Trustees Regular Meeting: December 10, 2018

by Pitkin News december 12, 2018

The December 10 regular meeting of the Town Council saw the introduction of new agenda and meeting formats that seemed to produce positive results.  The agenda has been rearranged to have public comment occur at the beginning of the meeting with agenda action items being addressed before receiving various staff and commissioner reports.  The discussion format for regular agenda items was also changed to allow public input prior to Council discussion so that relevant comments and questions from the public can be addressed as the Council works to complete action.

Trustee Brad Wick introduced two resolutions aimed at improving Town administrative procedures. The first proposal is to formalize the application process for building permits and on-site wastewater treatment system permits. There have been problems in the past with incomplete documentation or missing reference materials. The proposed resolution proposes that two complete sets of project drawings are to be submitted with permit applications. One set will be held by the Town Clerk while the second set will be used by the Building Inspector or Town Sanitarian to assist in permit issuance and to provide guidance for required inspections. Digital copies of plans will also be required to assure backup in the event paper copies are lost or damaged. Discussion among Council members and the public indicated that the proposed resolution can be enhanced by addressing guidelines for email requests for inspections, filing of paperwork at Town Hall, and using technology to maintain a good paper trail for the permit system. The Council agreed that the proposed resolution will be revised to reflect some of the suggestions discussed and it will be considered for action by the Council early next year.

The second resolution introduced by Trustee Wick proposes to establish a procedure to document payment of Town employees and contractors. Noting that better documentation of payment requests and disbursements will promote better financial accountability and help address some liability insurance concerns, it was explained that the proposal will require Town personnel to submit a record of time spent and activities completed along with payment requests. Better documentation will assist the Town Council in establishing reasonable payment levels for services provided by Town personnel. The Town Attorney suggested the guidelines should be in ordinance form rather than resolution form to comply with State law. The Council agreed to consider a proposed ordinance to establish payment procedures at their January regular meeting.

A number of budget related actions occurred during the meeting. Budget hearings were held and final action on several resolutions was approved to finalize 2018 budget appropriations and to formally adopt the 2019 budget. During discussion of the proposed 2019 budget some changes were made to provide funding support for plans to move Town meetings and activities to the recently renovated Town Hall. At a previous meeting the Council agreed that because local and grant fund investments have improved the historic structure it should once again become the center of local government activity.  A couple of public comments pointed out that while proposed expenses are similar to previous years, the Council has had to rely on fund transfers to supplement annual revenues in order to fund necessary expenses. The largest fund transfer is from the Street Fund to support increasing snow removal expenses. There is concern that Pitkin does not have a “balanced budget” as several fund transfers are necessary and this could eventually use up available reserve funds and leave the Town with a difficult budget challenge for future years. At the conclusion of discussion the Council formally approved the 2019 budget.  Copies of the budget documents can be found on the Town of Pitkin website.

The Council discussed the format and timing for a public meeting to be held early next year in the hopes of developing a compromise solution to the regulation of short term rentals. It was agreed that the Town will seek an experienced moderator to chair the meeting with public comment guidelines to include refraining from the use of names and addresses, allowing clarifying questions to those who comment, and demonstrating respect for those talking. The plans are for the meeting to be scheduled sometime between mid-January and mid-February. The date for the meeting will be set at the regular Town Council meeting in January.

In other action, the Town Council addressed the following items:

*Town Attorney Jim McDonald was given authorization to research town responsibilities pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA). Mr. McDonald requested Council guidance on those issues because of previously discussed plans to move Town meetings to Town Hall and as the result of a recent open records request that involves a significant amount of paperwork.

*Cyndi Wick was appointed as Environmental Health Agent.

*The mayor was authorized to finalize the snow removal contract with Quartz Creek Company following review for compliance with the Request for Proposals that was the basis for the bidding process.

You may listen to the audio recording of this meeting by following this Link.