BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER On November 29, Cherry Hills Village made the final payment due to South...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER When he retires as city manager of Cherry Hills Village on May 1, 2020, J...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER At its meeting on September 3, the CHV city council began a discussion ab...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Cherry Hills Village City Council Bill 4 of 2019, passed unanimously on f...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER After considering four bids received from local contractors for the proje...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER The City of Cherry Hills Village will hold an American Red Cross training...
BY FREDA MIKLIN GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER At its regular city council meeting on June 4, Mayor Russell Stewart beg...
SUBMITTED BY THE CITY OF CHV The City of Cherry Hills Village adopted the Arapahoe County Multi-Hazard Mitigat...
BY FREDA MIKLIN GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Everyone is invited to Cherry Hills Village’s grand opening celebration...
BY FREDA MIKLIN GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER At the Feb. 5 regular city council meeting, CHV staff pressed city counc...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
On November 29, Cherry Hills Village made the final payment due to South Suburban Parks and Recreation District (SSPR) from a $10 million debt it incurred 18 years ago.
In 2002 CHV residents voted to be excluded from SSPR. They also agreed to add 7.422 mills to their property tax bills to acquire the parks and open space owned by SSPR in CHV’s city boundaries, as well as to pay CHV’s share of then outstanding SSPR general obligation bond indebtedness. With that obligation fully satisfied late last year, just over $1 million in annual revenue will become available for parks, trails, open space, and recreation related projects and expenses starting in 2020.
While that is a significant amount of money, future park-related maintenance and capital costs are also significant. They include expenses related to Quincy Farm, John Meade Park, Alan Hutton Memorial Commons, High Line Canal, the Hampden Underpass, and the Belleview medians. For Quincy Farm alone, city staff estimates $2 million will be needed over the next ten years. In addition to annual maintenance and personnel costs of $262,225 associated with known projects, the total 10-year estimated capital cost associated with known projects is $3,335,000.
Presently CHV’s city mill levy is 14.722, with 7.3 mills going to the city’s general fund and 7.422 mills (the amount that was being used to pay SSPR) going to the parks and recreation fund. CHV cannot change the distribution of its 14.722 split city mill levy without a vote of its citizens. Asking voters to decrease the parks and recreation mill levy by one mill would cost the city $415,000 in annual revenue, but save the owner of a $1 million home only $75/year. It would also have a negative effect on long-range planning.
The city’s long-range forecasted fund balance projections see the general fund being depleted from $9.3 million in 2019 to $2.6 million in 2031 and the capital fund being depleted from $5.4 million in 2019 to zero in 2031 due to anticipated road maintenance expenses in the city, while the parks and recreation fund is anticipated to grow from $1.1 million in 2019 to $4 million in 2031. That means that the total of all three city funds will go from $15.8 million in 2019 to $6.6 million in 2031, with 61 percent of the city’s total fund balance in all three funds in 2031 dedicated to parks and recreation. The forecast does not take into account that in many years, CHV does not spend its entire budget, hence the general fund balance could be higher than anticipated.
In December, the city council decided to keep the current mill levy in place and review it annually.
When he retires as city manager of Cherry Hills Village on May 1, 2020, Jim Thorsen will wind up a 35-year career in municipal government very close to where he started it.
Thorsen told us, “The CHV staff is amazing. It’s been very rewarding. There were three major projects on the horizon when I got here in 2016. Today, the public works department is situated in a great space in Sheridan, the new city hall is finished and working well, and the John Meade Park and Alan Hutto Gardens are well on their way to completion.” Thorsen commended his city council for being “willing to take the leap” to get those things accomplished. It was done without raising taxes for CHV citizens.
Thorsen began his government career as an engineer in the Greenwood Village public works department in 1984. From there he moved on to Commerce City and then to California. After stints in Simi Valley and Agoura Hills, Thorsen accepted the position of city manager for Malibu, where he stayed for ten years. He returned to Colorado in 2016 to accept the position of city manager for Cherry Hills Village.
Mayor Russell Stewart said, “Jim Thorsen has served as city manager during what has been the most eventful period of construction and change in the Village’s 74-year history. Jim brought municipal experience, financial acumen, and engineering expertise to the development and construction of the new city hall, the public works facility, and John Meade park. It was a happy and fortuitous circumstance that connected Jim and his experience with the Village’s need for a strong and professional leadership. Jim made the Village a better place, and for that we offer a sincere thank you for all he has done and wish him the very best in retirement.”
CHV city council member Dan Sheldon sent Thorsen this message, which he shared with The Villager: “Your leadership and experience provided me with great comfort as Cherry Hills embarked on a number of historic capital projects within the city. You were able to implement a vision that had been more than a decade in the making. I thank you for leading us through these exciting times. You will be sorely missed, and I wish you well in all your future endeavors.”
Council member Randy Weil said of his experience with Thorsen, “It has been a pleasure working with Jim. A true professional in every sense, with a strong streak of creativity and “can do” that helps Cherry Hills Village continue to progress. His presence will be missed. I wish his the very best in his new endeavors.” From the newest member of the CHV city council, Afshin Safavi, we heard, “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Jim. I have come to know Jim as a man of high integrity. He is all about working as a team to tackle issues and making sure his staff always gets credit for a job well done before any credit goes to him. I know I will miss working with Jim and I wish him the best.”
The job of CHV city manager has been posted on the city’s website for the acceptance of applications for the position.
At its meeting on September 3, the CHV city council began a discussion about how it will gather information for its citywide master plan, last fully updated in 2008. Said Chris Cramer, director of community development, “The master plan is a vision, a roadmap of how we’re going to move forward. Sometimes that means change and sometimes that does not mean change.” Cramer explained that the master plan informs future city council decisions about budgets, ordinances, and specific development plans that require findings of master plan concurrence. He pointed out that it is important “because it really is led by public input.” Cramer said that the proposed structure he provided to city council for how the master plan will move throughout the process “really puts public input in the front seat.”
Cramer described a plan to use a consultant to manage the process of obtaining input from the overall CHV community on the topics of:
• Confirming the continued importance of the preservation of the community’s character.
• Exploring more multi-modal opportunities (vehicular, cycle, pedestrian, equestrian, etc.).
• Exploring transportation strategies that improve mobility for Cherry Hills Village residents, with minimal effect on cut-through traffic.
• Considering more energy efficient and sustainable policies and standards.
• Exploring policies related to an aging population.
One aspect of the needs of an aging population that the city council touched on very gingerly during its study session was the subject of CHV citizens who want to downsize and stay in CHV as they age. Council member Dan Sheldon said, “This might be a type of lifestyle that this city is missing.” Mayor Pro Tem Katy Brown said, “This would be a monumental shift for the people of CHV.” She proposed that the idea be explored only if it is generated by a grass roots initiative from the community, not city council. Everyone agreed, making it clear that it the city council does not want to get ahead of the residents on any significant policy change. Council members Al Blum and Mike Gallagher saw the master plan process as a way to garner public sentiment on the subject, but very definitely not taking any steps toward adopting a policy or plan that would potentially change the feel of CHV. Council member Randy Weil was even more cautious, warning fellow council members against a “solution without a well-defined problem.” In the end, the city council agreed on the importance of only going where its citizens lead, not the opposite.
Cramer expects to begin the process of seeking an outside consultant to begin shortly.
In nearby Greenwood Village, the city’s laws historically identified the residents, represented by the appointed planning and zoning commission, as the people who were charged with initiating changes to the city’s comprehensive plan, GV’s equivalent of the CHV master plan. That changed in the months following the November 2017 city council election when the newly elected GV city council revised its laws. Instead of starting the process with public input and ending it with city council approval, the council passed a new law that said that they could initiate changes themselves, then send them to the planning and zoning commission. Later that year the city council did just that, putting the planning and zoning commissioners in the awkward position of having to “recommend” the changes to the comprehensive plan that the elected officials had already written and informally approved.
Cherry Hills Village City Council Bill 4 of 2019, passed unanimously on first reading on July 16, was adopted to bring CHV into compliance with a new state law, HB 19-1148, one of 454 bills signed into law by Governor Polis during the recently completed 2019 legislative session.
The state law was enacted with little fanfare on March 28 and takes effect on August 2. The language of the bill states that it changes “the maximum jail sentence for certain crimes from one year to three hundred sixty-four days.”
According to the nonpartisan Legislative Council Staff of the Colorado legislature, “convictions of one-year trigger a federal immigration action for offenders with immigrant status and under certain circumstances, a county jail may be asked to hold an immigrant until they are transferred into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. While this bill is not anticipated to impact the number of misdemeanor cases or convictions it is assumed that the number of plea bargains will increase by an unknown amount, because under current law defendants are more likely to challenge misdemeanor charges in court to avoid a potential one-year sentence and the federal immigration action. Overall, such impacts are expected to be minimal.”
The types of crimes to which this law applies are any violations of municipal ordinances which are heard in municipal courts in Colorado and currently provide for a possible jail sentence of up to one year, along with certain drug misdemeanors and petty offenses. According to CHV City Attorney Kathie Gluckenberger, there are several sections of the city’s municipal code that permit the municipal court to impose a sentence of up to one year in jail, though Gluckenberger said that she believes no one has ever been sentenced to one year in jail in CHV, in response to a question from Mayor Stewart.
After considering four bids received from local contractors for the project, the Cherry Hills Village City Council approved a contract on July 16 with HPM Contracting, Inc. of Centennial, CO for up to $3,456,700 for the construction of the John Meade Park/Alan Hutto Memorial Commons Project located on 14 acres of donated land adjacent to city hall at 2450 E. Quincy Avenue. HPM was the low bidder for the project at $3,026,700. The additional $430,000 was added by CHV afterward for additional work and contingencies not included in the bid package.
Formal preparation for this project began in 2014 with the creation of a master plan. After extensive community input over the next two years, a final design for the project was created by Mundus Bishop of Denver, who describes themselves as “a landscape architectural firm that specializes in the design and planning of public places.”
According to the Cherry Hills Land Preserve (CHLP), “the park’s new design is based on feedback from local residents, gathered through three years of community meetings and surveys. the parks, trails, and recreation commission and city staff worked intensively with the consultant, Mundus Bishop, to ensure the new park is as enjoyable as it is functional.”
Features of the park listed in a recent CHLP newsletter are: a central picnic shelter, a playground that includes natural features like logs and boulder and large hammocks, wetlands with diverse plantings, fishing piers, and a small amphitheater in the Alan Hutto Memorial Commons.
This project was included in the certificates of participation (COP’s) issued by CHV in 2017 that paid for the new city hall building and the relocated public works department in Sheridan. There is $2,183,400 remaining from the COP’s. Additional funds for the project of $500,000 are expected from a grant from Arapahoe County Open Spaces and $200,000 from Urban Drainage Flood Control District. Due to the fact that the original amount included in the certificates of participation was an estimate and the cost of dredging the pond in the park was not included in the bid documents, there is a shortfall of $573,300, including contingencies. That amount will be allocated to the project by the CHV parks and recreation fund, to be used if necessary. Should the amount used cause the parks and recreation fund to be materially depleted, city council pledged to increase the parks and recreation fund from unallocated general fund monies.
Construction will begin in the next few weeks and is expected to be completed within one year. The project manager is Emily Black, CHV’s parks and recreation coordinator, who can be reached at 303-783-2742 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Cherry Hills Village will hold an American Red Cross training at its Civic Center at 2450 E. Quincy Avenue in CHV on Thursday, July 18. The event is free and open to the public. It will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It is recommended that participants be age 18 or over.
The Active Threat Preparedness program contains curriculum and hands on training in four key modules: active shooters, bleeding control techniques, hands only CPR, and disaster mental health. It is designed to train lay responders to provide lifesaving treatment to those who are injured prior to the arrival of trained medical personnel.
For additional information or to register, contact CHV City Clerk Laura Gillespie at email@example.com or 303-783-2732.
BY FREDA MIKLIN
At its regular city council meeting on June 4, Mayor Russell Stewart began by calling for approval of the agenda. Mayor Pro Tem Katy Brown immediately moved to amend the agenda to remove an item listed as “Community Security Shelter Code Amendment.”
CHV has specific requirements in its municipal code for guardhouses, which are commonly found in gated communities in the city. Typically, the streets within a gated community are private roads, making general maintenance and snow removal on those streets the administrative and financial responsibility of the homeowners, unlike public roads, which are maintained and plowed by the city.
Included in the information provided to city council for the meeting was a new proposed ordinance, or code amendment, permitting community security shelters. A memorandum from the city manager indicated that CHV’s current municipal code only allows guardhouses on private streets. It soon became clear that a community security shelter is similar to a guardhouse, but potentially used in neighborhoods with public streets.
Council member Al Blum seconded Brown’s motion to remove the community security shelter code amendment from the agenda. Mayor Stewart explained that the purpose of putting it on the agenda was to have a public discussion on the subject, which is permitted under CHV city council rules of procedure. That explanation did not appear to change Brown or Blum’s position on Brown’s motion.
Hoping to keep the issue of the shelters open for discussion, Mayor Stewart asked the city attorney whether it was legally required that the agenda be adopted by a vote at the start of the meeting. That led to a debate about Robert’s Rules of Order that didn’t resolve anything.
Council member Weil was asked by the mayor if he wanted to discuss community security shelters. Weil, who lives in Cherry Hills Farms, began “I think we have some appetite for this type of structure. It’s not about Cherry Hills Farms…”
Mayor Pro Tem Brown interjected, saying, “Sorry, but doesn’t discussion…have to pertain to the motion, which is the approval of the agenda…? After some back and forth, Mayor Stewart said, “The chair rules that the agenda item which covers security booths or guardhouses is part of the agenda and it’s fully within the debate.”
That led to other council members stating their positions. Council member Mike Gallagher said, “There is an appropriate way to handle this. It shouldn’t start with city council. It should start at the Planning & Zoning Commission.”
Council Member Dan Sheldon was uncomfortable with the order of events. He said, “Why are we discussing the merits of an agenda item when a council member moved and another seconded removing the item from the agenda?”
Council member Al Blum agreed with both Gallagher and Sheldon. He said, “This should start at Planning and Zoning. Also, we have a pending motion to remove it from the agenda? We should vote on that.”
Council member Afshin Safavi said, “I’ve heard people talk about this. I’m all for it. If people want to go ahead and have a security shelter, I’m all for it. I want to vote for what people want.”
Weil shared that this issue had come up four years ago and city council had rejected the idea. Brown agreed, saying, “The decision four years ago was that it was inappropriate to have guard houses on public roads. If it is going to be considered again, it should begin at Planning and Zoning.”
After a half-hour of debate that was mostly about parliamentary procedure, Mayor Stewart finally acquiesced and called for the vote on Brown’s original motion. Brown, Sheldon, Blum, and Gallagher voted to amend the meeting agenda to remove the item about community security shelters from city council’s agenda for that meeting, including the proposed new ordinance permitting them. Weil and Safavi voted to retain it. The issue was removed from the agenda.
A few minutes later, Mayor Stewart said, “I’ve talked to people who support the concept,” prompting Blum to respond, “Didn’t we just vote not to discuss this?” The mayor said yes and moved on to other business.
SUBMITTED BY THE CITY OF CHV
The City of Cherry Hills Village adopted the Arapahoe County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan via Resolution No. 43, Series 2015 in October of 2015. The Hazard Mitigation Plan is available on the City’s website at www.cherryhillsvillage.com/386/Floodplain-Development as well as in paper copy from Cherry Hills Village upon request. Since the adoption date CHV has been actively engaged in implementing the recommendations outlined in this plan.
Specifically, CHV continues to enforce and implement the following action items which are specific to the city’s hazard mitigation and more specifically floodplain regulations and enforcement:
Action Item 2015-32: Enforcement of Floodplain Regulations to limit development in floodplain areas: Cherry Hills Village; Codes already adopted, will continue to enforce.
Action Item 2015-33: Adopt and Enforce 2012 International Building Codes: Cherry Hills Village has now adopted the 2015 International Building Codes and continues to enforce these codes.
The city continues to reach all objectives and implementation as outlined in this plan. As the city participates in the update to the joint Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan effort, which will be commenced prior to the expiration of the plan in 2020, some recommendations or new projects may include the following:
For questions or comments please contact the City of Cherry Hills Village Community Development Department at 303-783-2721.
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |