Busy Berthoud board buys Newell Farm, passes ordinances and talks budget
The Board of Trustees for the Town of Berthoud met Tuesday night with a full agenda on its plate. Mayor Pro Tem Mike Grace and Trustee Jeff Butler were both absent.
The meeting opened with citizen participation where resident Linda Wilson was first up. She had questions about staffing at the forestry department and a line-item uniform cost of $1,400 at the code enforcement division in the proposed 2023 budget. Town Administrator Chris Kirk said there were no plans currently to increase staffing in the forestry department. He also confirmed the $1,400 uniform cost for the code enforcement division.
The only other person to speak during citizen participation was Ryan St. Pierre, who was appointed president of Prairie Star Metro District Two this summer. He raised two concerns to the board. First was if residents in Prairie Star could do anything to accelerate the timeline for installing sewer infrastructure. “There’s nothing that can be done to expedite that process,” said Kirk, citing state oversight.
The second issue raised by St. Pierre was the feeling that some residents in Prairie Star felt a degree of “red-headed stepchild-ness” when dealing with the Town of Berthoud. The board and Kirk both signaled a willingness to work toward more communication with Prairie Star residents. “I would love to increase the bandwidth,” said St. Pierre about increasing collaboration between Berthoud and Prairie Star. “You’re the first metro president to come [here],” said Mayor William Karspeck about St. Pierre and thanked him for reaching out and committed to working together more closely in the future.
Next was the consent agenda. Items discussed included: extending the oil and gas moratorium in Berthoud for another 180 days, renewing an agreement with the City of Fort Collins to maintain a Berthoud stop on the FLEX regional bus route to Longmont, terminating a defunct 2007 development agreement with Safeway, and two new appointments to the Berthoud Community Library Board.
Trustee Tim Hardy wished to discuss the FLEX bus agreement separately. The board then unanimously approved the remaining consent agenda items.
Hardy mentioned comments on social media expressing misunderstanding among residents about the bus and its schedule. “Some are getting the feeling that it doesn’t actually stop in Berthoud when it actually does,” he said. Hardy then explained that the FLEX bus website was confusing and did not clearly show how to find the bus schedule for Berthoud. Kirk said he would reach out to FLEX to see if they could make it easier to identify Berthoud as a stop. The board also discussed putting more information and links on the Town of Berthoud website. After that, the board unanimously approved renewing the FLEX bus agreement with the City of Fort Collins.
Next was a presentation from the Berthoud Youth Advisory Commission. This summer the commission staged the first-ever Scorch Fest in Berthoud. Berthoud High School Seniors Grazia Novak, Kenyan Clarkson and Scarlett Austin took turns speaking in front of the board.
Clarkson, the co-chair of the commission, spoke about the steps taken to make Scorch Fest a reality. After presenting the idea to the board in early 2022, the board unanimously appropriated $30,000 towards the event. Working with the Parks and Recreation department the two-day event had over 500 attendees, five rides, three food trucks and a DJ.
Last to speak was Austin, the treasurer for the commission. She told the board that the event came in under budget, with a total cost of $23,125. Part of the cost was offset by ticket revenues which brought in $1,436.
The board had one resolution, two existing ordinances and a new proposed ordinance for consideration before the budget update.
The resolution was for the Town of Berthoud to opt out of the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. This resolution was originally brought to the board on Nov. 8th by Cindy Leach, Director of Finance and Human Resources for the Town of Berthoud.
The only concern raised by the board was if current town employees would still be able to sign up for the program. Leach eased these concerns and said it would “become part of the employee handbook.” She also said two town employees had approached her directly saying they wanted the town to fully opt-out. The board then moved to unanimously approve the resolution and chose to fully opt-out of the FAMLI program.
LCSO Sgt. Jim Anderson was next in front of the board to promote an ordinance establishing hours for Berthoud’s public parks. “I just want to preface that this is important for safety,” Anderson said. He said this ordinance was about public safety and preventing vandalism. At the last board meeting, Anderson introduced the ordinance, which would close public parks between dusk and dawn. The ordinance would allow exceptions for people walking through or around the park at night.
During the public hearing portion of the meeting, Berthoud resident Lynn Larsen said that the proposed ordinance was “too vague and too restrictive.” This sentiment was shared by some members of the board, who were worried about law-abiding residents being unfairly penalized under the ordinance. “He makes a good point,” said Anderson regarding Larson’s comments. Anderson responded that being too strict with definitions would make it “harder to have flexibility.” He reiterated that this was about safety, not targeting residents and that law enforcement would use its discretion. Anderson said if kids want to play capture the flag in the park in the evening, “let ‘em have fun.”
The other ordinance considered was regarding the Town’s purchase of Newell Farm. Sarah Lincoln and Daren “Butch” Hause have been working with the town since the start of the year to sell the farm to the town with stipulations that it will eventually become a farmland park. Erin Smith, the Town Attorney, said that state statutes require that municipalities acquiring a park, pass a municipal ordinance. The purchase has been progressing throughout the year but is now “almost to the finish line,” said Smith. She recommended approving the ordinance and after no public comments, the board moved to unanimously approve the ordinance.
The new ordinance introduced was an update to the town’s existing building and energy codes. The board moved unanimously to schedule a public hearing on the ordinance.
The final agenda item was a 2023 annual budget update from Kirk. At the Nov. 8 meeting, Kirk detailed the 2023 budget for Berthoud. While the town is estimated to spend more than it will bring in next year, large expenditures on capital projects are the results of Berthoud’s strong balance sheet and commitment to meeting the needs of an expanding community.
Updates to the budget were positive. New estimates for 2022 show the town bringing in $3 million in additional revenue while reducing expenditures by $624,000. Most of the budget for the upcoming bike park on the northwest side of Berthoud was moved into next year’s budget. Kirk also highlighted that money for crosswalks was increased from $20,000 to $80,000 in 2023. He said this will hopefully translate to about eight new crosswalks.
The board meeting ended with a mention of the inaugural Berthoud Christmas light contest. Residents and businesses were encouraged to enter, with various prizes planned for mid-December. Entries must be made by Dec. 1st, at https://berthoudcolorado.com/holiday-light-competition/.
The next regular meeting of the Berthoud Board of Trustees will take place on Dec. 6th.
- January, 23 2015
By John Gardner The Surveyor The Town of Berthoud is getting creative as it moves...
- December, 14 2018
By Dana Horn Special to the Surveyor June 24, 2009, started as most any other...
- April, 28 2022
A famous Japanese proverb reads, “Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one...
- October, 08 2015
By Surveyor Staff The Town of Berthoud is pleased...
- August, 07 2015
By Surveyor staff U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, Jared...
- April, 14 2022
Much is made (and should be made) of the Christian declaration of a Savior who...
- Town Board debates metro district pol...
- Town Board finishes 2022 with a bang
- Town board talks landscaping guidelin...