Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for their regular meeting Tuesday evening, May 18, to consider a number of ordinances and lease agreements and hear a number of community reports.
Councilors Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, Doug Glaspell, and David Reed met in City Council Chambers along with city staff. Due to changing COVID-19 protocols, members of the public were allowed to attend in City Council Chambers, or online via the Zoom platform.
The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
Watch the meeting here.
No members of the public offered comments.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Councilors voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the May 4, 2021, regular City Council meeting. The city’s archive of past meeting minutes can be found at CityofMontrose.org/ArchiveCenter.
YOUTH CITY COUNCIL REPORT TO CITY COUNCIL
Youth City Councilors, led by Youth City Council Mayor Harrison Hall, delivered the Youth Council’s annual report highlighting the council’s efforts over the past school year.
Over the past year, the council has completed a number of community projects including the opening of the city’s 1970 time capsule, and the reburying of a new 50-year time capsule set for opening in 2070. The council also conducted a local food drive during January 2021, and a drug awareness campaign in February. In March the Youth Council began a recruiting effort to attract more area school-age youth to serve on the Youth Council.
In April the Youth Council hosted a river cleanup along the Uncompahgre River, partnering with local businesses like Montrose Anglers. In May the Youth Council is working on a campaign to encourage area youth to explore the outdoors in the Montrose area and greater Uncompahgre Valley.
More information about the Youth Council can be found here.
UTILITY CONNECTION FEE ABATEMENTS FOR MONTROSE FORD
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve an incentives package to aid Montrose Ford Nissan's service department expansion project.
City Manager Bill Bell said the city's Development and Revitalization Team, DART, has met with Wes Abbott of Montrose Ford Nissan, MFN, to review plans to construct an 11,840 square-foot building to expand its service department. The expansion will add 15 service bays, one detail bay, and additional storage space. The bays will be equipped with high-capacity lifts, enabling MFN to work on medium and heavy-duty trucks and motorhomes. The 15 new service bays represent an 83-percent increase in a service capacity.
Montrose Ford Nissan and the company that owns the real estate will be paying for this project with existing funds. With the building construction estimated at $750,000 and another $350,000 for equipment, the overall cost of the new facility is estimated at $1,100,000.
Bell said the DART team is proposing an Economic Vitality Business Expansion Incentives Request for Montrose Ford in the amount of $32,734 to aid in the construction.
Building permit, plan check, and construction use fee abatements amounting to $18,534 have already been pre-approved by the City Manager's Office according to Bell.
City Councilors will need to vote to approve $14,200 for water/sewer tap and connection fee abatements to connect the building to city utilities.
Bell said DART recommended the incentives request because the project has positive community impacts such as job creation and increased service delivery to the general public.
MFN moved into its current facility in 2001. At that time, Montrose county had an estimated population of approximately 33,000. According to Ford and Nissan calculations, there were 3,756 vehicles in MFN’s area of responsibility. While the 2020 census has not yet been published, census.gov estimates the county’s population was almost 43,000 in 2019. Ford and Nissan estimate that there are now 5,969 vehicles in MFN’s area of responsibility. These numbers represent large increases and it is MFN’s opinion that Montrose and the surrounding area will continue to see strong growth in the coming years.
As the Montrose area has grown, the number of vehicles that are used for work has grown. Whether it is a large company, a governmental entity, a cooperative, or a one or two-vehicle sole proprietorship, these vehicles are vital to the livelihood of their owners. When a business vehicle is down, that business is not providing valuable goods or services to the community or revenue to its owner. With MFN’s current facility, the wait time for vehicle repair is 1-3 days in winter months but balloons to 1-2 weeks in summer. Not only is this extremely detrimental to MFN’s customers, but it is also a good indicator there is demand for more capacity.
Western Colorado has grown in population, and also in tourism. Every summer and fall, tourists flock to western Colorado, many arriving in RVs that are built on Ford chassis. MFN’s new facility will be the only Ford motorhome-certified shop west of the Continental Divide and will have vehicles towed in from locations hundreds of miles away.
Initial staffing for this building will result in eight job positions with estimated cumulative annual wages of $490,000. An additional 3-5 positions are anticipated within five years.
• Senior Technician (1)
• Technician (3)
• Apprentice Technician (1)
• Detailer (1)
• Parts Assistant (1)
• Service Assistant (1)
MFN anticipates an initial increase of $30,000 in city tax revenue in the first year, with growth to $60,000 annually in five years.
ORDINANCE 2541 – SECOND READING
City Council voted unanimously to approve repealing and replacing two sections of the City of Montrose Municipal Code.
City Attorney Stephen Alcorn briefed councilors about proposed changes to the city’s Municipal Code to clean up language pertaining to city meeting times and locations, and to the city’s official seal.
For example, the current language states the City Council will meet at 7 p.m. on meeting days for regular City Council meetings. The proposed updates reflect the council’s current regular meeting time of 6 p.m. Another change pertains to the council’s work sessions. The current language states the council will meet on Fridays for work sessions. The changes will reflect that the council has the freedom to set work session times and locations. The council currently meets for work sessions on the first and third Mondays of each month at 10 a.m.
ORDINANCE 2542 - FIRST READING
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2542 on first reading, designating the Montrose Fire Department No. 1, located at 24 South Uncompahgre Avenue, as a City of Montrose Historic Property.
According to City Planner William Reis, on April 27, 2021, the city's Historic Preservation Commission considered an application for historic property designation of the Montrose Fire Department No. 1 (Montrose City Hall Annex), located at 24 S Uncompahgre Ave. The commission voted unanimously to recommend to the City Council for approval as a historic property.
Reis said the structure meets the eligibility criteria per Montrose Municipal Code Section 4-15-3 (B) for the following reasons:
The 1910 Montrose Fire Department No. 1 is important for its long-standing association with fire protection in the City of Montrose. Serving a critical need at the beginning of the 20th century for Montrose’s quickly expanding population, the building housed the fire department for the next seven decades, offering the community both fire protection and educational assistance.
The Montrose Fire Station No. 1 is representative of the type and method of construction that was prevalent in Montrose from the 1890s through the first two decades of the 20th century. The fire station features a stepped parapet wall with a stone identification panel. Below the parapet wall is a characteristic decorative brick cornice. A similar cornice is found over the original truck bay. This decorative brickwork also serves as the sill for the windows over this bay. Alteration of the building has closed the truck bay while retaining the original shape of this opening and has utilized materials that are sympathetic to the design of the building.
City Councilors will vote on the second reading of Ordinance 2542 at the June 1 City Council meeting.
LEASE AGREEMENT FOR 703 SOUTH 9TH STREET
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement with the Montrose County School District for the use of a school district building that sits on city-owned property.
According to Ross Valdez, the city's community engagement specialist, the city and school district would like to enter a five-year lease agreement for the continued use of the building on the city's land located at 703 South 9th Street.
The city entered a 25-year lease with the Passage Charter School in 1998. Once the Passage Charter School dissolved, they sold their building to Montrose County School District, and the lease for the land located at 703 South 9th Street was automatically terminated. A new lease was not created with the Montrose County School District. The city would like to enter into a new five-year lease with the school district in the amount of $10 per year.
LEASE AGREEMENT FOR 514 SOUTH FIRST STREET
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement with Straw Hat Farm Market & Kitchen Store located at 514 South First Street for an additional two years.
According to Ross Valdez, the current five-year lease between the city and the Straw Hat Farm expires on February 28, 2023. City Council is considering a two-year extension of the existing lease with minimal changes.
The final draft of the proposed lease shows changes to the existing lease, most notably the addition of language to clarify ownership of kitchen equipment. This change to the lease is necessary after the installation of a commercial kitchen on the premises. The request for an extension of the lease is the result of continued investment and improvements to the premises.
City Finance Director Shani Wittenberg delivered the sales, use, and excise tax report for March 2021.
Read the report in its entirety here.
City Finance Director Shani Wittenberg also delivered a first-quarter budget review report to the council, stating that all the city’s funds are healthy and the budget is looking strong as the community begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.