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On June 14, 2022 The Town of Buena Vista Board of Trustees (BOT) met to discuss the future of several ongoing projects the town has been overseeing. At the top of the agenda was an update on financing approval for the construction of the new police station, and the award of the construction contract.

The BOT was asked whether they should approve the adoption of Ordinance No. 21, Series 2022, entitled “An Ordinance of the Town of Buena Vista, Colorado authorizing the execution and delivery of a site lease, and a lease-purchase agreement

Buena Vista Town Hall. Photo by Henry DeKam

Per the recommendation of the BOT to continue pursuing finance for the new police station, Town of BV Staff have partnered with Collegiate Peaks Bank, Stifel Finance, Hoffman, Parker, Wilson, and Carberry, and Butler Snow Bond Attorneys to reach a lease-purchase agreement. Alan Matlosz, Managing Director in Stifel’s Colorado Public Finance Group, addressed the BOT via Zoom with details of the site lease agreement and financing of the new police station.

Matlosz explained that Ordinance No. 21 addresses the approval of a $3,100,000 lease-purchase finance with Collegiate Peaks Bank in Buena Vista. After an extensive and competitive search for the best financing options, Collegiate Peaks Bank won the bid and provided a 15 year lease agreement at a fixed 3.25 percent interest rate. The financing presented to the BOT was for a lease-purchase agreement “whereby the Town agrees to lease the building to Collegiate Peaks Bank, receive $3.1 million in proceeds to renovate the building and then lease the building back from the bank for 15 years”, according to a Stifel Public Finance memo.

The law firm Butler Snow prepared several financing documents for the BOT to review including the ordinance, the site lease, and the lease agreement. Included in these three documents are all the parameters and finance guidelines of the leasing of the new police station. Of particular note, within the site lease it states that Collegiate Peaks Bank will hold the lease of the property for 25 years, a decade longer than the lease agreement, to give the bank additional time to recoup the loan amount in the “slight chance the town decides to not appropriate the lease payment. Once the site lease is paid off, the site lease goes away”, according to the Stifel memo.

Trustees said they were pleased with the opportunity to use a local BV bank to support the community in yet another way through this project and the ordinance was unanimously approved.

The next order of business was  Resolution No. 45, Series 2022, which approved an agreement with MW Golden Constructors for the construction work on the new police station.

Town of Buena Vista Planning Director Joseph Teipel took the floor to explain the details of the resolution. Teipel explained the Town is waiting to hear back from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) regarding the acceptance of a $600,000 grant to help fund the construction. As of Tuesday evening, the Town had not received a confirmation or rejection of receipt of the grant.

Meanwhile, Teipel explained, the prices of building materials continue to go up at an exponential rate. In Resolution No. 45, Series 2022, Teipel lays out two separate options for the BOT to consider and act on. The first: a “forward contract” with MW Golden Constructors to ensure the acquisition of “long-lead-time materials” so that construction can commence as scheduled on the new police station while awaiting a decision from DOLA.

The second scenario proposes a full contract with MW Golden Constructors in the event the DOLA grant is not awarded to the town. Teipel explained that if the DOLA grant of $600,000 is awarded to the town the money would be allowed to “pay for expenses that were committed to, or under contract, prior to the date that a full grant contract is executed by both the Town and the state”. In order to operate most efficiently, the new police station needs to be at least 8,400 square feet to operate safely with compliance; however, Teipel and the town are hoping to build a 10,000 square foot expansion when all is said and done. Teipel said the goals of this construction plan are to provide a “forever home” for the Buena Vista Police Department.

If trustees approve either construction option, the proposed start date would be July 11, 2022, with a nine-month “construction window” and anticipated completion in April 2023. However, Teipel notes, that the construction window could be drastically reduced if critical materials are able to be acquired more quickly than expected.

Moving forward, Teipel presented two scenarios for the BOT to consider. Scenario 1 (Forward Contract Exhibit A2 and B) would require the approval of $961,673 which would allow crucial workers, subcontractors and construction to commence on schedule and proceed until word was received from DOLA, at which point, the contract with MW Golden Constructors would still be within the parameters to satisfy the DOLA grant requirements. If no word was heard from DOLA, Scenario 2 (Full Contract Exhibit A1 and B) would authorize a full construction contract with MW Golden Constructors for the sum of $4,070,238. A proposal was also made to amend the current budget from  $4,460,00 to $5,787,158.

A motion was put forward to pass Resolution No. 45 with Scenario 1 Forward Contract Exhibit A2 and B which trustees passed unanimously in an effort to stay on schedule with construction and to avoid, as much as possible, paying higher costs for building materials in the future while waiting for word on the DOLA award.

Shining Mountains Montessori School Update

Lisa Lamb, lead teacher and school director of The Shining Mountains Montessori School, took the podium to update the BOT on the progress of her recently opened school located at the historic chapel at 343 U.S. 24 South. After extensive renovations and improvements to the 140-year-old building, including a new water heater and welcome sign, Lamb thanked the Town of BV’s support in helping turn a decaying chapel into a shining center of learning.

“It has turned into a beautiful, little Montessori School”, Lamb beamed.

Phillip Puckett called the collaboration with The Shining Mountains Montessori and the Town of BV a “tremendous partnership” and was proud to see Lamb take to heart the historical significance of one of BV’s oldest still-standing buildings. The Shining Mountains Montessori School currently provides jobs for more than 30 families and plans to have its official ribbon cutting at the school next Wednesday, June 22. Lamb said the event is open to the public and encouraged everyone join in the celebration.

Liquor License Fees Apply

Next on the agenda was a public hearing for the acquisition of a Hotel and Liquor License for Miana BV, an LLC doing business as Bread + Salt BV.  A stop-work order had been issued by the town because Michael Ulelha, owner of Bread + Salt, had failed to pay the appropriate fees to the town and Chaffee County when his application for a hotel and liquor license was submitted.

Ulelha appeared before the BOT and pleaded forgiveness and grace, claiming the failure to comply was his ignorance of the process, and fell solely on his shoulders. The BOT explained that once the proper fees and applications are submitted it can take two to five weeks to receive approval.

Upon further inspection, it was found that Ulelha owned several others restaurants in Frisco and Breckenridge. But when asked if he was unaware of the proper procedures for applying for a hotel and liquor license, and whether he had encountered these problems before with his other restaurants, Ulelha claimed this was his first time struggling to acquire these licenses. As of June 14, the day of the Trustee meeting, Ulelha had paid the required town fees, but still had not paid the outstanding Chaffee County liquor license fees. Until the fees are paid and proper procedures followed, the town will not and cannot issue the hotel and liquor license.

Other matters of note at the BOT meeting included the proposed renaming of several roads leading to the Buena Vista Airport to reflect a more aviation theme and updates on fundraising efforts for the new Boys and Girls facility. During staff updates, Town Administrator Phillip Puckett updated the BOT on the current hiring search for his replacement as he transitions into the role of Town Treasurer. At the time of the meeting, nine applicants had thrown their hats in the ring with the application deadline of June 15 quickly approaching. Puckett explained that the list of applicants would be kept quiet until finalists had been approved.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28.