Town board holds virtual meeting
By Rudy Hemmann
The Berthoud Board of Trustees convened their very first “virtual” meeting and will continue holding future meetings this way as long as the COVID-19 virus remains a risk to the members of the board as well as the general public.
During Citizen Participation Trustee-elect May Soricelli spoke to the board about her concern for Berthoud businesses. (Her comments to the board are in the letter to the editor on Page 2 in Our Voice). A discussion ensued about the ways the town could help the business community. Town Administrator Chris Kirk and Business Development Manager Walt Elish will explore options for the board to consider.
Larimer County Health representative Tom Gonzales spoke concerning Coronavirus conditions in the county.
Kirk spoke regarding a utility assistance policy. Discussion on the item centered around town residents and local businesses who may be struggling to pay bills due to the shutdown.
Specifically, this policy would:
-Waive late fees for overdue utility accounts for usage in March and April 2020.
-Suspend water shut-offs for nonpayment until May 26, 2020.
This policy would not:
-Waive any incurred charges for utility usage
-Defer obligations for payment
-Waive any late fees already accrued to accounts prior to March 24, 2020
Following brief discussion by the trustees a motion authorizing the town administrator to wave late charges for fees incurred during March and April (2020), to suspend water shut-off for nonpayment until May 26, 2020, and to create an opt-in program for utility payment deferrals for local businesses through June or July (2020) was made, seconded and passed unanimously.
According to an information sheet on the next item, at the March 10, 2020, meeting of the town board, staff presented the final revised non-utility impact fees to the board for review and comment.
As discussed at that meeting, revisions to the study were made in order to include trail improvements, as well as an update to the model to reflect fund balance totals from November 2019. The trustees unanimously approved the ordinance amending sections 101 and Chapter 10, article 30 of the Berthoud Municipal Code, adopting initial development impact fees to defray capital costs for public facilities, transportation and parks and recreation.
The I-25 sub-area was singled out for a good deal of the discussion regarding trails to I-25 along the Little Thompson River which is indicated on the town’s trail maps. Parks in the I-25 sub-area were also mentioned in discussion.
The trustees discussed issues regarding capped, abandoned oil wells within the town limits. Kirk stated that there were three abandoned wells within town limits that town staff is aware of. This item will come before the board again at a later date.
A new contract for Town Administrator Kirk was approved by the trustees. The one major change was that the compensation for Kirk was below other town managers in the area, and for that reason he gained a significant raise which the board made retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020.
The town and Kirk entered into the original employment contract Dec. 15, 2018. An addendum to Kirk’s contract was made Feb. 12,2019 which gave him a 5% increase and a one-time 5% bonus. His contract has been extended to June 1, 2023. His annual salary has been raised to $170,000 per year.
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