Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for their regular meeting Tuesday evening, December 7, to consider new council district boundaries, a number of ordinances and resolutions, as well as new city equipment purchases.
Councilors Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, Doug Glaspell, and David Reed met in City Council Chambers along with city staff. Councilor Anthony Russo attended via Zoom. Due to COVID-19 protocols, members of the public were allowed to attend in-person 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 any comment.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Councilors voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the November 15 special City Council meeting and the November 16 regular City Council meeting.
The city’s archive of past meeting minutes can be found on the new Public Meetings Portal and at CityofMontrose.org/ArchiveCenter.
2020 AUDIT PRESENTATION
City Councilors voted unanimously to accept the annual financial audit for 2020 .
City Finance Director Shani Wittenberg, along with Kelly Watson with the CPA firm Watson Coon Ryan LLC., presented the 2020 audit, an annual report prepared each December.
Watson said the city was required to conduct a yellow book audit for 2020 due to the city receiving more than $750,000 in federal funds. In 2020 the city was awarded millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief funds to help with the pandemic.
Find the result of the audit here.
ORDINANCE 2570 – SECOND READING
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve a supplemental 2021 budget to accommodate unexpected expenditures in excess of the approved 2021 budget. Each fall city staff present a supplemental budget to the council, if needed. City Council must pass any supplemental budget with an ordinance.
NEW ARTS LIQUOR LICENSE APPLICATION
City Councilors held a liquor license hearing for an arts liquor license application for 11 South Park Avenue to allow the Montrose Center for the Arts to have the ability to sell drinks during art open houses and shows.
Following a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve the license.
ORDINANCE 2571 – SECOND READING
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2571 on second reading to amend the City Council district boundaries by the adoption of a new council district map.
During a work session on November 1, the council discussed the current district map, along with seven options for addressing population changes reflected in the 2020 Census. Changes to district boundaries require a unanimous vote of the City Council.
Pursuant to the City Charter, the City Council must adjust the district boundaries within one year of the publication of the Census results, which would be August 2022. Council has the option to adjust the boundaries prior to the April 2022 municipal election but is not required to do so.
The city’s total population, according to the 2020 Census, is 20,293, which sets a target of 5,073 per district. Each of the seven map options presented showed the resident count per district and the deviation from the target number.
Pursuant to the City Charter, if City Council opts to make adjustments to districts effective for the April 2022 municipal election, the adjustments must be adopted prior to Tuesday, January 4, which is the first day City Council candidate nomination petitions may be circulated for that election. Election information, including the updated City Council district map, will be made available for potential candidates by mid-December.
The Article I, Section 13, of the Charter of the City of Montrose 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."
By unanimous vote, the council adopted option 7 of the district map options presented.
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve a resolution to authorize the conduct of a mail ballot election for the City of Montrose General Municipal Election on April 5, 2022.
According to Deputy City Clerk Mikayla Unruh, the City of Montrose has been conducting mail ballot elections since 1994.
City Councilors voted unanimously to allow city staff to apply for a Peace Officer Mental Health Grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, (DOLA), to ensure peace officers have access to counseling services and are equipped to handle on-scene responses involving persons with mental disorders.
According to Kendall Cramer, the city's community program manager, the Montrose Police Department seeks grant funding up to $90,500 to fund a licensed counselor to oversee the department’s peer support program, purchase a co-responder vehicle, and provide Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for officers and co-responders.
The grant program provides financial assistance to law enforcement agencies to provide mental health services including: on-scene response services to support peace officers’ handling of persons with mental health disorders; counseling services to peace officers; assistance for development and implementation of policies to support peace officers who are involved in shootings or a fatal use of force; training and education programs that teach the symptoms of job-related mental trauma and how to prevent and treat such trauma; and, peer support programs.
ORDINANCE 2572 - SECOND READING
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2572 on second reading for the annexation of the Grace Community Church Addition II.
According to Senior City Planner Amy Sharp, the Grace Community Church Addition II is approximately 3.48 acres in size. The parcel is located east of S. Townsend Avenue, west of Woodgate Road, north of Otter Road, and south of Ogden Road.
ORDINANCE 2573 - SECOND READING
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2573 on second reading, which provides a zoning designation of “R-3” Medium Density District for the Grace Community Church Addition II.
ORDINANCE 2574 - SECOND READING
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2574 on second reading, authorizing the disposal of Lot 1 in the Air Park Way Minor Subdivision. This parcel disposal is associated with the Stryker Land Exchange.
Councilor David Reed abstained from the vote due to a possible conflict of interest.
ORDINANCE 2575 - FIRST READING
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2575 on first reading amending the zoning designation of a portion of the Police Department Amended Plat located at 434 South First Street from "B-1" Central Business District to "P" Public District.
ORDINANCE 2576 - FIRST READING
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2576 on first reading, repealing and reenacting the City's Municipal Code 5-2-1 regarding hotel room taxes.
City Councilors were presented with the possibility of adding the definition of marketplace facilitator, “MPF,” to the hotel room tax provisions in the Municipal Code to hold them responsible for collecting hotel room tax on sales facilitated through their marketplace.
According to Assistant City Attorney Chris Dowsey, an MPF is defined as a person who contracts with a marketplace seller or multi-channel seller to facilitate for consideration, regardless of whether or not the consideration is deducted as fees from the transaction, the sale of the marketplace seller's tangible personal property, products, or services through the person's marketplace; engages directly or indirectly, through one or more affiliated persons, in transmitting or otherwise communicating the offer or acceptance between a purchaser and the marketplace seller or multi channel seller; and either directly or indirectly, through agreements or arrangements with third parties, collects payment from the purchaser on behalf of the seller.
Online hotel booking sites facilitate the sale of lodging services which are subject to city sales tax by: offering the lodging services of third-party lodging services providers through their website or mobile app (marketplace); transmits the offer and acceptance between purchaser and third-party lodging services provider; and arranges payment between the purchaser and lodging services provider. Thus, the hotel booking site is likely required to collect and remit the sales tax on these sales, not the lodging services provider.
However, since the hotel room tax is an excise tax and not a sales tax—the MPF definition and ordinance do not speak to any excise taxes, only sales tax—the online hotel booking site is not required to collect and remit the hotel room tax. The hotel will be liable for this excise tax.
Hotels and individuals who rent their rooms or houses through MPFs may not understand that they are liable for the hotel room tax. They may assume that the MPF is collecting and remitting all taxes since they are doing so for sales tax, which would lead to deficiencies in the amount of hotel room tax collected. Adding the MPF definition to the hotel room excise tax will result in the collection and remittance of all applicable taxes for the rental of a house/room through a MPF coming from one source, thus eliminating confusion as to who is liable for this tax.
Additionally, this modification will avoid confusion for local restaurants who sell through MPFs that deliver their food. The pandemic made third-party food delivery companies popular and, depending on their business model, such providers may fit within the definition of an MPF. If so, the definition again would eliminate confusion about the collection and remittance of all applicable taxes from one source.
2022 SANITARY SEWER CURED-IN-PLACE PIPE BID AWARD
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve a contract renewal for Insituform Technologies, LLC in an amount not to exceed $250,000 for cured-in-place lining of sanitary sewers.
According to Utilities Manager David Bries, the City of Montrose conducts routine sewer line inspections that equip city utility crews to identify critical sewers that are candidates for Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP) to restore their structural integrity.
The lines designated for lining in the coming year are mostly Vitrified Clay Pipes (VCP) that have deteriorated and have higher maintenance costs due to the condition of the line segments. The upcoming lining projects are focused on Townsend Avenue due to CDOT’s plans to resurface Townsend Ave. this next year.
CIPP is a process of installing a new pipe within a pipe using the existing pipe as the form, thus restoring the structural integrity of the pipe. The city’s goal is to complete the lining of all of the sanitary sewers that are under the resurfacing project in advance of CDOT’s work in 2022.
The $250,000 is included in the 2022 wastewater collection budget for sanitary sewer pipe lining.
FORD VEHICLE PURCHASE AWARD
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve the purchase of 20 Ford vehicles from Sill-Terhar Motors in Broomfield, CO.
According to Public Works Manager Jim Scheid, on November 18, 2021, the city accepted bids for 20 new Ford vehicles:
8 Police Interceptors (4 replacement, 4 additional)
2 Detective F-150’s (all additional)
1 F-150 for Water Division (replacement)
1 F-150 for Parks (replacement)
1 F-250 for Facilities (additional)
1 Escape hybrid for Civic Campus (replacement)
2 F-150’s for Animal Control (1 replacement, 1 additional)
1 F-150 for Waste Water (replacement)
1 F-150 for Trash and Recycling (additional)
1 F-150 for Building Inspection (additional)
1 F-150 for Engineering (additional)
Scheid said nine of the vehicles are replacements that are budgeted in the Fleet Division vehicle equipment budget. The 11 additional vehicles are included in the 2022 budgets for Police Patrol, Police Administration, Facilities, Animal Control, Trash and Recycling, Building Inspection, and Engineering.
The city received two qualified and complete bids from Sill-Terhar Motors in the amount of $856,828, and Caldwell County Chevrolet Ford, Caldwell, TX in the amount of $1,016,463.
Scheid said city staff recommend purchasing from Sill-TerHar Motors, which would save the city $104,422 and remain within the original budget of $961,250.
EQUIPMENT PURCHASE AND SOLE SOURCE WAIVER REQUEST
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve a purchase request for Public Works to acquire two trash trucks and two Vactor trucks from Faris Machinery in Grand Junction. The total price is $1,950,478.
According to Public Works Manager Jim Scheid, steady growth in Montrose over the past several years has presented the need to expand the trash and recycling fleet and obtain a new Vactor truck to keep up with sewer collection demand. The new Vactor truck will also serve as an emergency backup.
POLICE DEPARTMENT BUILDING FITNESS EQUIPMENT PURCHASE
City Councilors voted unanimously to approve $71,552 to purchase equipment for the fitness center within the new Montrose Public Safety Complex currently under construction on South First Street.
According to Public Works Manager Jim Scheid, the fitness center is designed and intended for physical fitness training for Police Department and city staff members after proper approval and safety training.
The fitness center will allow efficient and secure access for staff training and fitness needs. The type of equipment utilized in the fitness center was requested by PD staff for their specific training needs and for general fitness.
The purchase of fitness equipment has been an anticipated owner expense for the MPSC project and will be funded from the Public Safety Fund.
City Manager Bill Bell said a recent news article that was published had information regarding the 2021 budget that was missing context. For example, Bell said the article suggested city sales tax revenue was in decline, when city sales tax revenue has been continuing to grow.
Police Chief Blaine Hall gave updates about a pair of local issues. Hall said the building of new Police Department headquarters is progressing nicely with brickwork being installed.
Hall also said it was wise for local residents to invest in new carbon monoxide detectors as recent incidents have contributed to local residents getting sick from carbon monoxide.
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 Public Meetings Portal.
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org.