Keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice

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Central City Council Meeting

By David Josselyn

Regular Council Meeting

Mayor Fey convened the February 5, 2019 regular meeting at 7:08 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers following a work session with the Business Improvement District. Council members; Jeff Aiken, Judy Laratta, Jackie Mitchell, Jack Hidahl, and Mayor Jeremy Fey were present. In attendance for Staff were City Clerk Reba Bechtel, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, Finance Director Abigail Robbins, City Manager Daniel Miera, Community Development Director Ray Rears, Public Works Director Sam Hoover, Utilities Director Jason Nelson, Fire Chief Gary Allen, and Gilpin County Sheriff Captain Tom Ihme.

Mayor Fey led the Pledge of Allegiance and then asked for any amendments or additions to the evening’s agenda. The Executive Session was moved from the beginning of the agenda to the final item on the agenda.

Mayor Fey asked if there were any conflicts of interest for any member of the council. There were no conflicts expressed.

Consent Agenda

The Mayor called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the minutes from the January 15 meeting and regular bill lists through January 30. Mayor Fey stated he had “a bunch of questions about the bill lists” and asked what the most appropriate time was to address them. Manager Miera responded that the Council can ask the City Office about bill lists items at any time and the regular meeting is an opportunity for the public to ask any questions directly. The Mayor replied that the public does not get to see the lists and Miera responded that they are posted online for the public. Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the Consent Agenda and was seconded by Alderwoman Mitchell. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to a topic on the night’s agenda. No one chose to speak to the Council at that time.

Fines Approved if Snow Not Removed

Director Rears reviewed the second reading of Ordinance 19-01 which would amend the Municipal Code regarding snow removal and the requirements for removing snow and ice from city sidewalks in the Historic Downtown Gaming zone and the Gregory Gulch Gaming zone. The Ordinance establishes penalties for failure to comply with the snow and ice removal requirements. Requirements include clearing at least a four-foot strip of adjacent sidewalk within six hours of the end of a storm and to continue to keep it clear. After six hours, the City has the option to clear the walks at the cost of the responsible party. If the City clears the walk, the responsible party will be charged costs for actual snow and ice removal plus an increasing fine for each offense. Unpaid fines will be certified to the Gilpin County Treasurer to be levied against the person’s property for collection by the County.

Alderman Hidahl commented that “this is a much improved ordinance over the first reading.” He then said that the Ordinance allows the City crews to remove the snow and ice which he is not in favor of because they are already working hard on snow removal and safety of the streets and Parkway and they need a mandatory break which would likely be during the six hour window. Hidahl also mentioned that there is no fee schedule for actual costs of snow removal and wondered if they were going to make it up as they go along. Manager Miera responded that they hope to use a contractor first and they will charge the cost of the contractor. Alderman Hidahl next brought up a concern about the two sets of stairs next to the Masonic building and the Gaming Commission and asked who will be responsible. He said that if the City takes on that responsibility, that’s fine, but if it is the property owners, then the definition of sidewalk may not include stairs. Manager Miera replied that they can change the language for clarification.

Mayor Fey opened the public forum and two people chose to address Council.

Resident Barbara Thielemann asked about the post office parking lot and if that would be included in the Ordinance. “If they clear off their sidewalks in front of the post office and down to the Grand Z, the parking lot is awful and I’ve slipped there often.” Mayor Fey replied in jest, “We’ll go after the Feds.” Thielemann stated that it was just a comment and she wanted them to hear her concern.

Resident Nicki Friedeck next addressed the council. She stated that there would not be a problem of workers (City staff) to clear a sidewalk if you used the money collected as a bonus to the worker. “They would totally stay on active duty if they had a five-hundred-dollar bonus, and they would totally clear that sidewalk.” Manager Miera responded saying that existing staff would do it if they could, but they have labor restrictions and time requirements they must follow.

Alderman Hidahl moved to approve Ordinance 19-01 and was seconded by Alderwoman Mitchell. The motion passed unanimously.

A New Sweeper

Director Hoover introduced Resolution 19-04 which would approve a purchase agreement with Hardline Equipment LLC for the acquisition of a street sweeper. This sweeper would be replacing a 2009 sweeper that is reaching the end of its life cycle. The new sweeper cost is in the 2019 budget.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 19-04 and was seconded by Alderwoman Mitchell. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Cheaper to Excavate

Director Rears introduced Resolution 19-05 which would amend the City’s Comprehensive Fee Schedule. One change this makes is to the grading and excavation permit from $7 per cubic feet, to $7 per cubic yard, thereby reducing the overall cost. The other change is an adjustment to the water rates based on the Consumer Price Index for utilities.

Alderman Hidahl commented that there are several fees they ought to take another look at for possible adjustment. A discussion followed regarding Parkway access. Manager Miera agreed to schedule a work session to discuss fees.

Alderman Aiken moved to approve Resolution 19-05 and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The Resolution passed unanimously.

A Question of Enforcement

Attorney McAskin introduced the first reading of Ordinance 19-02 which would amend the Municipal Code to establish an administrative citation procedure for addressing violations of the Municipal Code. This allows City Staff to enforce violations of municipal codes as an alternative to prosecution through municipal court.

Alderman Hidahl stated, “I really like this.” A discussion ensued regarding specifics of violations that may be brought to Council in another Ordinance.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the first reading of Ordinance 19-02 and set the public forum and second reading for Tuesday, February 19, and was seconded by Alderman Aiken. The motion passed unanimously.

Council Comments

Alderwoman Laratta reported that she was “Glad to be back amongst the living. After three surgeries and a Flight 4 Life ride, I am cancer free and you don’t need to have a special election.”

Alderman Hidahl commented that, “Right now our front door for a lot of people is the Century Casino Garage.” He said the garage is bad shape. “Do we have any responsibility for maintenance on that building?” asked Hidahl. Manager Miera responded, “No.” He would like to see if there is a way they could get it cleaned up so it would be “a more inviting place for people” to use.

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to the council on any items not on the agenda. Barbara Thielemann chose to address the council. She thanked Council for supporting her attendance at a CPI conference as a representative of the Planning and Main Street Commissions.

Executive Session

The Council went into executive session at 8:35 p.m. for legal questions regarding proposed changes to existing 1999 Growth IGA.

Mark your calendars

Mayor Fey adjourned the regular meeting at 10:00 p.m. The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

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