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The Salida City Council met in regular session on Oct. 4, 2022, on the heels of the joint work session with the Planning Commission that immediately preceded it.

Consent agenda

The consent agenda passed, including a last-minute addition for a paving contract at Salida Airport – Harriet Alexander Field. The emergent need was driven by recently received bids and the short weather window remaining this season to get the work done. The $143,000 award will be paid half by the city and half by the county and fits within available Airport operating funds.

Citizen Comment

Resident Robin NeJame was the sole speaker. As a long time resident, property owner and landlord who supports and provides affordable housing already, she expressed that Ballot Measure 6A is an additional tax/cost on those who already provide affordable housing. She said she would like to support 6A but “asks the Council to ‘sell her’ on why she should vote for it in addition to what she already pays.”

“People want to know something tactile. What specifics will it be used for?”, she added.

Ordinance 2022-18 Increasing the Occupational Lodging Tax (OLT) to $4.82 per Occupied Room per Night for Short term Rentals

 Mayor Shore asked City Administrator Drew Nelson if some of the potential increased revenues from the higher OLT could be used to defray added costs at Franz Lake if the city takes over management of it from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Nelson responded that while plans for this are not definite, it appears that this would be a permissible use of these voter-restricted funds. Council member Harald Kasper stated that raising the OLT to the previously approved maximum was long overdue. With no comments raised during the public hearing and members in agreement, the ordinance passed with an effective date of January 1, 2023.

Jane’s Place Fee Waiver

Logo courtesy Chaffee Housing Authority

The Chaffee Housing Authority had requested a waiver of up to $65,000 in fees associated with the Jane’s Place Planned Development. Community Development Director Bill Almquist and Finance Director Aimee Tihonovich reported that a waiver would result in a loss of income from tap fees not paid to the Water Fund.

The Water Fund is an “Enterprise Fund” which needs to stand on its own to support the business of providing water and wastewater, so it was clarified that money would be transferred from the Inclusionary and Affordable Housing Fund to the Water Enterprise Fund. This keeps their respective fund balances “true” and reflects the intended use. The action item passed.

Salida Crossings Timeline Extension and Modified Plan

Developer BVD Investments requested a timeline extension for their project (originally known as Salida Commons) at 1520 U.S. 50, west of Hwy 291 and also sought feedback on a modified site plan, with 30 fewer units and one less mixed-use building. The mixed-use buildings also would have one less floor, reducing their height. A mix of AMI levels between 100 percent AMI and 140 percent AMI is now driven by the rising cost of housing and the challenge of how to match units with qualifying buyers of these for-sale units.

Council member Alisa Pappenfort asked about landscaping, the use of native species, and ensuring long term viability. Community Development Director Almquist responded that “native species are recommended but not required and must be maintained after one year.” BVD Investments Sr. Project Manager Bernard Weber indicated that irrigation would be provided.

No public comment was given; however owners representative Benny Lucia thanked council members for their support and assured Pappenfort “don’t worry about that [the trees], they’ll be here for a long time.” The timeline extension request (to April 28, 2023 for Building A) was approved and the modified design continues to move through the major amendment process.

Resolution 2022-46 – Certify Delinquent Utility Bills

Finance Director Aimee Tihonovich noted that only eight of 3,000 utility accounts need to be passed to the County Treasurer for a lien filing, protecting the city’s financial claims. The certification was approved.

PROST Advisory Board

Council members expressed that it was challenging to pick just three of the four Tier 1 candidates. After some back and forth, they accepted City Administrator Drew Nelson’s recommendation to fill the three open slots now and then come back in a  future work session and consider an ordinance adding two more members from among the remaining candidates. Council member Naccarato then expressed concern about losing the interest of the fourth top candidate or that the fourth person might feel excluded.

Salida City Parks and Recreation Director, Mike “Diesel” Post. Courtesy image

Council member Pollock stated that three of the candidates were already so involved in recreation activities and council member Justin Critelli agreed, moving that Jon Terbush, Stacey Falk and Jess Smith be appointed. With the Mayor’s support to revisit a larger board in the near term, members approved Pollock’s motion unanimously.

The board currently has seven voting members and no alternates – Parks and Recreation Director Diesel Post noted that a challenge to using alternates on this board is the difficulty of getting a quorum, especially during the peak summer months.

Resolution 2022-48 –  A Memorandum of Understanding with Xcel Energy for the Partners in Energy (PIE) Program

Administrator Nelson announced that the City of Salida was chosen to be the 35th Colorado participant in the PIE program. The program is an initiative of the sustainability committee and seeks to develop local partners to prepare an individual community energy plan.

Possible stakeholders may include, among others;:

  • City of Salida Staff
  • Sustainability Committee Representatives
  • Greater Arkansas River Nature Association
  • Atmos Energy
  • Energy Smart Colorado
  • Chaffee County
  • Colorado Smart Cities Alliance

Imogene Ainsworth, Xcel Energy Partners in Energy Lead Facilitator. Image courtesy Xcel Energy

He then turned the floor over to Ashley Valdez, Area Manager for Xcel Energy and Imogene Ainsworth, Lead Facilitator for the PIE program who outlined the next steps in the two-year process.  At the end of the presentation, Treasurer Merrell Bergin asked if the plan would be tailored to Salida’s needs. Ainsworth responded that “…while they do follow best practices and lessons learned (especially from other rural/mountain communities) that the Salida program would be driven by local stakeholder input.” In a follow up question from Treasurer Bergin, Ainsworth stated that there is no cost to Salida for the program and that it has a value of some $30,000-$50,000 to our community.

Resolution 2022-49 – Support for Ballot Measure 6A

Next before the council was a resolution in support of Ballot Measure 6A that seeks to gain voter approval for a 3.5 mill property tax to provide $2 million annually in funding for the Chaffee County Housing Authority (CHA).

In council discussion, member Dominique Naccarato referred to CHA documents and re-stated the pressing need for CHA funding. She said that they “do have a number for people” and … if passed,  “estimated that measure 6A might contribute 29 additional workforce housing units per year and [monies would be] greatly leveraged for future state and federal resources”.

Council member Harald Kasper added “..Whatever we do, it is on someone’s shoulders  This one is on the shoulders of any property owner. It spreads the load wider than other actions that have been taken.”

Given the earlier challenge posed by resident Robin NeJame encouraging council members to reach out and “sell” the measure with tangible deliverables, City Administrator Drew Nelson responded to Treasurer Bergin’s request for legal clarity on outreach.

Nelson said that the city as a body can only show support by a resolution; however, “…now that the ballot language is established on the docket, individual council members are free under the State Fair Campaign Practices Act to take positions of advocacy” and contact their constituents to ask for their support. The measure passed unanimously.

Council and Mayor Reports

Council member Naccarato agreed with Harald Kasper on the need for incentives for landlords who rent affordably and who are missing potential higher income on their current rentals while keeping locals housed.

Member Jane Templeton reported on her recent attendance at the Mountain Towns 2030 Climate Solution Summit. She recounted that a keynote speaker said “our influence as mountain towns is to change the minds of visitors who live in places where climate change is not  foremost in their environment.”  Templeton added “ this should be a guiding principle in our planning to interact; with actions regarding our visitors”.

Templeton then noted that the Mountain Collaborative for Climate Action includes 75 ski areas as members – and Monarch Mountain is not one of them. She asked that the city reach out to them ask that they get active with climate action. Note: Monarch Mountain is a member of Colorado Ski Country USA and has noted some  of its efforts there, In addition, on its own website, Monarch speaks to their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

City Administrator Nelson reported that Assistant Administrator Christy Doon advises that the City of Salida was incorporated 142 years ago on this date – October 4, 1880. A round of applause ensued.

A motion to go into Executive Session regarding the Annual Performance Evaluation for the City Clerk was passed and the public session then concluded.

Featured image: Salida City Council members Dominique Naccarato, Justin Critelli, Mayor Dan Shore Jane Templeton, Alisa Pappenfort and Harald Kasper pictured in April, 2022 work session. Not shown, but attending virtually is Council Member Mike Pollock. Merrell Bergin photo