Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Building permits dip, but town revenues stay steady

February 16, 2023 | Community News

By Will Cornelius
The Surveyor

Coming up on five years as the Town Administrator for Berthoud, Chris Kirk met with the Surveyor to talk about recent updates on municipal matters.
With rising interest rates and slowing economic growth, new developments across the country have slowed and Berthoud is no exception. “It has been slower than in past years, it’s definitely tapered off,” said Kirk about the fall in building permits submitted to the town towards the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.
Fortunately, time is on Berthoud’s side as many building projects are planned for decades not years. “We’re still getting a lot of commercial interest,” Kirk said regarding the continued focus by businesses on Berthoud and the surrounding area. Unavoidable demographic trends and limited space in the Front Range Corridor have been constant drivers of growth for decades in Colorado.
“It didn’t hurt us from a revenue standpoint, because we always budget really conservatively,” Kirk said regarding the drop in building permits.    A silver lining to the current economic situation has been the rise in property valuations and the subsequent rise in property tax receipts for Berthoud. “Valuations have been up dramatically over the last year and a half beyond what we had originally estimated. So that’s kind of offset the slowdown,” Kirk said.
At the town board meeting on Jan. 24, trustees heard about the results of a transit study. Results from the study recommended that Berthoud adopt a micro-transit public transportation system. The alternative was contracting out to a traditional transportation service. “The most cost-effective way to do that — we think — is micro-transit,” said Kirk.
With the micro-transit model, the town could customize and tailor the system to work for Berthoud. Kirk said it could be like a custom Berthoud version of Uber.
One of the unique aspects of Berthoud is that traditional public transportation doesn’t fit the transit needs of the town right now. It’s more important for Berthoud to connect to existing transportation networks than create their own. “There’s just a practical limitation of what you can do in a small, more rural community,” said Kirk.
Regarding two-wheel infrastructure, Kirk said that the initial infrastructure for the bike park west of Loveland Reservoir is underway. “When the snow melts, and springtime finally hits, they’ll start doing dirt work to build the bike park,” he said.
Refilling Loveland Reservoir was another topic raised to Kirk. “Loveland Reservoir is independent from the town. We are the majority shareholder in the reservoir and ditch company. But it is a separate entity,” Kirk clarified. The reservoir is low currently so improvements can be made to the outlet structure.
The extension of Spartan Avenue to First Street is progressing according to Kirk. “We finished those construction plans last year and have submitted them to the railroad for review,” he said. Railroad tracks and companies were crucial in developing the western U.S. historically and remain dominant transportation companies to this day. Negotiations between towns and railroads are nothing new — Berthoud’s current location was dictated by where the railroad would fall.
One modern-day issue in dealing with railroad companies is where — and how many — road crossings there are. Kirk said the town was confident that a deal was in place that would allow for the extension of Spartan Avenue with minimal disruption to Berthoud. “I think we’ve struck a good balance with them. I feel pretty confident we’ll get through just fine,” he said.
Kirk also said that he was happy with how his review was progressing with the board and looked forward to staying in Berthoud.

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