The Greenwood Village City Council passed its 2020 budget on October 7. Total revenue for 2020 is expected to...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER At a public study session last April 15, Jeremy Hanak, GV’s public works...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER On August 19 in their regular public study session, the GV city council h...
CONTRIBUTED BY RALI CARES A unique educational experience designed to educate parents and adults about possibl...
CONTRIBUTED BY THE CITY OF GREENWOOD VILLAGE The City of Greenwood Village seeks to purchase an existing piece...
Greenwood Village was visited by six Legendary Ladies as part of the city’s Village Read Program. The Legendar...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Thirty-one years ago, the Greenwood Village City Council began a program...
Lori Goeglein makes her way up the incline mountain at Greenwood Village DaysMany booths and rides were enjoye...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER More than 100 Sundance Hills (SH) residents came to a Greenwood Village C...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER On July 15, Greenwood Village City Council held an executive session to “...
The Greenwood Village City Council passed its 2020 budget on October 7. Total revenue for 2020 is expected to be $54.8 million. Expenditures for the year are projected at $50.2 million, resulting in an increase in the city’s fund balance of $4.6 million. The city’s mill levy for residential property taxes will remain at 2.932 mills, one of the lowest in the state.
The executive summary included with the budget says, about the total revenue, “The amount represents an increase of $600,379 or 1.1% when compared to the prior year’s amended budget. The rather modest increase is primarily the result of lower than anticipated growth in sales tax during the current fiscal year, as well as, a significant reduction in intergovernmental and grant-related revenue.” It goes on, “An ongoing exposure facing the city is its dependency on sales and use tax revenues. More than 60% of the city’s total revenue is attributable to sales and use tax collections, making the organization especially reliant upon, and vulnerable to patterns in consumer and commercial spending.”
One capital expenditure for 2020 that was changed from the proposed amount after the city council budget workshop on September 23, was the budget for a city hall interior remodel. Initially proposed to be $1,500,000, it was reduced 90 percent to $150,000 by the city council “for additional vetting, as well as the refinement of anticipated costs.”
At the end of 2020, GV’s cumulative fund balance is projected to be $46.7 million, of which $21.3 million is considered unassigned, meaning it is “available to meet the needs of the community without regard to spending limitations otherwise imposed by the city or external agencies.”
Included in the restricted amounts in the remaining $25.4 million in GV’s fund balance is a $10.2 million operating reserve, much like a “rainy day fund.” There is also $9.9 million for capital projects to which the city has committed but not yet completed.
A set-aside fund for the acquisition of open space, created by city council policy, will have $1.2 million by the end of next year, including $500,000 added to it in 2020. In recent years, city council only added $100,000 to it annually, but at the September 23 budget workshop, it was decided to quintuple the amount added in 2020. That may be related to the fact that GV is exploring the acquisition of several acres of open space in the general vicinity of East Belleview Avenue and South Colorado Boulevard.
A new addition to the list of restricted and committed amounts of the citywide fund balance is $1,664,236, added after the September 23 budget workshop, for traffic safety projects, “based on collections/expenditures associated with the photo red light program.”
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
At a public study session last April 15, Jeremy Hanak, GV’s public works director, presented the city council with a list that he and his staff had prepared of 25 rank-ordered proposed roadway project recommendations from all areas of the city. He also gave them a list of recommendations for eight transportation demand management projects, ten first-mile/last-mile projects, and three technology projects. Costs of the 25 roadway projects ranged from unknown to up to $2 million, but more than half were listed as $100,000 to $500,000.
The report was the culmination of a 2-year effort that cost $286,000 in fees to consultants (who were ultimately fired in January), along with countless hours of staff time and contributions by volunteers who comprised an 18-person community working group (CWG), which held at least eight meetings. The CWG was formed by the city council, who appointed its members, to give a voice to city residents and local businesses. It also included one city council member, Dave Kerber.
The goal of the entire effort, dating back to August 22, 2017 when the consultants, Fehr & Peers, were officially hired, was to produce an Updated Transportation Plan for GV. It was scheduled to be adopted in August 2018, one year ago. As of today, no Updated Transportation Plan has been adopted by the GV City Council, nor has one even been proposed. We asked Melissa Gallegos, GV public information officer, when a plan is expected to be adopted. She said, “Staff’s goal is to develop a proposed plan by the end of the year for city council review.”
When the April 15 meeting ended, the city council had not formally adopted the recommendations or committed to doing any of the 46 projects on Hanak’s list.
On August 19, the Greenwood Village City Council gave tentative approval to the 2020 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) which shows planned transportation projects for the year and the funding amounts allocated to them. There are eight new streets and transportation projects listed for 2020 with a combined cost of $1.2 million.
The number one project on the rank-ordered list Hanak gave city council on April 15 was for lane balancing options on westbound Orchard Road at Quebec Street, where consistently surprised drivers find they are forced to turn left and go south from both the left and middle lanes, and only one lane continues west. It is not on the list.
Four of the eight CIP roadway projects for 2020, with a combined cost of $800,000 of the $1.2 million total, are within or at the boundary of the Greenwood Hills neighborhood where Kerber and the other district 2 representative, Anne Ingebretsen, live. None of the four projects appear on any of the three lists of 46 priority recommendations.
Three of the eight CIP roadway projects for 2020, with a combined cost of $360,000, appear in some form as numbers eight, 19 and 22 on the list of 25 rank-ordered recommendations. The other 22 roadway projects and the 21 first-mile/last-mile, transportation demand management, and technology projects are not part of the 2020 CIP.
On February 4, consultants Corona Insights of Denver gave city council the results of the 2018 citizens survey that they were retained to compile and analyze. Their 27-page report, available on the GV website, said, on page one, “Increasing road capacity was the top transportation priority.” None of the eight new streets and transportation projects on the 2020 CIP increase road capacity.
Although six of the ten first mile/last mile projects recommended to city council are for improved pedestrian connections to and from the Arapahoe and Orchard Light Rail stations, sidewalks,\ and bicycle lanes, the only project planned for 2020 is a concept design to improve the bike lane on Dayton Street at the intersections of Belleview Avenue and Orchard Road. The number one item on that rank-ordered list of first mile/last mile projects is “study potential circulator bus to provide connections within the Village,” which could make light rail an option for commuters into GV. That subject has not been raised for discussion in any public meeting of the city council.
The permanent population of GV has remained at 16,000 for the past five years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Traffic around the city is significantly impacted by the 45,000 people who come to work every morning in GV and go home every weekday afternoon. Though the city has two light rail stops at Orchard Road and Arapahoe Road, there are limited sidewalk connections from the stations to where people work. Bike lanes are sparse and also not well connected, according to employees who work in GV that spoke to The Villager on Bike-to-Work Day June 26 and pointed out again by Kurt Hotto, a resident of the Beacon Hill neighborhood, on August 5 during the open forum portion of the regular city council meeting.
According to a 2016 South I-25 urban corridor study prepared for the Denver South Transportation Management Association, there were 243,000 cars per day travelling on Interstate 25 between Belleview and Orchard in 2016. That number is projected to swell to 299,000 in 2040 if there are no positive changes to commuting habits. The study says that on I-25 between Orchard and Arapahoe, there were 230,000 cars daily in 2016, expected to grow to 282,000 by 2040.
The only “Yelp” review of the Orchard Light Rail station was posted in 2016. It says, “Probably the quietest station on the whole RTD Light Rail System.”
The Villager asked Kerber about how roadway projects were chosen for funding in 2020. He said that the four projects in his Greenwood Hills neighborhood “were already being developed for the CIP outside of the CWG process,” and “the city council was never going to delay needed projects while we waited for the recommendations of the Transportation Plan.”
Although the city council did not formally adopt the list they were given on April 15, the projects on it are described in detail and rank-ordered, based on the recommendations of the public works department and the two years of public input the consultants got from the GV community in its well-attended citywide input meetings held in 2018. The city council did not discuss the list in any public meeting after April 15.
In response to our question about why no action was taken to deal with the highest ranked roadway project on the list, westbound Orchard from I-25 to Quebec Street, Kerber said, “We did discuss that in the CWG meetings but concluded that this was perhaps the most studied road in Greenwood Village with studies done in 2009, 2011 and for the Orchard Station proposal. To spend any more money or to allocate time to study it yet again appeared to some of us to be not worthwhile. There are a few things that can be done in that area, striping, signs etc, but they did not fall within the CIP structure.”
The city has not acted to address the ongoing and persistent problem facing motorists in GV daily at that location and there is no indication that it has a plan to do so.
In the Greenwood Hills neighborhood, the city spent $50,000 in 2019 for a design to fix the broken cement on the traffic circles on South Monaco Street “to improve the appearance to match the traffic circles on Cherryville Road in District 1,” according to the proposed CIP, and $225,000 is planned to be spent to make those repairs in 2020.
On August 19 in their regular public study session, the GV city council heard from Administrative Services Director Cami Chapman, who presented a proposed employee compensation and benefits program for 2020 for all city employees, including police officers. She told the city council that GV has had an 11 percent increase in employee turnover this year and shared numbers that showed that 18 percent more employees had left their city jobs this year already than had quit during all of 2018. She said they learned from exit interviews that a significant number left to accept similar positions with other cities. Higher salaries were a factor. She also noted that GV has received 2,400 fewer applications for open positions this year so far than in 2018.
After an hour of detailed questions and answers about how the administrative services department compiles its data and formulates its recommendations, city council approved Chapman’s request for an increase of $521,123 for salaries and benefits in 2020, above the 2019 amended personnel budget. They also made suggestions for changing some of the methodology for calculating their numbers, beginning next year.
Next, the city council reviewed the proposed building projects in its planned Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The discussion focused on GV’s own facilities, because all the building projects in the CIP undertaken and/or completed in 2019, and all the building projects budgeted for 2020 and 2021 are at city hall or the GV maintenance facility at 10001 E. Costilla Avenue.
The list was last reviewed on July 1. After the city council raised strong questions on that date about a plan to spend $4.15 million to renovate the police department, staff removed that project from the 2020 budget. Remaining on the CIP was a line item for $1.5 million in 2020 labeled “city hall interior remodel.” That is in addition to $600,000 for work done at city hall and its grounds in this year’s budget. Newly added on August 19 was a $200,000 line-item for “city hall front entry plaza.” Staff explained that the additional $200,000 would enhance security and accessibility for the building and be more durable.
Before the evening ended, council member Dave Kerber raised the same issue he had brought up on July 1. Said Kerber, “I haven’t got my mind around $1.5 million for city hall interior remodel. I just don’t know…” He indicated he was still uncomfortable with the idea, saying, again, “I’m (just not) sure that I’ve got my mind around spending $1.5 million on ourselves after we spent $8 million (the actual total of all phases of that project was $13 million) on our maintenance (building)….”
Council member Dave Bullock said, “I’m sure we can get a breakdown (on the costs).” City Manager John Jackson talked generally about making changes to the building so that visitors have less freedom to walk freely into city department offices, enhancing employee security. Mayor Pro Tem George Lantz said, “I agree with Dave (Kerber) and Dave (Bullock). A million and a half seems like a lot of dollars. It would be great to have a breakdown of how we’re utilizing that…”
Jackson said he would provide itemized cost information to city council, but he didn’t say when he would do so. Kerber asked, “How about before we vote on the CIP?” (That vote will occur in early October.) When Jackson said, “We can do better than the large number now, but I don’t think I can give you a final number by then,” Kerber responded, “So I don’t think it’s ready.”
Jackson said, “If that’s the consensus, I’ll get you good numbers as best I can so we can go forward with it right now.” Derek Holcomb, community development director, explained further. He said that the design work for the $1.5 million city hall interior remodel project was not finished yet. Holcomb further explained that until the design work was finished, they didn’t actually know how much the project would cost. He said that the $1.5 million was an estimate he did in consultation with design professionals “using an average per square foot rate…”
It is likely this subject will be discussed further in a subsequent city council study session or the 2020 budget workshop scheduled for Monday, September 23 at 8:00 a.m. and open to the public.
CONTRIBUTED BY RALI CARES
A unique educational experience designed to educate parents and adults about possible warning signs of teen drug use and/or misuse is coming to Greenwood Village City Hall on Sunday, August 25.
The RALI CARES trailer, a partnership between the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative – Colorado (RALI) and Code 3 offers a tour of a mock teenager’s bedroom. Law enforcement and experts will be on hand to guide participants through the trailer, educating about warning signs, potential areas of concern and how parents or caregivers can talk to teens most effectively.
“The RALI CARES trailer is an innovative and effective way to help us all learn more about how to combat teen drug misuse,” said state Rep. Meg Froelich, a co-host of the event. “Nothing tops a hands-on lesson about warning signs that we can see in our own homes. I applaud RALI Colorado for bringing the trailer to Greenwood Village and I urge all local citizens to stop by.”
The trailer will be open to the public, ages 21 and older, from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. No photography is permitted inside the trailer.
RALI Colorado comprises more than 35 local, state and national organizations representing healthcare stakeholders, veterans, industry leaders, realtors and others. In addition to safe disposal, the organization will work together to find solutions and share best practices for prevention, treatment and recovery related to prescription drug misuse.
CONTRIBUTED BY THE CITY OF GREENWOOD VILLAGE
The City of Greenwood Village seeks to purchase an existing piece of public artwork (i.e. original artwork that has already been completed) by a Colorado-based artist, to be placed at a specific site at the newly renovated Running Fox Park (5290 S. Quebec St., Greenwood Village, CO 80111). The artwork should be completed and ready to install and should reflect the natural setting and solitude of the park. Running Fox Park is one of the many scenic sections of the Village’s trail system, providing recreational opportunities for both park and trail users. This opportunity is open to all artists residing in Colorado. The City of Greenwood Village does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, national origin, or disability. The budget for this project is $20,000. Interested artists should apply using www.callforentry.org, Keyword: Greenwood Village. Deadline to enter is September 20th. For questions contact Chris Stevens, Cultural Arts Manager for the City of Greenwood Village, at 303-708-6110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenwood Village was visited by six Legendary Ladies as part of the city’s Village Read Program. The Legendary Ladies is a non-profit performance group that dress in period costumes and share stories of historical women who made their mark on Colorado and the west. One of the main themes of this year’s Village Read book, “Rush” by Jamye Mansfield, is strong women of the west. Making an appearance at this event were: Lady Moon, Augusta Tabor, Dr. Susan Anderson, Josie Bassett, Anne Evans and Calamity Jane. The Village Read Program encourages the community to share the same book and come together for many events and presentations centered around themes from the book.
Thirty-one years ago, the Greenwood Village City Council began a program for construction of noise walls to insulate residential neighborhoods adjacent to arterial streets from the sound of ever-increasing traffic. The city did not establish a maintenance plan for the seven miles of walls for which it built or acquired. Since the beginning of the program in 1988, only repairs required from major damage, like cars crashing into the walls, have been performed.
In 2019, GV retained Atkinson-Noland & Associates of Boulder for $46,585 to inventory and inspect 24 noise walls around the city for which GV is responsible. The noise walls are located around residential areas all around the city, including Belleview from Franklin to University, Cherry Creek Village North, Cherry Creek Village South, Dayton Farms, DTC Roundtree, Green Oaks, Greenwood Acres, Greenwood Gardens, Huntington Acres, Orchard Farms, Panorama Point, Sundance Hills, Sundance Valley, and along University Boulevard.
At a city council study session on August 5, Justin Williams, engineering manager in the city’s public works department presented Atkinson-Noland’s 61-page detailed report, with inspection notes and photos of each of the 24 walls. It contained a description of the condition of each of the noise walls and information about any damage that needs to be addressed (e.g., vertical cracking, horizontal cracking, mortar deterioration, etc.). The consultants also categorized needed repairs by priority level, recommending some be done in the next six months, while others could wait for as long as 10 to 15 years. They also estimated the cost for all recommended repairs for the 24 walls, from high to low priority, which totaled $8.4 million.
After reviewing the report, Councilwoman Anne Ingebretsen asked Williams if any of the damage discovered was as a result of a construction defect for which the city might have any recourse. Williams answered, “Not with the age of the construction, no.” He added, “The large majority of what we see here is just typical deterioration.”
Councilmember Dave Bullock asked about the cost of building new wall panels instead of repairing them and concluded that it was less expensive to replace a wall panel than repair it. Public Works Director Jeremy Hanak pointed out to Bullock that he was comparing the cost of replacing only the high priority wall panels, (which were 19 percent of the total), to the cost of repairing allthe wall panels that had been identified as needing to be fixed, (which were 83 percent of the total). Hanak estimated the cost of replacing all the noise wall panels to be $11 million.
Mayor Pro Tem George Lantz suggested, and later Councilmember Anne Ingebretsen agreed that, in addition to addressing the identified repair issues, the city should formulate an ongoing maintenance program for the noise walls similar to what it uses for streets and pavement.
John Jackson, city manager said, “42 percent of the walls were in the low priority (category)…and we’re hoping to maintain those so we don’t get to the point where we replace them….We don’t think that the overall cost will be anywhere near there (the $11 million quoted by Hanak) because we’re not going to rebuild seven miles of walls…We want to come out of this with a maintenance plan to go forward to budget appropriately to maintain the walls that we own.”
Bullock responded, “Well, the counsel that I would give to you is to try to understand why the cost of repairing a wall is equal to or more than the cost of replacing a wall….I think we need to make sure that we’re not being taken advantage of because we’re a municipality and oftentimes contractors like to try to charge municipalities more….”
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