Pam North, Nederland
The Nederland Board of Trustees (BOT) met Tuesday evening, January 21. Members present were Mayor Joe Gierlach, Mayor pro tem Kenvin Mueller, Trustees Chris Perret, Ledge Long, Peter Fiori, and Annette Croughwell; Trustee Randy Lee was absent. Also in attendance were Town Administrator Alisha Reis, Town Treasurer Eva Forberger, and Town Clerk Michele Martin.
The January 21 Accounts Payable, Schedules A & B; December 10, 2013 Special Meeting Minutes; and January 7 Regular Meeting Minutes were approved, along with a grant Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) with Boulder County regarding Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation funds for Mud Lake.
The Town of Nederland and Boulder County will work cooperatively on a fuels reduction project at Mud Lake Open Space, making use of recently awarded FEMA hazard mitigation grant funds. Boulder County was awarded more than $630,000 for the effort, and Nederland’s portion is $60,000.
Xcel Energy representatives were on hand, commenting briefly on recent power outage issues, then stepping outside the meeting room to hand out forms for residents to fill out to file claims for rebates for periods of lost power and compensation for damaged items damaged by power surges. Xcel has been heavily censured by local residents and business owners for the sporadic and low quality of service provided by the company, particularly in recent months.
Alisha Reis reported that the new wastewater plant cleans water more thoroughly and releases a higher quality effluent into Barker Reservoir.
She also mentioned that the renewal of the NedWEB program was being pursued for 2014. NedWEB (Nederland Winter Economic Boost) was a 2013 pilot project utilizing Boulder County Economic Development Grant funds to create a more sustainable local economy for Nederland, encouraging consumers to get in the habit of shopping locally, and revving up commerce during the cold weather slump. The intent was that more even, year ’round activity would gain momentum and beneficially shape consumer behavior.
Each month, from January through May, 2013, the first 66 presenters visiting Town Hall with $100 worth of receipts from Nederland businesses or service providers on the Nederland “Good Neighbor Business” list each received a voucher worth $15 that could be redeemed like cash at any participating local retailer whose establishment displayed the NedWEB sticker. The voucher then was redeemed at Town Hall by the business for the $1, plus an additional $1 handling fee.
The program thus encouraged a customer to shop twice. It was a successful program last year, and will be pursued for this year as well.
Michele Martin reported that five new business licenses had been processed, and eight building permits were issued, The election candidate packets will be available soon, and Martin also mentioned that if residents will want a mail-in ballot, they now must request one as an absentee ballot from her office.
Eva Forberger reported that the Town has converted to new general ledger software as of January 1; a new Public Works employee, Dan Bishop, had been hired; and Carole Handler had been promoted from back-up receptionist to Community Center assistant to Dawn Baumhover.
The Community Center renovation is expected to be complete by February 7. The new police chief will be here next week, and he will interview for the open police officer position.
Board of Trustee Reports
Mayor Joe Gierlach mentioned that he and Reis had met with Craig Eicher, area manager for Xcel, to discuss the many recent power outages in the Nederland area, and that some new ideas had been generated, one of which was automatic bill credits for Nederland utility customers in the amount of $50.00.
BOT Goals Update: Reis reported that an update on BOT goals was included in the packet.
Request for Proposal for Inflow and Infiltration Flood Work: Last November the Colorado Resources & Power Development Authority created a grant fund for flood-impacted communities in the state, to be used for engineering assistance to enable communities to submit reimbursement proposals to FEMA for repairs.
The Town had applied for engineering assistance to cover the cost of engineering work relating to inflow and infiltration repairs to the Town’s sewer lines. Requests for proposals were prepared to go out to repair vendors for bids.
Update on Well Waiver for 33 Stinky Gulch Road: A memo had been received from Town Attorney Carmen Beery regarding properties within and outside of 200-ft. distances from the Town’s water/sewer pipelines.
The application for O Limited (Canary’s Song) at 1 West 1st Street as Nederland’s and Boulder County’s first retail marijuana establishment, resulted in unanimous approval after a public hearing was conducted. No public comment was offered. Canary’s Song also will continue to sell medical marijuana. Applicant Ryan Anderson spoke briefly, and Town Clerk Martin mentioned that requirements for the retail marijuana business had been met and the application properly posted.
The project was approved after lengthy discussion by the Board members, and a lengthy period of public comment from concerned property owners on 2nd Street. Many of the property owners on 2nd Street and its proximity spoke in favor of the project’s many benefits, while a few others viewed it negatively.
NedPeds (Nederland Pedestrian Enhancement Design) is a project focusing on providing safe, non-vehicular connections from the current downtown area to the area between the post office and the library. It will enhance that corridor through storm water management, landscaping, pedestrian amenities, provide for the installation of additional crosswalks and other features, for the benefit of economic development and sustainability. The project is adjacent to North Beaver Creek, and will facilitate the quality of the creek corridor.
The NedPeds project’s primary goals are to better accommodate pedestrian traffic and to mitigate flooding on 2nd Street. Brian McLaren of Huitt-Zollars, Inc. gave an overview of the NedPeds project, and Conor Merrigan of C2 Sustainability also was on hand to add to the presentation and answer questions. Both men highlighted the extensive effort that had been made in reaching out to and informing the public through the many months of developing the project, and in making compromises at various stages to alleviate the concerns of the property owners.
Two large spruce trees located in the right-of-way have been threatened by the project, and additional studies by experts were used to ascertain the trees’ health, viability, and importance. Keeping the trees in place plays no real ecological role, but affects the path of the current road design, and a redesign will cost at least an additional $10,000, while removal of the trees would be only about $1,200 apiece. Because of residents’ outspoken concern, extra money (up to $15,000) was promised through Town funds to slightly re-route the street to spare the trees.
Bids soon will be solicited from contractors so that construction may begin in the spring. The project has gone over budget, so there is some concern that funding still could be a problem, and because of recent flooding, contractors are busy mitigating those effects, and bids for the NedPeds project could be fewer and more expensive.
A facility use agreement for use of the BioFuels building for an indoor composting operation was tabled for action until the next BOT meeting. Some opposition was voiced against the project’s location by several local residents.
Dale Porter, chairman of the Community Center Foundation Board, felt that while the compost project was beneficial to the community, basing it at a community gathering place was unsuitable and would limit further development of the building, and he advocated that a more suitable location should be found. Kayla Evans agreed, and mentioned concerns about odors and enticement of wild and domestic animals.
The meeting adjourned at 10:52 p.m. The next regular meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees will be on Tuesday, February 4, at 7:00 p.m. at the Nederland Community Center, 750 Highway 72, Nederland.