Pitkin Trustee's Meeting: May 7, 2018

by Pitkin News May 9, 2018

The Town of Pitkin welcomed a new slate of elected officials as the Trustees elected in the April general election were sworn into office. The newly seated Board of Trustees includes incumbent Mayor Rachel New, incumbent Trustees Brad Wick and Cory Nasso, and recently elected Trustees John Rowan, Suzy Metzler, Angie Huckaby and Steve Pinkston. Metzler has previously served as a Trustee and Pinkston previously served as Mayor. Outgoing Trustees Eddy Balch, Debbie Henley, Ralph Bush, and Chris Nasso were presented special recognition certificates by Mayor New.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner: Sara Lamar

Streets Commissioner: Steve Pinkston

Ditch Commissioner: Cory Nasso

Town Hall Commissioner: Juliet Serrato

Environmental Health Agent: Chuck Kolinski

Zoning Board member: Ramon Reed

Mayor Pro Tem: Cory Nasso

After considerable discussion the Trustees passed a motion repealing Ordinance 2018-1 which was adopted earlier this year. Ordinance 2018-1 established regulations regarding the licensing of short term rentals operated in the Town of Pitkin. Requirements included maximum occupancy limits, certification of acceptable septic system, and several safety and neighborhood preservation requirements. Subsequent to the adoption of the ordinance a petition calling for a referendum vote was submitted. Upon receipt of the petition the Town Council had the option to repeal the ordinance or set a date for an election at which time the ordinance would be put to a vote by registered voters in Pitkin. A special election was scheduled for late June but the Trustees have been advised by Town Attorney Jim McDonald that Colorado law related to primary elections limit the town’s ability to hold the special election as scheduled. Mr. McDonald recommended that, consistent with the intent of the Town Council in place at the time the petition was submitted, the Trustees repeal Ordinance 2018-1 and schedule a special election at a future date that does not conflict with the primary election scheduled this summer. The earliest such a special election could be held is July 31. In discussing the best course of action to follow the Trustees considered the possibility of submitting two short term rental regulation options to the voters, one the original Ordinance 2018-1 and an optional ordinance that would potentially limit the location of short term rentals. Noting that one of the contentious issues in Pitkin for the past several years relates to short term rentals being located in residentially zoned areas, it was suggested that an optional ordinance resolving that issue could be presented. The Town Attorney indicated that the Trustees could submit two proposals for consideration by the voters with the understanding that the option with the most votes would prevail although it is possible that both options could be voted down. Following further discussion it was agreed the idea of submitting options to the voters will be discussed further at a late May workshop session. In the meantime, the Trustees voted to repeal Ordinance 2018-1 with the understanding that a public vote on short term rental regulations will be held no later than December 2018. Discussion indicated that an earlier election is desired and the Trustees will decide if one or two options will be presented for voter consideration.

At the April meeting the sitting Board of Trustees identified a possible sales tax increase as an option to improve the Town’s budget capabilities by increasing tax revenues. The Trustees then deferred the final decision on a sales tax increase to the newly elected Town Council. The possibility of including the sales tax issue on the general election ballot in November was discussed and to do so will require coordination with Gunnison County. The Town Clerk was asked to provide more details related to the timeline for placing the issue on the ballot. When timing requirements are known the Trustees will discuss the matter in more detail in order to determine what type of sales tax increase to propose. The current sales tax rate for Pitkin is 3%, raising approximately $30,000. The Trustees will need to decide what level of increase to propose, understanding that each 1% in sales tax rate generate approximately $10,000 per year.

The time and place of a May workshop meeting will be announced in the near future. The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held June 11.

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