amount of time at the 2nd reading spent asking and answering questions that should have been done in a study session and yet the council will complain about the citizens taking too much of their time when they address council at the meetings. (In his comments Clark was referring to the Lockheed Martin contract that they were being asked to approve on first reading (later agenda item but connected to this one) and he had not received a copy for review prior to voting.)

Cole asked to table the motion in order to have a study session before voting on first reading. Clark seconded her motion. Valdes thought it was a good idea to have a conversation – something this large deserves more discussion and this is almost the first time we have heard about it. Motion failed 3/4 with Brinkman, Beckman, Cernanec and Hopping dissenting.

Cole then asked if it was possible to have a study session before the second reading and made a motion to have the 2nd reading moved to 19 January in order to have a study session. Clark seconded. Motion failed 3/4 with Brinkman, Beckman, Cernanec and Hopping dissenting.

Main Motion passed 5/2 with Clark and Valdes dissenting.

5b) Motion to amend the Annual Appropriation Bill – each year the council transfers an amount above the 17% estimated annual operating fund balance reserve to the Capital Projects Fund. The estimated amount this year is $2,100,000 but the exact figure won’t be known until May 21, 2016.

There is $850,000 budgeted for Littleton Village (Broadway and Dry Creek development) for transportation improvements. Staff has decided that it would be more appropriate to come from the Transportation Impact Fees Fund. Council was also asked to approve an interfund loan of $725,000 to the Transportation Impact Fee Fund. In addition, according to staff, the council approved a streetscape plan in June at a cost of $200,000. (Translated this means the taxpayers are paying a consultant to tell the council what they think Littleton Blvd should look like from Broadway to the end of Main Street. Doug makes the point later in the meeting that the streetscape plan has never been approved by council as stated in the staff communication.)

 The math is as follows:

$850,000       Littleton Village transportation improvements moved to the Transportation Impact Fee Fund

$725,000       Loaned from the Transportation Impact Fee Fund (see above)

$200,000       Streetscape plan costs

$75,000          additional money being requested

Transportation Impact Fee Fund – The city estimated it would cost $850,000 for the Littleton Village project and since has determined the costs will be $920,000. In a separate resolution later in the agenda council will consider an interfund loan from the Capital Projects Fund to the Transportation Impact Fee Fund to fund the Littleton Village transportation improvements but there are not sufficient impact fees in the fund to cover the costs hence the need for the interfund loan. There is only $195,000 in the Transportation Impact Fee Fund now so the loan of $725,000 is needed to fund the $920,000 project.

$300,000 is being requested to cover wild land fire expenses,

$450,000 for open space fund for a Riverside Downs – $300,000 for a project that is over budget, $90,000 for the Parks and Rec Master Plan, $45,000 for trail ‘rent’ to the State, and an additional $15,000 for the Creekside Experience project (play are for children in the Platte).

$70,000 for South Metro Area Communications Center fund

$350,000 for higher than anticipated 2015 claims

All of this will increase the city’s annual appropriations by $4,190,000.

Clark asked which budget line item the site development plan and architectural drawings for the TrailMark fire station were paid from in the 2015 budget. Doug Farmen (Finance Director) said the Capital Projects Fund. Then Clark commented that he did not see any formal approval for the streetscape plan. Farmen said it was discussed at a council meeting in June (true but there was no vote to approve). Clark had watched the video of that June meeting and said that the conclusion was that the staff would come back with a contract. Then he asked if the money had been spent to which Penny said no.

Motion was approved 6/1 with Clark dissenting.

5c) Ordinance to amend the current sections of the code regarding aggressive begging and street solicitation. A recent court ruling brought this item forward – this is an attempt to remove some liability from the city in the future. Motion passed 6/1 with Clark dissenting.

 5d) Ordinance to approve an intergovernmental agreement with Lockheed Martin for fire service (new firestation at TrailMark). Clark had not received a copy of the proposed agreement and did not think it was appropriate to vote on it at that time. Wendy Heffner, City Clerk, said she didn’t get it until Monday (day before the meeting) and it was up on the website now. Clark said he would like to have the information when the packet comes out on Thursday prior to the meeting so there’s enough time to read and digest before the council meeting. Motion passed 5/2 with Clark and Valdes dissenting.

 5e) Ordinance to award and approve the construction contract for the TrailMark fire station with Golden Triangle Construction Inc.

This whole process for the TrailMark fire station is suspect. I have never seen staff go off and negotiate an agreement for services, contract for architectural services, negotiate a contract for construction and select a site for any project without first having a conversation with the council and then some sort of vote from council to approve moving forward. The city manager is not supposed to take on tasks like this without the approval of the majority of council. It is clear that he was working behind the scenes with certain council members and not others. It makes me wonder if the council is really in charge or is it the city manager? Public Works Director Relph made it clear that his direction came from the city manager and not the council.

The estimated cost for the construction project including engineering and architectural fees is estimated to be $2,600,000. It is being proposed to use Impact Fees to fund the 7,851 sq feet fire station. The breakdown of impact fees is:

Facilities                     $   832,000

Police                          $   290,000

Fire                             $1,478,000

Total                           $2,600,000

Problem is the impact fees fall short of funding the project. The staff’s projections for what is needed:

Facilities         Fire                 Police

Current and previous commitments          $ 665,000    $   98,000       $132,000

2016 Project Revenue                                  $1,327,000    $388,000       $273,000

Estimated Available at end of 2016          $1,992,000    $486,000       $405,000

Lockheed Martin will make a $312,000 contribution

Staff has recommended using an interfund loan from the Capital Fund for a period of three years to allow for additional fire impact fee revenue to be collected and to reimburse the Capital Fund. Council approval of that scheme is in a separate action.

The timeline is very short to meet Lockheed’s expectations so they want to use a Construction manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) with a guaranteed maximum price. This will allow construction to start while the project is still being designed. The city has already advertised (without council approval) through a Request for Proposal and has received eight responses. Staff interviewed four firms and Golden Triangle was selected.

Clark asked how much had been spent so far. Public Works Director, Mark Relph, said he did not have the figures and Clark asked him why he was spending any money since there had not been any council discussion or approval. Relph said he was directed to proceed. Penny said they have been working on a strategic plan with the fire department for several months if not a year and the Lockheed Martin contract was the impetus to move forward as they want to start in March of 2016. He said he had general support of city council and Bruce Stahlman, former council member, represented the council with the fire department and he was in support. So Penny felt it was appropriate to move forward and bring a comprehensive package to council.

Clark commented that Penny went to TrailMark, to the Denver Post and wrote about the new fire station in the Littleton Report all before coming to council. Architectural drawings had been completed and a site selection had been done without coming to council. Penny said he was asked to update TrailMark and that there were council members that participated and he was asked to respond to the Denver Post. Motion passed 6/1 with Clark dissenting.

5h) Resolution to approve a grant with the State of Colorado to fund design standards and guidelines for the Louthan Heights Historic District. Motion was approved 7/0

 

 

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