At the meeting on February 6th, the trustees started off the meeting by presenting retiring judge Georgia Noriyuki with a proclamation recognizing and thanking her for her years of service to the community.

The trustees next unanimously approved the Consent Agenda, which included the January 22nd meeting minutes, Resolution 2019-02-02: The Meadows at Grand Park Final Plat and Plan; and, Resolution 2019-0203: Elk Creek Condos at Grand Park Final Plat and Plan.

Trustees approve increase in residential water rates

The trustees reviewed Resolution 2019-02-01, which had been prepared by utility administrator, Rytis Raila, with input from the town’s Water and Wastewater Committee. Town Manager, Jeff Durbin, told the trustees the committee had spent a good deal of time developing the Resolution, and the only change is to the water consumption rate. “Consumption fees are a tool to encourage conservation”, said Durbin, adding, “the committee spent a lot of time working through a number of models, evaluating different rates”. Durbin told the trustees that the models indicated revenue projections of around $15,000, but cautioned it was only a guess. Citing the increase in costs will change consumption habits, Durbin said it might be more or less than the projected $15,000. “It’s not a budget gamechanger. The goal is to encourage conservation.”

The resolution proposed a three-tiered rate structure with fees of Tier 1: $1.50 per 1,000 gallons for 0-15,000 gallons; Tier 2: $3 per 1,000 gallons from 15,001-20,000; and, Tier 3: $4.50 per 1,000 gallons for 20,001 plus gallons of usage. The rates are in addition to the quarterly water base rate of $153 per single family equivalent (SFE).

During discussion, Trustee Meyring asked, for Tier 3, “at $4.50, would the rich people even notice the change?”. Mayor Pro-tem Waldow stated, “This only affects 24% of our customers. I don’t know if the 15,000 should be lowered to 12K or 10K? If it went to $3 at 12,000 gallons, people would conserve more”. Trustee Soles said, “We can start with this and take a look at it in a year”. Durbin told them, “We can do that. Rytis is following the consumption pretty well”.

Mayor Pro-tem Waldow submitted a motion, changing Tier 1 to $1.50 per 1,000 gallons from 0 – 12,000 gallons; Tier 2 to $3 per 1,000 gallons from 12,001 – 20,000 gallons and Tier 3 to $6 per 1,000 gallons for 20,001 and over. “I get mad when I go to Denver and see people watering their sidewalks”, she said.

Resolution 2019-02-01 was approved by the trustees unanimously. The new rates will take effect on April 1, 2019.

Fraser Economic Development Policy approved for another year

The policy was presented to the trustees by the Town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee who had recommended approval of the current policy, as adopted on March 15, 2017. The policy is renewed on an annual basis, at the trustee’s discretion. Town Manager Durbin asked the trustees for their thoughts on continuing the review process of once a year.

The policy was developed by the committee and staff to send the message that Fraser is “Open for Business”. New commercial real estate and business developments are eligible to take advantage of the following offerings:

  • Rebate of the 4% municipal sales tax to the building owner.
  • 100% for five years then 50% for five years.
  • Rebate of the property tax increment for a term of five years.
  • Waiver of the applicable Use Tax.
  • Deferral of water and wastewater plant investment fees at time of building permit, payable over three years after Certificate of Occupancy.
  • Water and wastewater service fee waivers until issuance of Certificate of Occupancy, or three years whichever comes first.
  • A rebate of $1.00 per square foot payable upon issuance of Certificate of Occupancy (in lieu of waiver of permit and review fees).

The incentives would be available for new commercial and mixed use real estate and business development in Fraser that commences construction prior to January 1, 2020. The policy also notes that, on a case by case basis, the Town of Fraser will also consider other incentives such as tax increment financing, density bonuses, parking waivers, and grants.

Since its inception, the policy has helped attract two developments to town. Mayor Vandernail told the trustees that Fraser Valley Distilling was able to build a larger structure with additional storage by using the incentives. Durbin added that another project just getting underway is two new buildings on Market Street in Grand Park. Durbin confirmed they are going to start digging for utility and service lines next week. “These are 2 new buildings that would not have been built without this policy”, said Durbin.

Durbin and Town Planner, Catherine Trotter, told the trustees there were several other projects in varying degrees of planning. Nothing has been submitted yet, but are anticipated to be sometime soon.

“That’s exciting”, said Mayor Vandernail. In regard to how often the document is reviewed for renewal, “I think we should bring it back every year. At some point, we’re going to be at critical mass”.

Trustee Meyring expressed concern with the tax rebate to new businesses and the ten year length of the rebate. He felt the business could recoup their costs sooner than ten years and the amount should be reduced. Mayor Vandernail stated, “The whole idea is to give them a big enough carrot, we can’t scale back”. Trustee Meyring added, “there is a boatload of commercial going on in Winter Park. At some point in time, the community is going to be saturated with commercial business”. Mayor Vandernail pointed out that the policy would still “help bring people down valley”.

Trustee Soles moved to renew the Economic Development Policy through January 1, 2020 and all approved, with the exception of Trustee Meyring who cast a dissenting vote. Trustees Barwick and Miller were absent from the meeting.

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