City Council hears pitches for boards’ 2023 budget needs

News  /  Village

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By William J. Dagendesh

During the Nov. 8 work session, Manitou Springs City Council met with eight boards, committees and commissions to hear their budget goals for 2023.

Alison Gerbig, chair of the Housing Advisory Board, said 2022 saw staff and board changes, but that it also adopted a new housing habitability code. Also, the HAB established the energy-efficiency program and researched a potential rental licensing program.

According to Gerbig, the HAB’s goals for 2023 are to review and update the strategic plan as necessary, continue discussion of the rental licensing program and spend the remaining $10,000 for the energy-efficiency program.

“We’re happy that we hopefully can keep that $10,000 that we had originally had to do more, like housing rehab work with an agency called Brothers Redevelopment. We lost that partnership, so Alea German (vice chair), worked hard to develop the energy efficiency program,” Gerbig said.

The proposed budget is $1,100 for commissioner education/training (sourced from the General Fund) and $9,820 for the energy-efficiency program (sourced from the General Fund, a carry-over from 2022).

Doug Edmundson, chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, said HPC this year updated Title 17 of the City Code to close loopholes that allowed post-approval changes. Also, it reincorporated Hiawatha Gardens into the Historic Preservation District, completed two historic resource surveys (McLaughlin Lodge and Hiawatha Gardens) and reviewed 20 applications for new structures, remodels and additions.

HPC’s goals for 2023 are to receive a grant to complete one survey of a high priority area as identified in the Historic Resource Survey Plan adopted in 2022. Another goal is to design and install street sign toppers in at least one historic sub-district, and review and revise Title 17 of the City Code to clarify application procedures and review criteria.

“We have $1,400 for the Commissioners Education/Training programs (sourced from the General Fund), $10,000 in street sign toppers from the General Fund, $10,000 in maintenance mini grants, also from the General Fund, $5,000 in preservation grants (a pass-through from state), and $5,000 in preservation incentives from the General Fund,” Edmundson said.

Mike Casey with the City Planning Commission said highlights for 2022 include reviewing high-level concepts for the Land Use and Development Code. A hearing for the final draft and recommendation will take place later this month.

For 2023, the CPC plans to implement the new LUDC, assess if the LUDC is receiving the desired results and if adjustments are required.

“We’re looking for $1,400 for education. The hope is maybe have someone come in-house and give a class on planning commissions and what other people are doing in other cities,” Casey said.

“On a final note, you’ll be happy to learn we decided not to give ourselves a raise. We’re staying with the same wage as last year,” he joked.

Danu Fatt, chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, said this year was the first time she had a full board — an accomplishment in itself. She said that, in 2022, PARAB worked diligently on the Soda Springs Park Master Plan and organic land management practices for urban forestry.

Also, PARAB made recommendations for a new pocket park on Crystal Park Road, a tree care ordinance and special events policy.

In 2023, PARAB hopes to complete Soda Springs Park for an approximate cost of $20,000. The development of a new pocket park, for an approximate cost of $10,000, also is a goal as is a Higginbotham Flats Master Plan design for about $40,000.

PARAB also wants outdoor fitness equipment along the Creek Walk for $10,000, and to implement a tree care ordinance for $10,000.

Shannon Solomon, chair of the Open Space Advisory Committee, said OSAC’s goals for 2022 were acquisitions, trail improvements, Black Canyon cleanup and completing the Iron Mountain Purchase.

OSAC’s goals for 2023 include creating a Serpentine Trail Master Plan for an approximate cost of $50,000, a Black Canyon Master Plan for about $50,000, improving the Red Mountain Trail for $30,000 and launching two new committees: an open space sub-committee to manage spaces and a trail sub-committee to conduct maintenance and help manage new trails.

All monies come from OSAC’s general fund, Solomon said Bill Koerner, chair of Mobility and Parking, said MAP’s 2023 goals are to continue developing mobility recommendations, expand the use data sources for future decisions and establish a parking enterprise fund financial line item for MAP in future city budgets for implementing MAP goals.

“Also, we (will) continue to support the traffic calming board and are developing a plan for implementing the use of micro-mobility city-wide. This goal will probably take years to accomplish,” Koerner said.

Jim Rees, executive director of the Urban Renewal Authority, said the URA seeks to promote projects that will provide public benefit, demonstrate environmental and cultural sustainability, and improve fiscal prudence.

Goals for 2023 include demolishing the La Fun Motel and developing building plans, redeveloping grants, enhancing streetscapes, art pedestals and landscaping, and shuttle contribution to connect to downtown Manitou Springs. Total expenditures are estimated at about $1,331,550, Rees said.

Farley McDonough, president of the Chamber of Commerce board, said the chamber in 2022 worked with the city to reduce the impact of large events on area neighborhoods. Another goal was to create a five-year strategic plan.

“We were not able to accomplish that goal to due to budget restraints and lack of staff,” McDonough said.

In 2023 the chamber wants to create and begin to implement a five-year plan that would include hiring a consultant, working with partners to define the chamber’s role in the business community and create measurable goals for the next five years. Also, the chamber wants to replace the destroyed marquee sign with a dynamic digital sign.

Also, the chamber hopes to collaborate with the city, the Business Improvement District and URA boards to explore the possibility of creating a Downtown Development Authority. Additionally, the chamber wants to invest in its “shabby” building, and launch a campaign around reusable bags, McDonough said.

Council will vote on these requests along with the rest of the budget. The first reading is Tuesday, Nov. 15, and second reading is Tuesday, Dec. 6.


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