Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, December 14, to meet several new employees, hear an update about Geyer Systems, and consider an updated designation of official meeting agenda posting place.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, City Councilors Roy Anderson, Dave Bowman, Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, and Doug Glaspell met online along with city staff via the Zoom platform. The public was also invited to attend. The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
Watch the meeting here.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW EMPLOYEES
City Councilors were introduced to six new employees who were hired to backfill positions vacated earlier this year.
Joe Adkin, Zebediah Schoemaker, and Benedict Willey were recently sworn in as new Police Department officers. Cory Cavello was introduced as a new part-time guest services assistant at the city's Office of Business and Tourism. Joseph Aguilar was recently hired as a team leader in the Streets Division of Public Works. William Reis was introduced as a new planner for the city.
GEYSER SYSTEMS UPDATE
Jonathan Ballesteros, CEO of Geyser Technologies of Montrose, updated councilors about the company’s operations since officially relocating from Austin, Texas, earlier this year.
Geyser Technologies designs and manufactures products that make the most of every drop of water. The company’s flagship product, Geyser System, is a heated portable shower that uses less than one gallon of water. The patented technology aims to appeal to diverse markets in the military, natural disaster relief, home healthcare, and outdoor gear industries.
Earlier this year, the city partnered with Geyser through a job creation incentives package, which included funding assistance for the company’s marketing and abatement of a portion of Geyser’s lease expense for its manufacturing facility in Montrose. The company was also supported through the State of Colorado and the Montrose Economic Development Corporation.
Ballesteros told councilors Tuesday that the company had a big year in 2020, relocating from Texas to begin manufacturing and selling the Geyser System. He said the company has found success selling the system to REI, the internationally known outdoor gear company, while growing its online sales and expanding and developing new successful markets in Australia.
Ballesteros said the Geyser System has received rave reviews from outdoor gear product influencers who have reviewed the system before large online audiences.
"I just want to thank the City of Montrose for getting behind us," Ballesteros said.
Ballesteros said the company continues to develop a positive work culture at its manufacturing facility in Montrose. He said the company pays its employees "well above" $12.75 per hour, which was a key consideration of the City Council before it signed off on the incentives package in February. Ballesteros said the company’s current pay scale is between $13 to $15 per hour.
The agreement provided Geyser with $155,000 of operating capital that will be paid back to the city through performance in the way of job creation. Each time the business creates and maintains a job that meets the minimum salary threshold of $42,285, as set by Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the city will forgive a set portion of the loan.
Additionally, through the city’s Office of Business and Tourism, $40,000 will be available to Geyser within the next five years for marketing, which will serve a dual purpose of promoting both Geyser and the Montrose community.
Ballesteros said the company has caught the attention of state and federal policymakers as it continues to reach new markets for its products.
"It's an honor to represent Montrose," Ballesteros said.
In February Geyser predicted that it would create and maintain 98 new manufacturing and administrative jobs in the Montrose community within a six-year time period.
Ballesteros told councilors Tuesday that the company now has five employees, down from a peak of seven due to unforeseen challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
City Councilor Dave Bowman said the council is awaiting some performance metrics or quarterly reports as required in the incentives package approved in February.
DESIGNATION OF OFFICIAL POSTING PLACE
City Clerk Lisa DelPiccolo told councilors the city must officially designate an official posting place to post agendas for council meetings as required by Colorado open meeting laws. This routine designation takes place each year and must be approved by a vote of the council.
DelPiccolo said the city would continue to use the city's website, CityofMontrose.org, as an official site for posting agendas, with backup posting sites at City Hall: one located inside the lobby of City Hall and another at the southwest corner of City Hall adjacent to the USS Montrose's bell.
GENERAL COUNCIL DISCUSSION
City Councilors discusses CARES Act funding used to help small businesses in the city. City Manager Bill Bell said he would have more information for the council in the coming days. Councilors are interested in understanding the full scope of how federal CARES Act funds were distributed locally.
The December 9 Planning Commission meeting was rescheduled for January 6 at 5 p.m. due to technical issues with the Zoom platform. The city uses the zoom platform as a safe online alternative for public meetings during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of meeting attendees for the Planning Commission’s December 9 meeting exceeded the Zoom platform’s limit. As a result, the city has since purchased a larger subscription from the online platform to prevent a similar problem from occurring in the future.
Senior City Planner Amy Sharp said the city will be ready to accommodate the larger attendance at the January 6 meeting.
All City Council meetings are recorded and made available online via 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.