Debt Authorization passes

John Scarffe, Nederland.  No celebration. No Champagne. The November 7 election for a $2.3 million debt authorization to be used by the Nederland Downtown Development Authority passed, but new Board Chair Susan Schneider got right down to business during the Board’s regular meeting on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at the Nederland Community Center.

 

Schneider was leading her first full meeting since being elected chair in October. About ten people attended the meeting.

 

On August 15, the Nederland Board of Trustees approved an election called by the Nederland Downtown Development Authority. The election refers to the voters of the Nederland Downtown Development Authority a question to authorize debt in support of projects and programs in the downtown district. The NDDA Board approved the question at its July 27, 2017, meeting.

 

The associated financial scenario approved by the NDDA includes a request for about $2.3 million in project funding, with an overall 20-year repayment of $3.7 million, conservatively anticipated. All of the projects on these lists are in line with the NDDA’s Plan of Development, a document that governs all expenditures within the district, and further described in its Master Plan.

 

On November 7, NDDA District members and Nederland business owners voted 54 to 10 to pass the debt authorization. According to a memo to the Board, now that the Debt Authorization has passed, the projects that we’ve outlined need to be started.

 

Financing can come from a number of sources, including borrowing from town funds if available, bank loans and grants. All loans must be approved by the Nederland Board of Trustees, so in the case of projects where we are requesting funds for the whole project, detailed plans will need to be provided.

 

At the end of the meeting, Schneider listed the projects on top of the list. They include wayfinding with signage for parking and to help people find their way around town and to its attractions, expand on beautification and what the DDA has done in the past, maintenance and improvements at the Visitor Center, researching the feasibility and cost of an Entertainment District, the River Walk down to Snyder Street, traffic improvements at Lakeview and Big Springs intersections with Highway 119, and codes regarding downtown.

 

Many of those in attendance wanted to get their projects on the DDA list. Three spoke in favor of Entertainment Districts and the River Walk with comments like: “If we had an Entertainment District and underground parking, it would attract tourists and people seeking entertainment.

 

“It would make all of our businesses better. I like everything about the Entertainment District.”

 

Owner of Downtown Boutique Renaissance Woman said an Entertainment District would be wonderful. Nederland is dying. She can see it in the money coming into her shop. Her income has gone down. “If you want to continue to have a town, you need to make improvements and the Entertainment District would be good.”

 

Also during public comment, Steve Watts, Boulder, executive director of Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance, said he is working on bringing economic vitality to western Boulder County through developing the West Magnolia Trails Project.

 

People have heard about it in both a positive and negative light, Watts said. He asked if there would be potential from this body to assist with a $425,000 grant to build out the closest section of trails, Zone 1.

 

The U.S. Forest Service and BMA will be playing a role and looking at partnering with the community, including Teens Inc., Watts said. It will benefit the community in terms of recreationists and the businesses downtown when visitors enjoy Crosscut Pizza or Salto.

 

“When the Forest Service decided to have a management plan, they needed some oversight so we can maintain the trail character that has been here forever,” Watts said “We are working closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to meet those standards. We would like to reach out to talk about a comment letter, which can be submitted until the first week of January.”

 

Watts said he can be available for the next meeting on December 20, and Schneider said, “We’ll be in touch.”

 

The Board discussed opening a separate checking account for operating funds and expenses. Treasurer Mandy Kneer said that right now the NDDA only has one back account. They would like to have one money market account for TIF funds and then open an operating funds account with a $1,500 average balance.
The NDDA’s current bank account is a money market account. Money market accounts per federal regulations can only have six pre-authorized withdrawals per month, according to the memo to the Board. “In 2017, we have had more than six withdrawals per month twice, resulting in fees.

 

“To avoid possibilities of more such fees, after discussion with Mandy Kneer, I propose that we keep the existing money market account just for TIF funds and open a separate checking account for operating funds and expenses. This will also make the accounting easier.”

 

The Board approved a Supplemental Budget for 2017 and a proposed budget for 2018.

 

Kneer said the NDDA needs to reallocate some of the budget. The biggest expense is $14,500 for the elections. They budgeted $7,000, and the total cost will be $17,500.

 

“We’re about $7,000 over budget,” Kneer said. Technically NDDA has the money in the account. They would have to borrow it from the town and then pay it back next year. Board Member Katrina Harms said that in the summer the Town said they would pay for that if we went over.

 

Take that number and ask the Nederland Board of Trustees to borrow it, and we’ll pay it back in January, and that way we’re working with our specific operating budget, Harms said.

 

Kneer said she has no significant changes to the proposed 2018 budget.

 

The Board allocated $8,000 for elections and she will change that to $7,000. Harms said they should pass this budget now and do a supplemental budget in February.

 

Kneer suggested pulling the money out of beautification, and Schneider said beautification should be a project they can take out of the TIF funds. “That may be a bigger project than we could have ever done from operating budget.“

 

Kneer said Peak to Peak Healthy Communities is no longer interested in sponsoring July 4 fireworks, so we’re looking for someone to take that on. Harms said the Board could decide to support events in town with things like barricades and signage.

 

The Board agreed to send the 2018 budget to the Nederland Board of Trustees. Schneider said: “I’m totally thrilled about how many people showed up. It was really great to see. We are thrilled the debt authorization passed.”

 

Schneider suggested having a planning session instead of regular meeting in December so they can work on prioritizing projects and discuss hiring an executive director. The Board has a planning session at 5:30 p.m. Monday, December 11 at the Nederland Community Center.