Nederland Board of Trustees : A Year in Review

John Scarffe, Nederland.  In January, the Town of Nederland Board of Trustees approved the renovation of the Nederland Community Center during the Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, at 7 p.m. at the Nederland Community Center. The renovation will span 30 years and will cost, at today’s dollars, about $14 million.

The Community Center Site Master Plan is a comprehensive long-term plan for the next 30 years of improvements at the Community Center site, including the entirety of the 3.5 acres and all contained buildings. The 16-phase plan addresses drainage, traffic flow, neighborhood connectivity, the west wing area, landscaping, parking, building and site uses, as well other considerations.

The Board, at its Feb. 18, 2014 review, referred the plan to various advisory boards for consideration under the Nederland Planning Process (NPP). The CC Site Plan Committee again decided to support largely the plan as originally presented, though incorporating feedback from the NPP process in several ways. After much discussion and public comment, the Board approved the plan with Trustee Kevin Meuller voting no.

The Board discussed a noxious weed management plan for the Town of Nederland on January 20. The plan makes it mandatory for residents to remove noxious weeds in their yards. The weeds are contained on a list of those prohibited. Contained in the plan are educational recommendations, details of a weed inventory conducted with grant funds secured earlier this year and recommendations for weed management. The updated plan also includes a more in-depth section on best management practices, as recommended by the Board in November.

Trustee Charles Wood made a motion to approve the plan after deleting the sentence that makes it “unlawful” to have the weeds. The plan will then read, “It’s the duty of all persons to manage noxious weeds on the property.” The Board then approved the resolution.

Along with the resolution, the Board needed to approve an ordinance for noxious weeds. The Board approved the ordinance with an effective date of January 1, 2016.

In February, staff members of the Town of Nederland announced on February 3 that the Town has received new grants from the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant program. The Town has been selected as one of 22 communities nationwide to receive technical assistance through the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 grant program.

The Town submitted an application in December 2014 seeking assistance in the area of Sustainable Strategies for Small and Rural Communities. As an awardee, the Town will receive an in-person visit from an EPA-led team of nationally recognized consultants who will spend one to two days engaging residents, Town staff and elected officials in workshops focused on aligning the Town’s policy with its sustainable vision.

On Friday, January 23, the Colorado Department of Transportation informed the Town of Nederland that the Town has been awarded the TAP grant, Town Treasurer Eva Forberger announced. This grant, combined with additional funds from the Town of Nederland and the Downtown Development Authority, will add $250,000 to the NedPeds project for the completion of the spurs off Snyder Street and East Street.

Nederland was awarded a $25,923 grant to use for “tourism marketing” efforts. This funding is part of a $62.8 million federal relief package awarded to the State of Colorado following the September 2013 floods. The initial step will be performing an audit of the Visitor Center’s current materials to determine the needs to be addressed through purchases of new materials. The next step in this process will be contracting a design firm to begin producing the e-media kit.

On February 17, the Board approved a request from a ham radio club to use a room in the Nederland Community Center and to waive the rental fees. Jan Mussler requested approval of the lease for room 108, west wing, Nederland Community Center for the Nederland Area Amateur Radio Club to serve the mountain community by providing communications.

The Nederland Area Amateur Radio Club is a group of licensed amateur radio operators who wish “to serve their mountain community by providing auxiliary communications” for emergency events. This would be a way of getting information to families and loved ones and connect with those outside the city in an emergency. The room would be manned by amateur radio operators in eight-hour shifts.

The Board heard a report on the community Sort Yard that was just released. The Sort Yard continues to grow every year. It will open May 1 and runs through October 18. They are applying for a small grant to support communication information for a June 6 Town Clean up so folks can get their defensible space ready for fire mitigation.

In March, a grant application to the Department of Local Affairs for $800,000 will support the Town Maintenance Shops project and was approved by the Board on March 17. The Energy and Mineral Impact Program, administered by DOLA, strongly encourages a one-to-one match in order for a project to be competitive, and the Town has enough funds to leverage this amount within the cash reserves of its General Fund, Water Fund and Sewer Fund.

For several years the Town has been planning construction of a new Public Works Building. The current facility at 750 W. Fifth Street is in a state of declining repair, and the project will need to be done in two phases due to financial constraints. The first half will provide staff with some indoor storage of vehicles, thus extending the life of vehicles and equipment and lowering maintenance costs across the board. It will also allow for repairs major and minor to be accomplished indoors and out of the elements.

Town Treasurer Eva Forberger introduced a request to increase the 2015 budget by $20,000 to account for the design and engineering fees in JVA’s proposal for the Public Works Maintenance Shops. In fall 2014, $90,000 was budgeted for engineering and design of the Public Works Maintenance Shops with the assumption of an $800,000 construction cost, Forberger said. The Town is considering applying for a grant with DOLA that would significantly increase the construction budget for the public works maintenance shops, so the design costs increase accordingly. The Board approved the funding increase.

In April, the Trustees considered a single-use fee for bags on April 7. Under direction from the Board, Town staff prepared an Ordinance mandating a 10-cent fee on disposable bags (paper and plastic) used to transport consumer goods from retail stores in Nederland.

Retail stores will be permitted to keep 50 percent of the fee imposed by the ordinance up to $1,000 per month for the first 12 months of implementation. Following the first 12 months, retail stores will be permitted to retain 50 percent of fees up to $100 per month. Retail stores will be required to report to the Town the amount of fees collected and the number of bags distributed on a quarterly basis.

In addition to drafting the Ordinance, Town staff conducted a resident survey, engaged local business owners, and administered a community impact assessment. The project will be funded through the Town’s Tourism-Marketing grant to purchase the initial round of reusable bags.

After much Board discussion and comments from the public, the Mayor suggested that the Board ask town staff to meet with businesses to rework this in order to give the money back to the businesses. Staff should come up with an implementation plan and come back to the Board with a revised ordinance, and the Board agreed.

The Trustees approved a retail marijuana business in Nederland. Stacy Johnson for APEX Industries, Inc., Harvest House, submitted an application to run a retail marijuana store at 211 Highway 119. The Town received the application for a retail marijuana store on December 16, 2014, and it was deemed complete on March 6, 2015. Harvest House is located in the General Commercial zoning district (GC), which allows for the proposed use.

Mayor Gierlach presented Public Works Manager Jason Morrison with a proclamation recognizing him for his service. Morrison began work as the Public Works Manager on August 16, 2011, and has done an outstanding job of increasing the professionalism of the Public Works Department, and improving infrastructure and maintenance services town wide, according to the proclamation. Gierlach also declared Tuesday, April 7, 2015, Jason Morrison Day in the Town of Nederland.

On April 21, The Town of Nederland announced it has received a state water tasting award. Interim Public Works Director Chris Pelletier announced that recently the Town of Nederland received an award in recognition of the best tasting water at the annual Rocky Mountain Rural Water Association (RMRWA) conference.

The Board approved a request for a new liquor license at Crosscut Pizzeria and Taphouse at 4 E 1st Street. The Town received the application for a new liquor license in January 2015.

In May, the Town of Nederland Board of Trustees approved a proposal to reduce the use of bags in Nederland on May 5. Town Intern Alexander Armani-Munn presented a document to the Trustees providing details on the Nederland community’s unified approach to diminishing local dependence on disposable bags. This multi-faceted program will bring together local government, businesses and community organizations to engage Nederland residents and visitors in a collective effort to reduce the use of disposable bags and to shift local consumers to reusable alternatives.

The “Ditching Disposables” program proposed is an education and incentive-based campaign that seeks to measure and ultimately diminish the use and impacts of disposable bags in Nederland. The program will be administered June through September, and a final report including quantitative data and qualitative outcomes as well as a recommendation for next steps will be presented in September.

For each Disposable Bag (paper or plastic) provided to a customer, retail stores will charge a Disposable Bag Fee of 10 cents. Retail Stores shall record the number of Disposable Bags provided and the total amount of Disposable Bag Fees charged on the customer transaction receipt. A Retail Store may retain 50 percent of each Disposable Bag Fee collected up to a maximum amount of $100 per month. The Retained Percent may only be used by the Retail Store to provide educational information about the Disposable Bag Fee to customers.

The Trustees explored options for zero waste special events on May 19. The Municipal Code governing special events allows staff to promulgate rules necessary for the orderly planning and permitting of events. Since 2012, Town staff has encouraged zero waste practices at all permitted events.

With the recent direction of the Board, these activities will now be mandated, including creation and submittal of a zero waste plan that includes staffed recycling and composting stations or contracting to a waste management company that will handle all waste collection; agreement that no trash stations will be provided at the event; requirements that vendor service materials be compostable at the local transfer station; vendors must provide their own zero waste stations, separate from attendee stations; event decorations and signage must be reusable or compostable, and tracking all waste diversion and reporting to the Town in the post-event documents.

With two trustees absent, the Board agreed to move consideration of the plan to summer, with implementation currently scheduled for the summer of 2016.

In June, the Trustees approved a resolution for a minor subdivision for Centennial Bank and a land donation to the town on June 2. Susan Schneider, branch manager for Centennial Bank in Nederland, requested a Minor Subdivision for Centennial Bank at 26 S. Highway 119 and offered a land donation to the Town.

The bank owns lot A of the subdivision, which would be split in half, providing enough room to operate the business, and they would donate the other half of the property to the Town to serve as drainage for the subdivision. The bank would like to donate the portion of its property along the riparian corridor to the Town to further preservation efforts. The new subdivision will be known as Adler Subdivision Replat A. The property contains a segment of a social trail, which will likely remain in place.

Town Intern Alexander Armani-Munn presented an implementation plan for the Town’s disposable bag fee program. Town staff is recommending a three phase plan for implementation of Ordinance 737. In Phase I education will focus primarily on raising awareness while also assisting businesses in preparing for implementation and enforcement, and marketing graphics will be displayed and a news release distributed. Distribution Bags will be sold for $1 in Nederland.

Phase II implementation will begin on the Ordinance’s effective date of October 1 and will essentially be a “trial period” with no penalties imposed for non-compliance. Community outreach and reusable bag distribution will continue through implementation as funds allow.

In Phase III, enforcement, the Town will begin enforcing the Ordinance with penalties for noncompliance. All businesses will be expected to report data by April 15, 2016, with penalties imposed for non-compliance. In May 2016, Town staff will report to the Board on compliance.

In July, Mark Van Nostrand, project engineer with Town contracted engineers JVA Inc., presented an overview of the Biosolids Feasibility Study for the Nederland Wastewater Treatment Facility to the Board and public on July 7. The Biosolids Feasibility Study was prepared to assist the Town of Nederland in selecting a long-term treatment and handling approach for the solids processed at the Treatment Facility. The solids produced consist only of waste activated sludge.

Currently, the cost to contract haul and properly dispose of solids off-site is very expensive due to the trucking distance required through Boulder Canyon to land application sites. The low concentration of solids in the pond also requires contract dewatering to reduce the number of truck trips.

The Town received a letter on February 23, 2015, with odor warnings from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) with a penalties of up to $15,000 a day if odors are not mitigated. The purpose of the biosolids study was to evaluate an economically and environmentally sustainable solution for long-term solids handling and processing.

The primary goals of the Town are to reduce odors, reduce operation costs and improve sustainability. The solids process and handling facilities could be constructed in three phases, depending on the availability of project funding.

Presenter Van Nostrand told the Board that the State is poking around to see if the pond meets state requirements. The estimated cost would be $800,000 for basically a small concrete basin with a concrete lid.

Van Nostrand said the Town is currently hauling 95 percent water. The lagoon can be used to settle out the solids and get a thicker sludge. Right now the lagoon is operating as a digester. The Town needs to get rid of the pond and go with a digester, and the Board agreed to move ahead with the plan as presented.

In August, the Board discussed a vote of confidence for the Nederland Police Department but took no action on August 4. The Board discussed the matter and received many public comments but time ran out before the discussion could be concluded.

The Board considered law enforcement cards to be added to the #NedZero program and prioritized in Board goals. Recently, with Trustee support, Town Police Chief Paul Carrill added a “Public Safety” card to the #NedZero database.

This card will reflect the goals of the Nederland Police Department, with a primary focus on strategic planning and plan implementation. After much discussion about the need for the NPP process on this item, Trustee Larsen made a motion to begin the NPP process, hold a moderated public workshop and begin work on the strategic plan for the Police Department. The motion was approved.

On Tuesday, August 18, the Board received a request for a new retail marijuana business on 150 N. Jefferson Street, Units B3 & B7, owned by a Middle Boulder Management business.

During the application process, two building permits were applied for retroactively, and one of those permits was requested after a stop work order had been issued on work being completed without a permit.

The applicant said those issues have been taken care of and notified the Town Clerk of their intent to change the name for the business during the application process. The business is proposing hours from 8 a.m. to midnight. Trustee Randy Lee moved that a directive be given to Town Staff not to issue the license until a business name has been submitted to staff but approved the license. The Board approved the motion.

In October, the Board voted to accept the NedPeds bid for Nederland Pedestrian and Stormwater Management Improvements on October 13. The main purpose of the meeting was a work session on the 2016 budget. The Board convened to take action on the NedPeds project, which needed to be completed before the next regular meeting.

The Town of Nederland received one bid for the NedPeds project, which was due on Friday, October 9, 2015. Simultaneous to the last bid opening (which was over budget) the Town hired F&D International for the role of owner’s representative on the project.  Town staff asked F&D to look for changes that could reduce the overall expense of the project.

F&D looked at the design itself and identified various cost savings around construction methods and application of the Green Streets initiative. Some of the larger cost savings items in their redesign proposal include an asphalt portion along West 2nd Street (Traffic Circle to the RTD lot), changing the method of construction for concrete forms along inlets, changing the materials to boulders/rock for several concrete forms (e.g. retaining walls), changing materials for spurs (pathways along Snyder and East Street to red breeze crusher fines from concrete/pavers, with a barrier to hold in place the materials) and changing materials for East 2nd Street roadway from pavers to permeable asphalt.

The engineer’s estimate for this project is about $850,000. The contract will be negotiated, and the Board has given the Mayor the authority to go ahead and sign the contract when it is ready.

The Board conducted its first public hearing and official discussion of the 2016 budget on October 20. The Board began considering the draft 2016 Budget on August 18, and additional workshops took place on September 22 and October 13. A budget retreat, to discuss prioritization of budget items and staff compensation, took place on October 8. About 30 folks showed up for a budget open house on September 25.

In response to directives of the October 13 work session, a suggested amount of $50,000 was added for outside agency requests (community initiatives), though Town staff indicated that amount in discretionary funding was not available. The Town may be able to free up roughly $10,000 to $20,000 by cutting expenses in other areas.

The Capital Improvement Plan is primarily funding the Town Shop project, if voters approve retention of grant funds for that project at the November 3 elections. The schedule for the rest of the budget process continues on October 29 with the deadline for Public Comment. On November 17, discussion will focus on capital improvements and the staffing plan. On December 1, the Board must pass the budget and certify the 2016 Mill Levy. A budget and mill levy must be adopted by the Town by December 15.

The Trustees heard a proposal for improved signage in Nederland to encourage increased commerce and promote local events, attractions and education. The proposal recommended improvements for the west entrance on Highway 72 South and the Visitors’ Center.

Recognizing the current lack of “Nederland” signage on Highway 72 South leading into Nederland, staff recommended purchasing and installing a seasonal sign that encourages vehicles to stop in Nederland before continuing down the canyon. For the Visitors’ Center, staff proposed a new, large map.

The Town will be installing an electronic information kiosk outside the Center later this year. Next to the Kiosk is an empty space on the side of the Center that could accommodate a large-scale local map for visitor reference. The Board approved the new sign and map.

In November, the Board approved a request for a Special Event Fee Waiver for Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center on November 17. Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center is planning a fund-raising concert to celebrate the change of season, in an effort to subsidize rising costs, and the cost of the Special Event Liquor License is $100, which would reduce any fund-raising profits that may be collected through the event. Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center submitted a request for a full fee waiver of 100 percent.

Ellen Sevigny and her builder, Jeff Combelic, submitted a request to the Board for a discount in the required Plant Investment Fees (PIF) associated with new housing. The ¾-inch residential water and sewer taps cost $14,804 in water fees and $8,481 in sewer fees, totaling $23,285. The applicant requested a discount of 30 percent or $6,986 and argued that the home will be zero energy and low water use.

Trustee Larsen said this project is totally in line with what Nederland wants to see in town and made a motion for a 30 percent waiver to waste water fees for the project, and the Board approved the motion.

In December, the Town of Nederland Board of Trustees finalized the Town’s 2016 budget process on Tuesday, December 1. The overall budget calls for total expenditures of $5.78 million across all funds, a 6.9 percent increase from the 2015 Budget, primarily due to increases in capital spending and increased staffing costs with the Board’s commitment to the living wage initiative. The budget includes the Nederland Downtown Development Authority, after the NDDA Board of Directors recommended adoption of its budget at the November 18 meeting.

Estimated anticipated revenues from all sources total $4,674,445, and anticipated use of reserves total $1,106,203, for a grand total of $5,780,648. Estimated expenditures are the General Fund at $2,740,782, the Conservation Trust Fund at $16,000, the Community Center Fund at $478,564, the Water Fund at $1,197,441, Sewer Fund at $1,012,095, the Downtown Development Authority Fund for $23,860 and the Downtown Development Authority TIF Fund at $312,380, for a total of $5,780,648.

The Board also received a resolution to set the Town’s mill levy. The amount of money necessary to fund the Town of Nederland budget for general operating purposes including bonds and interest is $1,566,782, and the amount of money necessary to fund the Nederland Downtown Development Authority operating budget, is $23,386.

The 2015 net assessed valuation for the Town of Nederland as certified by the Boulder County Assessor is $24,320,294, and the 2015 combined base and incremental assessed valuation of the Nederland Downtown Development Authority as certified by the Boulder County Assessor is $6,103,519. For the purpose of meeting all general operating expenses of the Town of Nederland during the 2016 budget year, the Town levies a gross mill levy of 17,274 mills upon each dollar of the total valuation for assessment of all taxable property within the Town of Nederland.