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City to draft ballot questions

City Council approved having staff move forward with drafting three ballot questions for the pool after talking in circles about the topic for almost an hour.

At Tuesday’s, Feb. 11, meeting, the council members weighed in on three possible questions for the November 2020 election.

Two questions are requests to take money from the city’s capital improvement fund to help fund the project. One would be a single withdrawal of $7 million and other would be an annual transfer of about $1 million.

The third question would be to allow proceeds from the sale of 45 acres of city-owned land near the golf course to be used to pay off city debt, including a pool. Sale of the parcel, tract 350, was approved by Boulder City voters in November 2010.

Currently, 10% of the proceeds from the sale are earmarked for public safety needs and the remainder is designated for revenue bonds for Boulder Creek Golf Club and other capital debt obligations for the city. The golf course revenue bonds were paid off in May 2015.

“I don’t believe that the pool committee at this point is ready to make any recommendations on the cost of this pool,” said Mayor Kiernan McManus. “My concern with going to the voters in November of this year without having a very solid plan is that it would be rejected and we would be starting over.”

Time to save

Earlier in the meeting, the ad-hoc pool committee presented a potential funding plan for the pool and some design ideas. The plan was supported by the proposed ballot questions and would allow the city to save for the project while it determines how to proceed.

Due to that preliminary stage, McManus said he didn’t think there was sufficient information available to word the ballot questions and that they could “certainly wait.”

“That money is not going anywhere unless the voters approved it, but if we wanted to move forward on this ballot question regarding the proceeds from (tract) 350, I don’t see a problem,” he added.

Councilman James Howard Adams said the situation was a little bit of a Catch-22.

“Are we afraid of going too soon and losing support of it from the people or do we wait a little longer … (that will) push us up against the wall that is the current state of the pool,” he said. “It’s kind of this balance we have to strike.”

He also said if the city does not want to raise taxes to pay for a new pool, then the money would have to come from the capital improvement fund.

Councilwoman Tracy Folda said she would like to see a sunset clause or end date for the transfers.

Adams said he agreed with a sunset clause and would be OK with clarifying the language for the third question to make sure the city could spend the proceeds from the future sale on debt for a pool project, which had been suggested earlier.

Councilwoman Claudia Bridges made a motion to have the city attorney begin drafting the three ballot questions and have staff recommend an end date for the capital improvement fund transfers. It was approved unanimously.

Code changes

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council delayed possible action on adopting a new, updated municipal code until the March 24 meeting.

At the beginning of the discussion, McManus said he was planning to postpone the item.

“This is a massive project,” he said. “I believe the code runs around 1,000 pages. We’ve now had it for a few weeks. That’s not a sufficient amount of time for me to have gone through (it).”

“I agree that there are certain things that I still need some answers made on this. … I would agree that more time is needed,” added Folda.

Adams said he had been reviewing it for a “very long time” and he did have some concerns, but most of his questions had been answered.

“For the most part, I think I have been satisfied, but this is huge and any opportunity to review something so big I will personally always take,” he said. “But I don’t want to push things down the road to where we don’t get there.”

City Clerk Lorene Krumm said this project has been worked on for the past year and a half and the new code was provided to council members in December. The bill to adopt the new code was introduced at the Jan. 14 meeting. She added that she had offered to hold workshops with the council members and go over the code with them line by line.

“It is a clean-up. … No substantive changes have been made,” she said. “This is the first time I’m hearing from several of you to postpone this.”

Potential problems

The last time the code was updated was in the mid-1990s.

Krumm said delaying this would be confusing for people applying for permits and those needing to know what the city code allows.

“It exacerbates the problem we already have,” she said.

Adams and Bridges suggested having a specific date to bring the proposed code changes back before council.

McManus said he wanted it at the March 24 meeting and made a motion to do so. His motion was seconded by Folda.

Adams suggested the March 10 meeting because he will not be at the later one due to his upcoming wedding.

McManus said he did not want to go earlier than the 24th and suggested the first meeting in April. His amendment to hold it at that meeting died for lack of a second.

Adams said he wanted to amend the motion to hold the item until the March 10 meeting and as Bridges was attempting to second it per McManus’ request for one, he interrupted and said he did not accept it.

“Excuse me. I do not accept your amendment,” McManus said to Adams. “We have a motion and a second on the floor. I do not accept your amendment.”

The motion to hold it until the March 24 meeting passed with a 3-2 vote. Adams and Bridges voted against it.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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