Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, August 3, to review a proposed promotion of a new Montrose Bucks program, a revised franchise agreement with DMEA, a grant application with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and a new subdivision plat for English Gardens.
Councilors Dave Bowman, Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, and Doug Glaspell met in chambers with councilor Roy Anderson attending via Zoom. The council met for an hour along with city staff while the public was invited to attend via Zoom. The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
Watch the meeting here.
PLANNING COMMISSION APPLICANT INTERVIEW
City Councilors interviewed local resident Phoebe Benziger about her possible appointment to the city’s Planning Commission. The council received one application to fill a vacant seat on the commission.
Benziger told the council about her experience in local service that includes serving as president of the Montrose Community Foundation Board, director of the Black Canyon Boys and Girls Club, as a member of the board of the San Juan Health Care Foundation, and nearly a decade of service on the Montrose County RE-1J School Board.
The council will formally vote to approve the appointment of Benziger to the Planning Commission at the Tuesday, August 18, regular City Council meeting.
ENGLISH GARDENS 4 SUBDIVISION FILING #5 FINAL PLAT
A final plat containing 30 new residential lots in English Gardens, one of Montrose’s largest and best-known neighborhoods, was presented to city councilors Monday.
The plat, if approved, will fill in a large area of English Gardens that has sat undeveloped while the neighborhood has grown over the decades.
The plat, with a total size of 10.58 acres, is located north of Niagara Road, south of Sunnyside Road, west of 6700 Road, and east of Hillcrest Drive. Construction of Hickory Street and Ash Way is in the final stages, with paving and the city’s acceptance of the new roads planned for early August 2020.
City Councilors will formally vote to approve the plat at the Tuesday, August 18, regular meeting.
MONTROSE BUCKS PROMOTION
The city’s Office of Business and Tourism, OBT, recently launched a new Montrose Bucks program and is looking to fund an early special program promotion this year as a way to help local residents get more spending power with the popular local currency.
The biggest change this year is the transformation from paper checks to digital cards — like a gift card — that can be used to buy a large variety of local goods and products from participating stores.
The Montrose Bucks program is an annual investment by the city into the local economy. For example, for every $100 in Montrose Bucks purchased during the special promotion, the city will match with $20 additional dollars, raising a person’s purchasing power $120. The Bucks are accepted among a growing list Montrose retailers.
Director of Business Innovation Chelsea Rosty told the council that the OBT wants to start the special Montrose Bucks promotion earlier this year to give people the option to buy Montrose Bucks and use them during the ongoing COVI-19 pandemic instead of waiting until the annual holiday program.
For more about the program and a full list of participating retailers visit the Montrose Bucks page here.
DMEA FRANCHISE AGREEMENT
City Councilors are considering a new franchise agreement with the Delta-Montrose Electric Association to continue providing electric service to Montrose customers.
In July councilors voted 4-0 with councilor Dave Bowman abstaining, to approve the language of a franchise agreement with DMEA that will be placed before voters this November to authorize the co-op to continue serving Montrose residents with electricity. DMEA is the sole provider of electric service to the community.
The existing franchise agreement expires on April 3, 2021.
City Council is now considering the language and terms of the franchise agreement. If City Council decides to move forward with the franchise agreement as presented or with minimal changes, staff will present a resolution to the council at the August 18, 2020, council meeting. The resolution will set the ballot language and confirm the council’s desire for voters to consider the franchise agreement. If voters approve the ballot measure, the agreement will be included in our Municipal Code in place of the existing agreement.
DMEA and the city worked together to finalize the proposed franchise agreement language. A redlined version of the existing franchise agreement showing the proposed changes is attached along with a final version without redlines.
On July 28, 2020, the DMEA Board of Directors approved the draft franchise agreement and authorized their staff and counsel to complete negotiations to finalize the agreement.
This is a 20-year agreement, which is the longest allowed by the City Charter, allows DMEA to prove financial stability as they are reorganizing their electrical supplier and planning for the future. The agreement maintains the existing 3% Franchise Fee which is a charge collected by DMEA from customers within city limits and paid to the City of Montrose.
DOLA REDI (RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE)
The city will be pursuing grant funds to help fund improvements to the north side of the 300 block of Main Street.
The funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affair’s Rural Economic Development Initiative Grant Program will go to pay for the Block 93 Alley project. A project to contribute to the "vibrancy, walkability, and vitality of our downtown by improving an alley and transforming it into a community and commercial space."
The total amount of the project is estimated at $350,000 and is designed to "be a catalyst to fill empty storefronts in the area and retain current businesses."
The council sees downtown Montrose as vital to the overall economic health of the community. The project consists of diverse art and cultural aspects that will make the space a destination for locals and tourists.
Spaces for food trucks to operate, art components, and plenty of electrical outlets so small music and community events can be held, are key elements of the project. If approved by DOLA, the city will provide a matching investment to help pay for the project.
All City Council meetings are recorded and made available online via on the city’s website and cable channels 191 for Charter subscribers and 970 for Elevate subscribers. Replays of council meetings are also broadcast at 6 p.m. on the same channels on days that the council is not in session.
In addition, each regular meeting is archived on the City of Montrose’s YouTube channel.
Residents can watch all regular City Council meetings and work sessions live through the city’s website at CityOfMontrose.org/Video.
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org.