City Council Study Session – 14 February 2017

City Council Study Session              Citizen Minutes                14 February 2017

Doug Clark was absent. Mark Relph was absent and Mike Braaten sat in for him.

There were only two subjects on the agenda.

Review of the Interceptor Transfer Agreement between the city and Roxborough Water and Sanitation District regarding the ownership of a gravity interceptor sewer, terminating easements to Roxborough Water and Sanitation District and granting an access easement to Roxborough Water and Sanitation District.

This agreement was set in motion in 2005. Roxborough representatives were there to provide a very brief presentation. Littleton uses 7.4% of the capacity and could charge Roxborough and the Platte Canyon Water and Sanitation District for their usage in the future.

Geneva Village – A discussion on the physical needs assessment report and vacancies/rent at Geneva Village Apartments

For those that do not know, Geneva Village is a group of 28 apartment units owned by the city of Littleton that are rented below market rate and managed by South Metro Housing Options (SMHO – Littleton’s Housing Authority). They are located on the north side of Berry and east side of Prince. They are not low-income housing and there is no income qualification in order to be eligible for a unit. The turn over is very low – about one unit a year.

A physical needs assessment was completed that projects a total of $145,000 in major repairs for 2017. The 20-year estimated cost to maintain the property is $462,000 or an average of $23,000 per year. The property is in good shape and the extended life is estimated to be another 48 years. The rent rate has not increased since 1979 with a studio renting at $300 per month, a one bedroom for $390 and a two bedroom for $450. To bring the units in line with similar Littleton properties and maintain their affordability it was recommended to increase the studio by $200 per month, the one bedroom by $300 and a two bedroom by $400. The increase would only be for new tenants. There is a vacant unit today so a decision should be made prior to renting the unit.

The rents for Geneva Village generate $126,000 per year. SMHO is paid $2,500 per month to manage the property. There is a waterline issue that will most likely cost around $100,000.

Bruce Beckman remembered in 2008 the Geneva Village fund of $400,000 was transferred from their account to the General Fund and to his knowledge it was not paid back. If council at that time had not taken the money there might be money to manage some of the problems.

Jerry Valdes asked if they wanted to continue the low rents – even a low-income subsidized housing unit is $420. The current rent rates were not sustainable.

Debbie Brinkman agreed that it was time to make a rent decision. She thought they should seriously consider selling the property – she did not think the city should be in the business of renting apartments.

Mike Braaten said SMHO was interested in taking over the property if the council wants to sell.

Peggy Cole thought that the proposed increase was a big jump. Braaten said it was a significant increase but the first since 1978; if they had been adjusting all along this is where they would be which is still under a tax-subsidized unit. And he said the increase would only be for the new tenants as they turned over. (They turn over about 1 a year.)

Brinkman thought there needed to be some level of increase for all the units – the money generated from the rental income goes right back to take are of the units.

Braaten said that they had to go to the General Fund in the last two years to take care of some issues for Geneva Village.

Bill Hopping asked about a safety audit. He was told that it was a physical needs audit only but there was no aluminum wiring and no code mandating upgrading the electrical panels of each unit but it was highly recommended. SMHO has done a good job of replacing things when necessary.

Phil Cernanec thought they ought to be working with SMHO – let them take on the ownership and work with the rental rates. Peggy Cole thought they should increase the rent on the current tenants but phase them in. Cernanec thought SMHO could work with the tenants to provide a subsidy. Valdes said he was not opposed to selling to SMHO but he was not excited to have another subsidized property there. He preferred to sell it on the open market; selling it to SMHO is the wrong way to go. Cole did not want to see the property sold.

Beckman reviewed some of the history of the property. In 1975 the voters passed a bond issue to buy the land where the city center sits all the way to Prince. The original plan was to demolish the Lodge on the property and atone point expand the city center to the west. Since then things have changed and the Lodge has been remodeled. He told council they needed to be careful – they needed to check to see what their obligation is.

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