Town board approves out of state attorney to advise on agreement with Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
At the regular meeting, once again held virtually, of the Berthoud Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening, the group, at the urging of Mayor Will Karspeck, ignored the elephant in the room – the recall measure of two town trustees initiated by a group of Berthoud citizens– and focused on other issues of town business.
That did not mean public comment on the matter would not be permitted and Berthoud resident Ryan Berry, who is one of the leaders of the recall movement, called in during public comment and shared his thoughts on the subject.
Berry stated that he was able to meet in person with both Mayor Pro Tem Maureen Dower and Trustee Jeff Hindman, who are the focus of the recall efforts, and said that while his discussion with Dower was productive the same could not be said regarding his meeting with Hindman.
Berry stated it is his, and his supporters’ view, that Hindman has abused his power as trustee, pursues a personal agenda, has worked to subvert the will of voters regarding the financing for the Waggener Farm Park project, has attempted to discredit and intimidate those with whom he disagrees and is not working in the best interests of Berthoud.
Said Berry, “Townhall meetings are not about individual egos, it is about helping Berthoud progress. Considering these and many other actions, it is with great displeasure that I will continue to support pursuing the removal of Trustee Hindman from his position on the Town Board as soon as he is eligible for recall.”
Following the public comments portion of the meeting, to which Hindman offered a reply, which lasted 85 seconds. Trustee May Soricelli stated that she believes it is “very unprofessional and very unwelcoming,” for trustees to respond to public comment, arguing that it could cause some citizens to shy away from voicing their opinions to the board.
During the procedural motions to approve the minutes of previous board meetings, Hindman requested that a letter he submitted to this publication be included in the consent agenda; the letter was written in response to a guest column by Soricelli that was published in the Sept. 10 issue. While Soricelli’s column did not mention any trustee or town official by name, Hindman’s letter mentioned Soricelli’s name on four occasions and was, in Hindman’s words written “to correct several inaccurate statements and false accusations in last week’s editorial by Trustee
Soricelli.” The board agreed to include Hindman’s letter in the consent agenda along with the copy of the column written by Soricelli.
Moving on to official business, the board got a brief rundown of town financials in a presentation by Town Administrator Chris Kirk, who will present the next budget to the board on Nov. 10. Kirk reported the town is in good financial health, even in light of the economic downturn and stated that tax revenue is in line with estimations.
The board voted unanimously, 7-0, to approve an intergovernmental agreement between the towns of Berthoud, Mead and Johnstown and Larimer and Weld Counties regarding an access control plan for High Plains Blvd. As a result of the I-25 expansion project, frontage roads alongside the interstate are being removed and north-south arterials are needed; High Plains Blvd will be used for this purpose and under the agreement, “(the) IGA obligates the Town to regulate access to High Plains Blvd in compliance with the Access Control Plan and provides a method for resolving disputes among agencies on the interpretation of the Access Control Plan.”
The board also voted 6-1, with Soricelli casting the lone vote against, to authorize Town Attorney Erin Smith to seek and receive advice from the Arizona-based law firm Edwards & Amato, P.C. regarding the Municipal Services Agreement with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO). In the meeting on Sept. 29, the board voted against using Edwards & Amato to conduct an investigation of the LCSO and instead instructed the LCSO to conduct an internal review of the procedures used at political rallies in town over the summer.
Trustee Soricelli also cast the lone vote against the town issuing an official statement in support of Amendment B, which seeks to repeal the Gallagher Amendment. While Soricelli stated her support for Amendment B, she did not feel it was the place of the board to take an official position on the measure.
Town of Berthoud rejects recall efforts, group plans to amend and resubmit motions
The initial filing of the recall petitions for Dower and Hindman were rejected by the town of Berthoud on Tuesday afternoon. The reasons given for the rejections are that, under statute, Hindman is not eligible for recall until Oct. 21 and that there was a “minor technicality” on the documentation submitted in relation to Dower. The group behind the recall efforts told the Surveyor on Tuesday night they will correct the issue on the petition pertaining to Dower, resubmit it to the Town Clerk’s office and will wait until the Oct. 21 to resubmit the recall petition related to Hindman.
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