At the meeting on October 15, East Grand Fire Chief Todd Holzwarth stopped in again to reiterate the importance of voting in the 2019 election. The East Grand Fire Protection District No. 4 submitted Ballot Measure 6B as an effort to stabilize their revenue funding, which continues to decrease as the state maintains the 45% residential/55% non-residential property tax split mandated by the Gallagher Amendment. Since non-residential properties are assessed at 29%, the residential rates continue to drop to maintain the 45/55 split. Currently, the residential assessment rate is 7.2% and is anticipated to drop again in 2020.

The ballot measure aims to set the mill levy rate at an amount sufficient to generate tax revenues levied for collection in 2021, and adjusted annually thereafter for inflation and local growth, to be used for operating and other expenses.

“What we are asking for is support in maintaining the level of funding we get with adjustment for inflation and new construction. We want to at least maintain our current level,” said Holzwarth. “We saw a 23-24% reduction in our revenues the last 8 yrs or so.” He told council that they had used reserves to fund some of their expenses. “We are cheap, we don’t buy everything,” he said, adding, “we would appreciate your individual support.” He encouraged the council to start at the bottom of the ballot, since that’s where the measure is located, and then work up to the more difficult decisions. 

“We are north of 300 calls this year, not a lot ahead of last year, but I am thinking we’ll be better than a call a day by the end of the year.”

Council ponders Electric Scooters

Police Chief Glen Trainor submitted Ordinance 524 to council for consideration. The ordinance had been written in response to the recently passed HB 1221, which reclassified electric scooters as “motor vehicles”. The ordinance defines electric scooters, prohibits any person from operating an electric scooter on any sidewalk within the town, and subjects the operation of electric scooters to the same rules as persons operating bicycles and other human-powered vehicles.

Councilman Art Ferrari said, “I’ve got a couple of concerns. I wasn’t expecting an ordinance related to scooters only. There are e-bikes and bicycles on sidewalks in heavily congested areas. My biggest concern is the area predominantly not on a sidewalk is US 40. There are no bike lanes and the speed limit is 35 mph. It should be 30 mph or less. If the speed limit is above that, only if there’s a bike lane.”

Ferrari continued, saying, “Without a bike lane, we are putting them in a dangerous position. They have lower stability and visibility than bicycles. If we are talking about motorized vehicles, I’d like to see something that addresses all motorized vehicles. We  need more consideration of this – I don’t like the impact of isolating scooters.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Nick Kutrumbos stated, “It’s important to be consistent with the House bill. It is important to identify areas where it is posing a risk. Congested areas and heavily traveled roads, perhaps a dismount area. In terms of our growth, it should be consistent.”  

Ferrari noted, “In Denver, if it is more than 30 mph, they don’t force scooters on the road.” 

“It doesn’t address paved trails either,” added Mayor Jimmy Lahrman.

“And it doesn’t address e-bikes either,” said Ferrari.

Town Manager Keith Riesberg clarified, “The impetus for the bill centered on liabilities arising in the Denver metro area. This does not regulate ebikes. It is better for the town to have guidance in the books on where to ride. At that point, the town has taken measures to protect from incidents and accidents.” He added that, since there wouldn’t be many scooters riding in the coming months, council could take some time to review the ordinance before considering it for approval. Since 3 members of council were absent, Riesberg suggested they table the discussion until full council is in attendance.

Councilman Chris Seeman said, “I don’t support anything that puts these vehicles in the roadway. I don’t want to overregulate.”  He made a motion to deny the ordinance.

With no second to Seeman’s motion, Councilman Ferrari moved to postpone the discussion. The motion passed 3 – 1, with Councilman Seeman dissenting.

Maximum sentence revised for consistency

The first reading of Ordinance 525, amending Section 1-4-1(c) of the Town Code regarding maximum sentence for imprisonment for violations of Municipal Code was also submitted by Chief Trainor.  Currently, the “General Penalty” Section of the Winter Park Town Code (Section 1-4-1(C)) specifies that the maximum sentence a defendant may receive upon conviction is up to a $2,650 fine and imprisonment for a term “not to exceed one year”. In 2019, the Colorado General Assembly passed HB 1148, which reduces the maximum criminal penalty that a county or municipal court may impose for certain misdemeanors from one year of imprisonment to 364 days.

While this is seemingly only a minor change, the one-day difference carries great importance under United States immigration law. Under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), noncitizens become deportable if convicted of one crime involving moral turpitude (“CIMT”) committed within five years of admission if the crime has a potential sentence of one year or more {8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(i)}. It should be noted that while we do not collect or track statistics regarding residency status, it is not common for us to charge noncitizens with municipal violations that would bring this requirement into play.

Chief Trainor stated, “Because Winter Park is Home Rule Community, our Town Attorney believes that both statutory and non-statutory language supports the position that the Town may continue using its current 365-day maximum penalty. However, because the Town operates a combined municipal court with the Town of Fraser, it is our request that we change our ordinance to provide for consistency in both Towns. This change will lessen the possibility of confusion for both our municipal judge and court staff.”

Council approved the first reading unanimously. The second reading will be held at the next meeting, on November 5th.

Lavender Elephant receives grant extension

Community Development Director James Shockey submitted a request for extension of a Commercial Enhancement grant from Lavender Elephant owner, Abbey Samuelson. Samuelson had been awarded the $14,607.50 grant in September 2018, but delays in general construction of the interior had prevented her from completing the proposed porch project for which the funds had been approved. She requested an extension through summer 2020 construction season.

Council unanimously approved the extension to be completed no later than December 2020.

Roam connection to town roads approved

Shockey presented Resolution 1725 to council explaining, when the final plat for the Roam development’s first filing was approved, it included two proposed connections from the property to the Town’s road system. The connections were at the intersection of Ski Idlewild Road and Rendezvous Way and the other at Vasquez Road.

On July 27, 2019, the Town received a formal request for approval to connect to the Town’s system. Per Section 5-2-6 of the Winter Park Town Code, “No new connection or modification of an existing connection shall be made to any street, right-of-way or trail owned or under the jurisdiction of the Town without the prior approval of the Town Council”. 

Staff reviewed the request for connection and found the connections would not put undue burden on the existing town street system or negatively impact or change the character of parks, open space or existing residential neighborhoods and recommended approval.

The resolution passed unanimously.

LED Street Light conversion

Shockey next presented council with a proposal to replace existing high-pressure sodium lights with LED lights. He explained that the Town currently has 46 street lights owned and maintained by Mountain Parks Electric (MPE). The Town pays the electric cost for the lights and Mountain Park maintains the poles and light fixtures. The street lights are mostly located at intersections west of Main Street. These lights do not include the pedestrian lighting along the Main Street sidewalk or the tall highway lights in the downtown along Main Street.

Of the 46 street lights, only two of them are LED, and the remaining lights are high-pressure sodium lights that are not as efficient and cost the Town more in electric charges. A

standard 100 watt high-pressure sodium street light currently cost $12.32 a month. A 40 Watt LED light, which has output comparable to the 100 watt high-pressure sodium light, only costs the Town $6.94 a month. The Town currently pays $611 a month for all 46 street lights. If all of the lights were changed to LED, the cost would be around $320, a savings of $292 a month.

Mountain Parks Electric has offered the Town a program to change all of the street lights to LED, with no cost to the Town for the fixtures or the installation. MPE proposed to ‘front’ the cost for the fixtures and the installation if the Town would agree to pay the same rate as they are currently paying for the next six years. After six years, the rate will be reduced to the actual charges for LED lights. 

“Mountain Parks has implemented this same program in Fraser and Grand Lake with success,” said Shockey. “Having LED efficient lighting that is dark sky compliant will further the Town’s strategies outlined in Imagine Winter Park. Under “Our Healthy and Thriving Environment” section, strategy EN 3.3 states that the Town should become a Dark Sky Community. Having the latest and most efficient lighting in the Town will further that strategy.”

Council approved initiating the switch unanimously.

Winter Park Town Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm and the meetings are open to the public. To learn more, visit