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Town of Wellington: Board of Trustees - 10/10/23

See the full notes document here.*

From the Town of Wellington website: The purpose of this board is to provide outstanding municipal services for the community of Wellington both today and tomorrow.


Summary

This meeting had a packed agenda and lasted 3 ½ hours. The board recently decided to end all meetings by 10 p.m. unless agreed by vote to continue.

  • October was proclaimed Community Planning Appreciation Month by Mayor Chaussee

  • 2 liquor licenses were unanimously approved (Kum & Go #934 and Cantina Liquors Liquor Store)

  • 2 presentations are detailed below.

  • a correction was made to a name on the September 26 meeting minutes.

  • 4 Resolutions were unanimously approved.

  • Another 3 Resolutions were debated and eventually unanimously approved.


Larimer County Humane Society Presents Joint Contract Proposal

Guests were Rigo Neira, Director of Animal Protections & Control, Larimer County, and Judy Calhoun, CEO, Larimer Humane Society (renamed NOCO Humane).


Wellington currently has a limited ala carte contract with the Larimer County Humane Society. Services and charges are based on a per- animal, per- call basis. The call must come from a city employee or Sheriff. Residents cannot call directly for assistance. The Joint Contract Proposal would be with NOCO Humane and shared with Timnath and Berthoud. The cost and usage are a flat fee per year for 5 days per week of dispatch, emergency calls and animal shelter services. The cost is calculated as total admin, dispatch and shelter use, divided by the 3 cities based on each city’s amount of use. According to Calhoun with NOCO Humane, dispatch oftentimes can resolve situations over the phone, which provides quicker service for residents and lower cost of usage. Planning Director Bird also added that under this contract residents would call the dispatch service, sparing first intervention by city employees and/or a Sheriff. This frees up time for the Larimer County Sheriff's Department, who currently must respond to these calls.


2024 Budget Forecast

Don Rhoads, Interim Finance Director, and Town Treasurer reviewed an Overview Part III budget for 2024. The budget is still a work in progress and the Trustees were shown projected budget numbers for the following main items:

  1. General Fund

  2. Capital Improvement Project Funds

    1. Water

    2. Sewer/Wastewater

    3. Drainage Fund

  3. Park Fund

Interim Finance Director Rhoads reminded everyone that potential revenue from grants was not added to the budget yet, and the possible election of State Proposition HH could reduce Wellington’s property tax revenue by $137,000. Several funds will be in deficit for the year, such as the Water, Sewer, and Park Fund. This year’s wetter- than- usual season reduced revenue from water purchases. Even with a planned water rate increase of 5 percent in 2024, the water fund will have a potential $3-million deficit in 2024. Sewer/wastewater risks a potential deficit of $5-million. Much of the deficit is due to the new water treatment plant.


Interim Finance Director Rhoads and all Wellington trustees agreed they need to come up with a better plan to address the 2024 budget deficits for Wellington. They will continue to work on the budget and on Tuesday, Oct. 17, there will be a Budget Boo-Nanza 3 – 6 p.m. at the Leeper Center. The public is invited to stop in and give their thoughts and ideas on what they want for the town. This will be combined with a pumpkin giveaway.


Action Items

Resolution No. 39-2023: A Resolution of the Town of Wellington regarding the Conduct of a Regular Election presented by Ethan Muhs, Town Clerk. This is a follow-up discussion from the meeting of Sept. 12, 2023, regarding whether to use only polling places, or mail-in ballots for the April 2024 town election. Trustee Gaiter proposed mailing a guide with bios included on all (candidates?) up for election. If a resident wanted to vote by mail, they would have to request an absentee ballot. Muhs said that way not all residents are sent a mail-in ballot who either don’t plan to vote or prefer voting in person. He said this would save the town an estimated $1,500-$2,000. Two other Trustees agreed with Gaiter. The others continue to support mail-in ballots no matter the cost. All board members agreed that voting participation increased substantially in the 2020 and 2022 elections with the use of mail in ballots. The trustees also agreed there are still many residents who prefer to vote in person.


Trustee Mason suggested the date of Wellington’s elector votes be moved to November of each election year to consolidate with the Larimer County general elections. He said this would decrease costs significantly for Wellington.


During public comment, one resident expressed how “livid” she was that the board was setting a cost on her vote. She said, “Voting should not be about money” and she offered to fundraise if needed so the town could have both mail-in and polling place voting.


The board voted 4 – 3 in favor of mail-in ballots for the April 2024 town election. The Trustees also want to add 2 questions on the ballot for voters:

  • Do they want to continue with mail-in ballots or go back to polling places only? And

  • Should the Town of Wellington move its electors voting to November consolidating with Larimer County’s elections?

Town Administrator Garcia will investigate the second question to see if it’s even possible to move Wellington’s electors vote to November to consolidate with Larimer County’s general election.


Resolution No. 41-2023 and 42-2023: A Resolution of the Town of Wellington, Colorado Amending the 2022 Budget and making payment to the North Poudre Irrigation Company (NPIC) presented by Meagan Smith, Deputy Director of Public Works. This resolution is a continuance from the meeting of July 11, 2023, on whether to amend the budget to pay an outstanding invoice to NPIC. When this issue was presented In July, several trustees were against moving funds from a reserve account to accommodate the increased water cost. They asked the members of the finance committee to justify and reassure the board that the reserve account would still be in good standing. Deputy Director of Public Works Smith did this. The board voted unanimous approval to pay an additional $640,250.18 water cost to NPIC.


At approximately 10:07 p.m. the regular meeting adjourned and the board went into 2 Executive Sessions. All public attendees were dismissed.


From the Board of Trustees Agenda:

Executive Session 1: For the purpose of determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategy for negotiations, and/or instructing negotiators pursuant to Section 24-6-402(4)(e), C.R.S. – regarding negotiations related matters included in the proposed Sage Farms annexation agreement. As required by C.R.S. §24-6-402(2)(d.5)(II)(A) and (II) (E) the executive session proceedings will be electronically recorded and the record will be preserved for 90 days through January 8, 2024.

Executive Session 2: Conferences with an attorney for the Town pursuant to § 24-6-402(4) (b), for the purpose of receiving legal advice relative to pending litigation related to the appeal of a site plan approval. The executive session will not be recorded and an attorney certification will be provided as required by C.R.S. §24-6-402(2)(d.5)(II)(B) that discussions in the executive session constitute privileged attorney-client communications.


Next Meeting: Oct. 24, 2023 @ 6:30 p.m. The Leeper Center, 3800 Wilson Ave, Wellington, CO


*Citizen Observers further the commitment of the League of Women Voters to its principle of Citizens Right to Know, however, we are not acting as journalists. Omissions and errors are possible. It is assumed that users of this information are responsible for their own fact-checking. This could include contacting a government clerk, conversing with an elected official or staff, and/or asking us to speak to the Observer who attended.


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