Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for their regular meeting Tuesday evening, August 4, to consider a number of ordinances, resolutions, and contract awards.
Councilors Dave Bowman, Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, and Doug Glaspell met in chambers with councilor Roy Anderson attending via Zoom. The council met for 49 minutes along with city staff. The public was invited to attend via the Zoom platform. The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Councilors voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the July 21, 2020, regular City Council meeting. The city’s archive of past meeting minutes can be found at: CityofMontrose.org/ArchiveCenter.
WATCH Tuesday’s meeting here.
ORDINANCE 2508 - SALES AND USE TAX CODE UPDATE
Councilors voted 5-0 to approve changes to the city’s sales and use tax code that will require smaller online retailers to collect and remit city sales tax when selling products in Montrose. The vote Tuesday was on the second and final reading of the ordinance.
During the July 7 work session, Montrose City Attorney Stephen Alcorn said larger online retailers like Amazon currently collect and remit city sales tax for goods bought and delivered in Montrose. Alcorn said the change in the code would allow the city to collect taxes on purchases made from smaller online retailers such as Etsy. The update is needed as online commerce continues to evolve.
City Finance Director Shani Wittenberg said the language does not affect or increase the city’s overall tax rate, it just requires online vendors who sell goods and services online in Montrose to collect and remit sales taxes.
Councilors voted 5-0 to authorize the filing of a Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Rural Economic Development Initiative Grant Program application to help fund the Block 93 Alley project.
The city is pursuing grant funds to help fund improvements to the north side of the 300 block of Main Street. The project is designed 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 project is expected to cost $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 to facilitate small music and community events are key elements of the project. If approved by DOLA, the city will provide a matching investment to help pay for the project.
According to the resolution approved by the council, the city is seeking $150,000 from DOLA to be matched with city investment.
RESTAURANT VOUCHER PROGRAM UPDATE AND FUNDING
The City Council voted unanimously to place an additional $10,000 toward the Help4Hope Montrose Restaurant Voucher Program, administered by Montrose Community Foundation.
The council originally directed $25,000 to the program in June to help residents and families purchase meals from local restaurants.
Staff worked with the Community Foundation and local restaurants to identify community partners and distribute meal voucher cards for those in need. Each card is worth $50 and provides one meal for a family of four. 500 cards were distributed through eight community partner organizations. City Council requested an update about the program within 45 days of the approval, or when all funding is redeemed, whichever comes first.
To date, 337 cards, worth $16,850, have been redeemed from the city’s portion of the Help4Hope Program dollars.
Community Engagement Specialist Bethany Maher told councilors Tuesday that so far the program has been extremely successful. Cards distributed under the city’s contribution have been redeemed at a higher and more rapid rate than those of the general Help4Hope program. There are currently 11 participating restaurants. Participating restaurants, partner organizations, and recipients have expressed extreme gratitude for the vouchers.
Along with the additional $10,000, councilor Dave Bowman said the council would need another update from staff in three months to review the program’s success.
MANHOLE REHABILITATION CONTRACT AWARD
Councilors voted 5-0 to award a contract, not to exceed $100,000, for manhole rehabilitation to Concrete Conservation, Inc. (CCI) for the rehabilitation of 38 city manholes with severe hydrogen sulfide corrosion.
Utilities Manager David Bries said the city has contracted with CCI for manhole rehabilitation for the past four years, completing rehabilitation on 133 manholes, and is very pleased with the application and durability of the Spectrashield product.
In the 2020 Budget, $100,000 was designated for manhole rehabilitation under the wastewater collection operating budget.
JANITORIAL SERVICES CONTRACT AWARD
Councilors voted 5-0 to award a contract renewal with Aspen Enterprises LLC., worth $78,689, to provide professional janitorial services at city facilities across the community.
In addition to cleaning buildings on the city’s downtown campus, including the Montrose Visitor Center and City Hall, Aspen Enterprises also provides services for the Public Works facility, Lions Park Clubhouse, Black Canyon Golf Course, and offices at the city’s wastewater treatment facility.
City Manager Bill Bell said city administrators and staff are entering the 2021 budget season by analyzing each department on a staff level and comparing the 2020 revenue stream. Bell said staff and the City Council will begin their public budget retreat within the next month, which will prepare the city for operations in 2021. Bell mentioned improvements to La Raza Park and downtown alleyways as areas of investment in 2021.
Montrose Police Chief Blaine Hall reported that soil samples have been taken around the Montrose Police Department ahead of construction of the new Public Safety Complex that is set to begin later this year. Hall said the conceptual design is ongoing while the city searches for architects. Bell added that the project would have many local subcontractors, which will help local workers who want to be part of the project. Bell said the need to close South First Street for construction staging is in the planning phase. The closure of the street could be for at least 18 months.
Assistant City Manager Ann Morgenthaler said the city was recently recognized in local media reports for its work in promoting the Montrose Community Garden and a recent donation from Camelot Gardens to help promote local food production in the community.
City Councilor Dave Bowman spoke about resident concerns about an increase in traffic on Hillcrest and the Sunnyside roundabout. Bowman said that his online research indicates that Google Maps has been redirecting travelers heading to and from Ouray and Gunnison away from U.S. Hwy 50 and Colorado Hwy 550 and onto city streets. He asked the city’s IT department to see if there was a way to fix the issue so travelers are directed to pass through town on Main Street, which will also give downtown shopkeepers added exposure to summer travelers.
Councilor Roy Anderson thanked city staff, in particular the IT department, for their work in hosting public meetings online during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Barbara Bynum concluded the meeting by recognizing some children from the Otter Pond neighborhood for their efforts to inform residents about the effects of litter on the Montrose community. Bynum stated that residents should follow the lead of the chidden and refrain from littering on city streets and on private property.
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 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.