Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, October 18, to meet new city employees, discuss an intergovernmental agreement with Montrose County, and heard several presentations about ongoing projects across the city.
Councilors Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, Doug Glaspell, David Reed, and Anthony Russo met in City Council Chambers along with city staff. Members of the public were also able to attend in person or via Zoom.
Watch the meeting here.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW CITY EMPLOYEES
City Councilors met four new employees joining the city Monday. Adri Cole was hired at the Black Canyon Golf Course, Chris Dowsey joined the city as an assistant city attorney, Mitchell Webster was hired as a streets division worker, And Michael Leadem was hired as a facilities service and project foreman.
ELEVATE MOU AND CITY BUILD-OUT PRESENTATION
Representatives from the Delta-Montrose Electric Association, DMEA, and Elevate briefed the council about the company's continued growth in local broadband services in the City of Montrose.
Chief Technology Officer Kent Blackwell said the company began the process of building its broadband services in 2015. In 2017 DMEA signed a memorandum of understanding, MOU, with the City of Montrose to expand broadband throughout the city.
Blackwell said DMEA/Elevate has installed about 1,037 miles of fiber optic lines in the city with 10,305 customers using broadband services each day. The 2017 MOU had a target of 10,000 customers within five years.
"It's been a pretty aggressive five years," Blackwell said.
Blackwell said the company predicts that about 62% of Montrose-area households currently have access to high-speed broadband internet. About 50%, Blackwell said, live within the city limits.
Member Relations and Marketing Manager Becky Mashburn said all communities within the DMEA/Elevate service region could now be identified as "Gig City."
Mashburn said DMEA/Elevate would be working with all members of communities to market themselves as Gig Cities to better promote this telecom achievement.
According to Blackwell, the City of Montrose officially became a Gig City in June 2021.
POLICE DEPARTMENT CO-RESPONDER PROGRAM UPDATE
City Police Chief Blaine Hall, along with Center For Mental Health Clinical Director Laura Byard, briefed the council about the co-responder program the Police Department uses to help residents who may be experiencing a mental health emergency.
Hall said the co-responder program was created by former Police Chief Tom Chinn in 2018. The program allows a masters-level mental health clinician to be embedded with local law enforcement officers, both in the police headquarters and on patrol.
The clinician’s salary is entirely paid by the Center for Mental Health. The program is designed to enable officers and clinicians to respond in tandem to de-escalate and mitigate situations involving individuals in crisis.
Hall and Byard briefed councilors about the program and its procedures, highlighting the critical role a mental health clinician can play in everyday community police work.
Hall said this partnership has been instrumental in helping Montrose police officers handle situations where residents are suffering with mental health emergencies.
"This is a best practice,” Hall said. “It really should be a best practice with police departments nationwide." He added that the Montrose County Sheriff's Office is also a partner in the program.
MUNICIPAL CODE UPDATE - REPEAL OF 6-1-26 REGARDING LOITERING
Assistant City Attorney Matthew Magliaro presented councilors with potential revisions to the city's Municipal Code pertaining to loitering.
The council will need to formally vote to approve the changes, which are needed to better explain loitering within Montrose Police Department regulations.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN CITY AND MONTROSE COUNTY PERTAINING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF LAND SURROUNDING THE CITY
Senior Planner Amy Sharp briefed City Councilors about a revised intergovernmental agreement, IGA, with Montrose County pertaining to the development of land surrounding the city.
After the city completed the Envision 2040 Comprehensive Plan, city staff reviewed the 2010 IGA between the city and Montrose County.
City staff drafted an updated IGA that was reviewed with Montrose County staff for proposed changes. Redlined and clean versions of the new IGA, which incorporates the new maps from the Envision 2040
A comprehensive plan was provided to the City Council for their review.
Sharp said the new IGA with Montrose County was essential to coordinating governmental services between the city and county as the City of Montrose continues to grow.
Read more about the Envision 2040 Comprehensive Plan here.
PROPOSED FEE SCHEDULE REVISION FOR 2022
City Councilors were presented with a plan to revise the city's portfolio of fees for 2022.
A number of fees were removed; other fees were adjusted and clarified as demand for specific services has grown. Increases in fees for residential water and sewer services are proposed to help offset increased costs to provide these services.
Fees were also created for new services that were added in 2021. For example, fees for the new Montrose Rotary Amphitheater were created to help with operational costs of the facility. Other new fees include document production and copying of city and Police Department records.
City Clerk Lisa DelPiccolo said the new fee schedule would take effect on January 1, 2022, if approved.
DISCUSSION OF CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT PROCESS
City Councilors discussed possibly adjusting City Council districts following the release of the 2020 Census data.
City Clerk Lisa DelPiccolo said the Charter of the City of Montrose grants the City Council the authority to adjust district boundaries to reflect population changes as a result of updated census data.
City staff asked for the council’s direction regarding adjustments to the boundaries, either prior to or after the April 2022 General Municipal Election.
DelPiccolo said the council districts were created with the intent to have an equal amount of residents in each district.
Article I, Section 13 of the City Charter, included below, outlines how the four City Council districts are established:
“The City Council shall divide the City by ordinance into four Council districts of approximately equal population, to be numbered 1 through 4, prior to May 1, 1981. The district boundaries shall be adjusted from time to time by the City Council as required to maintain approximately equal populations, and such an adjustment shall be made within one year following the publication of the results of each United States Decennial Census. Changes in district boundaries shall not be effective for any election unless adopted prior to the time petitions for nominations may be circulated for that election. Petitions for nomination for all Councilors shall be signed by at least 25 registered electors residing anywhere within the city.”
Pursuant to the Charter, the City Council must adjust the district boundaries within one year of the publication of the 2020 Census results, which would be August 2022. The council may opt to adjust the boundaries prior to the April 2022 election.
Pursuant to the Charter, if City Council desires for adjustments to districts to be effective for the April election, the adjustments must be adopted prior to Tuesday, January 4, which is the first-day petition nominations may be circulated.
Members of the council said they would prefer to start looking at maps and stats from each district at the next work session on November 1.
Next steps in the boundary adjustment process will include a staff presentation of proposed district boundary options, created to be compliant with the law and consistent with best practices. Legal considerations include preserving communities of mutual interest, ensuring that districts are population-balanced and contiguous, and maintaining compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act.
There are five districts in the City of Montrose and representation to the City Council is non-partisan.
GENERAL CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION
City Councilors discussed the inaugural event held at the new Montrose Rotary Amphitheater recently. It has been estimated that between 1,300 and 1,400 people attended the 2021 Oktoberfest held on October 9 at the amphitheater in Cerise Park.
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.