At the May 20 workshop, the trustees worked through Capital Projects and Programs budget items in an effort to curb expenses and offset the potential loss in sales tax revenues. Town Manager Jeff Durbin asked for direction from the Board on the items that had been deemed non-essential.
Picnic in the Park, an event the town has hosted going on 20 years, was scheduled to begin in about six weeks away, but was currently on hold. $15K had been budgeted for the 9 weeks of summer concerts. “If we are going to go forward, we could put provisions in place,” said Durbin noting that similar events had been canceled by neighboring communities. “If this is the only one, everyone will want to come,” he said.
$20K had been allocated for the Fraser Mountain Mural Festival. “We do have the ability to spread this out, with easels spread across the business community.”
The proposed Canine Cabins event represented a $15K sponsorship commitment and would be spread out over 2 weeks in August. Trustee Miller asked whether the grant from Grand County Tourism had been approved. Durbin stated he was not optimistic about receiving a grant, since there was a 90 day hold on all grants from the tourism board.
The Town’s popular Mural Program was budgeted at $15K. There were currently 2 applicants pending. The new Ski Broker building and the building located adjacent to the Post Office, which needs major clean-up by the owner.
The Sculpture Program had $30K allocated. 2 replacements were planned so far – one at Gorenson Station and one at the Grand Park Community Rec Center, leaving $13K remaining. He told the trustees the Public Arts Committee was hoping to use the funds to acquire/purchase new sculptures.
A Level 1 EV Charging Station was budgeted at $40K, but they were awaiting final numbers from Mountain Parks Electric on 3 phase power. The proposed location is in front of the Lions Ponds parking, between the ponds. A grant had been received with a provision for completion by the end of June, but they have the ability to request an extension.
$25K had been allocated for marketing. Durbin noted that the Economic Development Advisory Committee branding program would probably need to be retooled depending on how the economy progresses.
The town’s Business Enhancement Program was budgeted at $50K. One application had been received from the Crooked Creek Saloon and Eatery for a dumpster enclosure. The estimated cost was between $5-10K. Another potential application had been discussed at the site of the former Sunshine Herb Corner location. The project would cost roughly $70K, but the business owner anticipated a request for $7,500.
A Whistleless railroad crossing study had been budgeted at $40K.
A Public Works Facility Design had been budgeted at $30K, and Durbin recommended that it could stay on the hold list.
The Town Hall Entry redesign and remodel had been budgeted at $30K, and could also stay on hold list.
The Landscape Budget was initially set at $100K, but had already been scaled $20K by reducing gardening staff and landscaping features in the new medians.
Trustee Parnell Quinn suggested combining the mural events, maybe by putting names in a hat and drawing.
“If that’s the direction the board gives we can look into that,” said Durbin.
Mayor Philip Vandernail said, “We should not just talk about the cost. We need to discuss the health and well being of the community. Psychological health is as important as financial health. I would be disappointed if we wiped the slate.”
On the subject of Picnic in the Park, Trustee Quinn suggested moving the event over to the Lions Ponds for more space. “We have plenty of room there. It’s easier for social distancing.”
Marketing and Economic Development Manager Sarah Wieck said they could also do ticketing (free) to control the number of visitors in attendance.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Durbin.
Trustee Brian Cerkvenik said, “Town morale is important. I think the Picnic in the Park should stay funded. $15K for 9 weeks of events? How is the money spent?” Durbin explained it was the cost for artists ($500-600/week), event sound and shwag.
Mayor Pro Tem Eileen Waldow said she thought that the Crooked Creek’s last Business Enhancement grant included a dumpster enclosure and could be eliminated. Durbin said he would check.
After much discussion, the trustees agreed to move forward with Picnic in the Park (location to be determined) and the Mural Festival. They would cut back on the sculpture program for uncommitted artwork. Depending upon whether the property owner north of the Post Office would be able to complete property cleanup will dictate whether a Mural be placed on the side of the building as part of the town’s Mural program. Canine Cabins is on hold, pending receipt of a grant from Grand County Tourism. A six-month extension will be requested for the Level 1 EV Charging station. The marketing, business enhancement grant program, whistleless crossing study, Public Works Design and Town Hall entry projects were all put on hold.
May 20 Regular Meeting
At their regular meeting on May 20, the Board of Trustees reviewed Resolution 2020-05-07, a resolution providing for temporary relief for businesses from certain requirements of Chapter 19 of the town code related to zoning requirements.
To assist local businesses in the recovery from challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the resolution supported local restaurants, brew pubs, distilleries and similar establishments that were authorized to reopen by encouraging them to expand their outdoor seating, temporarily suspending parking requirements. The sign code would also be suspended to allow for temporary signage, so long as it did not obstruct any public sidewalk, trail or street. Staff would also be directed to work with local businesses to assist with reopening efforts, including relaxation of liquor law requirements related to modification of premises. The improvements and modifications would be allowed until October 15, at which time they would need to revert back to town standards, or go through proper permitting channels.
“I feel like the businesses ought to have a chance to get creative,” said Town Manager Jeff Durbin, adding, “They are really important to our community.”
Resolution 2020-05-07 was approved unanimously.
Ordinance 478 amended the town’s Model Traffic Code to add weight restrictions and other traffic control measures to the code language. The ordinance was approved unanimously.
June 3 Regular Meeting
After approval of the agenda and the previous meeting’s minutes, the trustees reviewed an application for a minor subdivision final plat and conditional use permit for the Retreat at Ptarmigan, a property located at 851 Ferret Lane. The property owner is proposing to subdivide the parcel into 2 lots, building a 1,900 single family dwelling on the eastern lot and saving the western lot for future development of another single family or duplex dwelling.
During the public hearing, several neighbors expressed concern with the added density in the neighborhood, and potential use as a short-term rental. Snow storage was another concern, since the vacant parcel had been utilized for that purpose as recently as the past winter.
The property owner confirmed the home would be occupied as a year-round residence, but the plans for the second lot were still to be decided.
Trustee Andy Miller addressed the concerns for density, stating the recently amended town code had been revised to allow for smaller lot sizes intended to address the continued challenges with housing. The property owner had submitted the request based upon the changes to the code. Miller encouraged the residents to review the town’s regulations, which included snow storage and lot size. “These applicants have met our regulatory requirements. As a board member, that is what I live with,” he said.
Miller motioned to approve the minor subdivision, with the eight conditions that were included in Resolution 2020-06-01. The motion passed unanimously.
IGA for Joint Building Services
Town Manager Jeff Durbin presented the trustees with Resolution 2020-06-03, an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for Joint Building Services. “This is the moment you’ve been waiting for,” he joked. Durbin explained the document is a proposed amendment to the joint agreement with the towns of Winter Park and Granby for the shared building department. He noted there were some changes in terms of the structure of the building department and that it was in the best financial position it has ever been in.
Similar to an enterprise fund, paid entirely by building fees, the fund currently has over 2 years of reserves. “This means we can maintain the Building department without any new revenues. That’s a great thing. The IGA establishes a benchmark. If construction continues at current trends into 2021, we might be able to see some General Fund revenue that could go toward affordable housing.” He added that if the economy continues to be very slow, the revenues would go down. “This document clarifies our mutual agreement. Otherwise, it’s the way we’ve been operating for the last 13-14 years,” he said. The Resolution authorizes execution of the IGA, subject to legal review and any changes Granby or Winter Park may have.
Resolution 2020-06-03 was approved unanimously.
2020 Roadway Resurfacing Projects
Public Works Director Russell Pennington presented Resolution 2020-06-03, authorizing expenditures for asphalt projects on CR8, Eisenhower, and CR72 and authorizing the Mayor to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Grand County.
The 2020 Capital Asset Fund includes pavement and concrete maintenance. This year, it was planned to combine the Town of Fraser’s Roadway Resurfacing Projects with Grand County’s Roadway Resurfacing Projects to increase the project scope to entice more companies to submit bids in hopes to get more competitive pricing.
This year, the capital plan is to reconstruct County Road 8 (US 40 to Wapiti Drive), the intersection of Eisenhower and US 40, and County Road 72 (US 40 to Johns Drive). In these three roadway segments, the asphalt has deteriorated, and the pavement has failed. Since the pavement is at failure, the plan is to completely rebuild these sections of pavement. The Town of Fraser hired a local consulting firm to survey and design the Fraser’s portion of the asphalt projects. The project was recently put out to bid and two bids were received. A Bid Opening was held on April 27, 2020. Two bids were received (United Companies and Elam Construction). The low bidder was United Companies who also received Grand County’s 2019 Roadway Surfacing Project.
The project budget summary, with a 10% contingency, totals $776,814. Repairs to the intersection of Eisenhower and US 40 ($125,026) would be paid 100% by the Town of Fraser. County Road 8 repair costs are shared 40% Fraser/60% Grand County at a cost of $104,858 to the Town for their portion.
The costs for County Road 72 total $319,024. The county conducted a traffic study on CR 72 from May 6-18, while everything was essentially shut down, and estimated the county responsibility to be 18%, based on an Average Daily Travel (ADT) of 1994 vehicles between US 40 and the Fraser Valley Shopping Center. CR 72 after the Drop showed 128 ADT and CR 721 after the train overpass showed 301 ADT.
“I would prefer to look at travel when the county is not shut down,” said Mayor Vandernail, adding, “There is a lot of traffic that goes up there in the summer.”
Commissioner Richard Cimino was in attendance. He told the trustees he had spoken with county staff and they were willing to do another traffic count starting Thursday, June 4th. “The sooner we know, the sooner we’ll have everything done.”
Noting the obvious increase in traffic, the trustees agreed and asked that another study be done. They also agreed to abide by the results of the second study and split the costs accordingly.
Public Works will start with the contracting, work with Grand County Road & Bridge to get the projects going. Each will be completed at separate times, so as not to cause significant disruption in summer traffic flows. The only detour would be for the Eisenhower construction. Impacted businesses will be notified.
The trustees approved Resolution 2020-06-03, with a cost share for CR 72 still to be determined. An IGA with the county will be finalized once the results of the traffic study is complete.
The Fraser Board of Trustees meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7 pm. The meetings are open to the public. To learn more, visit frasercolorado.com.