Ned DDA February Wrap-up

nddaJanet Perry, Nederland.  During the February NDDA meeting Treasurer Amanda Kneer reported that she needed to receive information from the Town Administrator Alisha Reis before finalizing numbers.

Then Administrator Reis gave her report, announcing that the Board of Trustees had approved the NedPeds contract unanimously. The contract is for $936,000.  The NDDA will now determine the Spring ‘kick-off ‘ and schedule for the work. Once that is done, it will be reviewed by the NDDA Board and FD International will attend a meeting to confirm the approval of the schedule. Reis then mentioned the challenge of scheduling certain parts of the project because materials, like the asphalt and an oil used with it, must be worked with in a certain temperature range. Reis also said there will be a kick-off parade in April, as well as one at the end of the project.

Reis announced that the BOT candidate forum was to happen on March 8th and that NDDA Debt Authorization information will be distributed there.

She said any questions should be submitted to Janette Taylor.

Reis finished up her report by announcing that they were working on the 2016 supplementary budget. She said they were waiting on the NDDA Debt Authorization question on the April 5th ballot to determine if they will be drafting a secondary budget including that debt authorization. Reis said they “would be including the loan proceeds for NedPeds officially in the next month or two that are hopefully coming from the water fund, otherwise they will have to look at bank financing.” This would also include the Town projects. Town Accountant Mary Erwin would be working with the NDDA to get all of this together before being submitted in May to the BOT. Reis added that an audit would be running concurrently and that the Board will be advised on how to supplement. There is an account for the “final cash flow from flood recovery funds that are coming back in after being expended.”

Blackwood and Planning’s Nancy Blackwood then spoke about working with NDDA property owner Ron Mitchell. Blackwood commended the NDDA for drafting an impressive MPU. She then questioned that ‘workforce housing’ had been removed from ‘long-term considerations’ in the revised draft.

Chair Katrina Harms confirmed its removal from the revised draft.

Treasurer Amanda Kneer then clarified that the NDDA focuses on commercial properties, which is why the workforce housing was removed.

Both Kneer and Jeffrey Green noted that workforce housing was something that both the NDDA and locals were concerned about. Chair Harms then stated that if a workforce housing project was begun the NDDA could partner with such a project. Kneer added that the NDDA was interested in combined commercial and residential development.

Nederland resident Mary Curcio stated that she is concerned that distributors were being harassed by the Nederland Police for not knowing where to park while unloading stock for Nederland businesses. She then stated that she was collecting data on this and would be presenting that information at a later date. Green noted that they did hope to make Nederland more pedestrian friendly, “so it opens flow for distributors to get in and out smoothly.”

Longtime Nederland resident Sue Leto, who owned a successful plant and flower business in town for many years followed Curcio. Leto said that in the 35 years she has lived and done business in the town, delivery trucks only sit temporarily while dropping off supplies to local merchants. She said she didn’t understand what the problem was. She then informed the board that Curcio was unloading merchandise while parked in front of the Rustic Moose and was harassed by the Nederland Police Department.

Chair Harms agreed that this was a concern since many Nederland business owners delivered supplies with their own vehicles. She acknowledged that it wasn’t an NDDA issue so much as a Town issue but that identifying people who are delivering to businesses could be helpful.

Board member Jeffrey Green agreed that delivery drivers need to not be ticketed while doing deliveries to town businesses. Reis added that “First Street is a challenging area and they’ve discussed alternative loading areas for people that own businesses.”  She added that it’s been hard to gather information from everyone who has been affected and that a comprehensive discussion with everyone at the table would be helpful.  She emphasized that “individual officers are not out to get people and that needs to be understood”. She added that “The Police Chief would like to hear from people in regards to this issue.”

Leto then stated “that when the areas where Indian Peaks Hardware and Caribou Shopping Center were developed, they were supposed to provide low-income housing.” She asked why that did not happen. Alisha Reis said that “this is still on-deck for where the current Town Shop site is.” She said, “they are building the new Town Shop on Ridge Road and once that is built, they will dismantle the current one behind the fire station and that area is planned for housing.” She added that they are “still agreeing to this”, even if they are “not required to agree to it”.

Harms spoke about the mail-in ballot, adding that they need to be mailed back in. She explained that there are three ballots and that she would be mailing a letter to all eligible NDDA voters to explain the process. She said the process is that “you have an affidavit to select someone to vote, and that person gets sent the ballot.” She noted that the affidavits would be mailed that following Monday. She added that “because it is a mail in ballot and because you can register to vote up until the day of the election, someone can come in with the affidavit on the day of election and get a ballot”.

Harms said that the following week, “the NDDA can do a mailing to recommend that they vote yes on that ballot issue.” Harms asked that the board members go out, speak with people and answer questions. “This all needs to be done before March 14th when the ballots get mailed,” said Harms.

Reis added that the drop-off for ballots will be Town Hall. People can also register to vote at Town Hall.  She added that three election judges and the town clerk would be counting the ballots and that later that evening, unofficial results would be posted online.

Harms pointed out that any advocacy done cannot be paid for out of NDDA funds.  She said she would be sending out a time-line and ballot FAQ to the board members.

Nederland resident and business owner Ron Mitchell then addressed the board, stating that he would like to see workforce housing because “local businesses are having a hard time keeping employees”.  He noted that there are grants available from HUD.

Harms announced that people from the Nederland Community Garden would be asking for a waiver of water rates at the March 1st BOT meeting.  The Board agreed to support this.

Next Harms gave an update on a DCI conference held Feb. 16th. Things discussed were “how to get employees in town to park other places besides in front of where they are employed.  For instance, make the Presbyterian Church lot a Facebook page where people can check in and there can be a raffle once a week for incentive to park there.”  She added that they “were informed of a formula that tells how much a parking space is worth and how much money it generates so they can tell employees how much the business is potentially losing by an employee parking there”.

Kneer added that “they suggested giving out maps to employees so they know what areas they can park in.” She added that bike parking would also encourage people to bicycle to work in warmer weather.

Harms added that they may use leftover money from the MPU for hiring a person to create materials for public outreach.  At Kneers suggestion, Harms said she would write up an RFP so that the the NDDA could approve this proposal.

Harms wants to communicate with property owners more in the future, and that advocacy information should include the website information.

The next NDDA meeting will be April 20th at 6:30 in the Community Center multi-purpose room.