Growth impacts childcare resources

The June 26th meeting opened with a presentation by Maegan Lokteff, Director of Grand Beginnings. She explained to the Trustees that Grand Beginnings had been providing services to Grand and Jackson counties since the late 1990’s. Their areas of focus include childcare/daycare, health, family education and a community tuition program.

Lokteff told the Board that Grand Beginnings has provided over $100,000 in the last five years, funding teacher education, services and supplies. She added that, in Grand County, between 70-90% of children have received screenings through their efforts.

She also told them that Grand County is the fifth most expensive county in Colorado to pay for childcare. Funding from the state and county have decreased in recent years and they are actively seeking alternative funding sources. She estimated that they receive about $250,000 per year in grant funding, but it is not nearly enough.

Lokteff cited the level of housing fragility in the county as a key area of concern. With many families residing in more affordable Granby, it is concentrated in the area. “There are too many homes and units that are unsafe for a child’s health and well-being’, said Lokteff. She told the Trustees that a family of 4 needs to earn a minimum of $60,000 per year to be self-sufficient and 40% of county residents fall under 200% of the poverty level. In Granby, the limited number of daycare facilities can only serve 30 children under the age of 3, when there are closer to 250 children in that age range. Planning for future growth is critical at this juncture.

Mayor Paul Chavoustie asked Lokteff “What can we do, as a town?”. Lokteff said that  “Developers can start to think of how they can cover the added families coming into the community”. She suggested new developments build a facility onsite, like Wapiti in Fraser did. She said attracting early childhood educators to Grand County is a “huge workforce issue”. The position’s low rate of pay and high demands create hard job to fill jobs. Centers have a hard time recruiting because of affordable housing. Subsequently, the lack of childcare forces some families to leave as well.

She thanked the Town for providing the little red house for the Granby Play Days childcare, which she acknowledged helps the Town to be more sustainable, but “it doesn’t solve the problem”.

EGSD requests amendment to ordinance

Next, EGSD Superintendent, Frank Reeves, spoke to the Granby Trustees. Reeves admitted that housing is a challenge, as Maegan said. “We have had lots of job candidates turn us down because of the lack of affordable housing”, said Reeves.

Reeves told the Board the reason he was before them was to request a change in Town ordinance. Referring to new development “money in lieu of land” he told them over the last few years, the School District had “learned about the processes and how to work together”. However, the formula for the fees hasn’t been changed in 20 years, since 1998. He said language in the ordinance references that, “periodically, the formula will be reviewed”, and Reeves asked the Board to take a look at the current formula. He told the Trustees that, since the ordinance was written, “it takes more land to build a school”.

2014 standards calculate needed space at 600 square feet per student, but current language in the Town’s ordinance uses 450 square feet. He asked the Trustees to please review the ordinance and, hopefully, adjust it to reflect the 2014 standards. He told them that the the School District will be conducting a needs assessment on existing facilities and may be requesting a bond to build another school in November 2019.

The Trustees agreed that the ordinance should be reviewed and amended, noting the timeline for approval also requires 30 days for publication. While existing developments would not be subject to the new fee multiplier, any new developments approved after the amendment’s timeline has been completed, if approved, would be subject to the new methodology. The Trustees asked that Staff bring an amendment to the next meeting for consideration.

Trustees approve two Sun River Ranch amendments

The Trustees also approved two amendments to the Sun River Run Ranch development. The first was an amendment to the development agreement for the RV park, tying the completion and approval dates and final acceptance to be triggered at the end of the warranty period.

Town Attorney Scott Krob explained that a development initially posts a performance bond which covers it through Initial acceptance, which is followed by a 2 year warranty period. The developer must provide a warranty guarantee of 15% to cover anything not completed.

Trustee Natascha O’Flaherty asked Krob “What happens if they don’t ask for initial acceptance?”. Krob stated that the Town holds on to the performance bond. If no request is made they’ll hold on to the 15% guarantee amount. This places the burden on the developer to design and construct and gives the Town the ability to go back and requests fixes that may be needed. “Testing and inspection phases are crucial to passing a good development”, Krob explained. “Once the final acceptance is issued, the town could be liable for any repairs (roads, etc.).

The second amendment sets the purchase price at $15,000 per acre. As a result of a recent survey, the development was found to have 61.5 usable acres, which results in a final sale price of  $922,500. The amendment also revised the Title Company’s name change.

Committee and Staff Reports

Administrative Chair and Trustee, Deb Shaw, presented the Board with the recently purchased Quilt Square block, which will be mounted on Town Hall. This puts the Town on the Grand Quilt Trail map, joining other communities in the artistic endeavor.

Economic Development Chair Josh Hardy told the Board that he’d recently met with Granby Chamber Executive Director, Jessica Blair. She told him that the Chamber had helped the Flying Heels Rodeo with a $2,500 payment to help them with funds to cover the Westernaires costs for the July 4th parade and rodeo. Hardy told the Board that it does not come close to covering their total expenses. The Chamber is hoping the Town could help fund the $2,500, which will result in a budget shortfall for them. Blair had told Hardy that the rodeo did not renew their non-profit status on time and the chamber was helping out in the meantime. Rodeo admission and concession dollars will help fund some of the costs, but not all.

Trustees recognized that the Rodeo does benefit the town, but were not comfortable with funding the $2,500. They suggested the Rodeo approach the Rotary and Fire Department as alternative funding resources. The town had previously allocated $1,000 to the rodeo to cover payment for a saddle, and, “funding their administrative emergency” should not be a priority.

The Trustees agreed that the rodeo needs to seek funding from other sources to help offset this expense. They added that they need to come to the Board during the budget period to request funds so that they are budgeted properly.

It was noted that the Chamber had already paid the Rodeo $2,500, which means they will now fall short somewhere else in their budget. It took the Board several motions to arrive at an approval to give the Granby Chamber $1,000 toward their $2,500 budget deficit.

Hardy also told the Board he’d been looking into various grant opportunities and asked them to review He said the state is broken into 14 regions, and Granby is within the Rocky Mountain Resort region – an “economic enhancement zone”. He told the Board that Tax credits are available to business owners and potential business owners, for commercial equipment, certification classes and other business-related expenses. Hardy told the Board the website also has a wealth of great statistics, including that an estimated $200 million is spent in Grand County as a result of visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park and Winter Park Resort.  The County’s key industry clusters are related to the outdoors, health & wellness, creative industries (arts, theatre), transportation & logistics and infrastructure engineering. 80% of Grand County is public land. And, we have one of the highest life expectancy rates in the US.

Town Manager Aaron Blair told the Board he needed direction on Reclamation Ridge. He said he’s received an abundance of emails and phone calls on issues with the facility ranging from dust not being properly mitigated, visibility of mined materials and equipment within eyesight of neighbors. The Trustees recognized that the shared road is dusty and county roads are outside their jurisdiction. The Trustees recalled that the business had been fined in 2017, and stressed that they need to follow the rules. Dry weather does not change the terms of the agreement and doesn’t excuse the business from not complying with them. Blair told the Trustees that he would be visiting with them, and will also be taking air quality measurements.

Mayor Paul Chavoustie reported to the Board on his recent attendance at the recent CML Conference in Vail. He told them they’d had great discussions on land use and downtown land development. At the Mayor’s summit, roughly 100 town leaders attended and they asked about affordable housing. Chavoustie was glad to share with them what Granby is doing, with several new developments on tap. He told the Board that a lot of other towns had not land-banked, so it was very interesting to hear what other towns were doing. Scott Krob told the Trustees that the annual conference is worthwhile and recommended they all make plans to attend (at least) one during their tenure.

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