City council

Trinidad’s City Council will return to its former practice of scheduling afternoon work sessions to discuss pertinent issues of local interest. The first work session is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Monday, June 24 at City Hall. Afternoon work sessions were a regular feature of Council’s routine for many years until being eliminated recently to save time for both council members and city staff.

The agendas of the work session discussions will be publicly posted and the work sessions will be open to the public. Any executive sessions of Council must be part of a convened regular meeting of Council, which must also be publicly posted.

City Manager Greg Sund discussed the reasons for the change and some of the policy issues that might be discussed at upcoming work sessions. “We listed quite a few things that have been discussed over the past few months as potential work session issues, and department heads divided them up into what might be discussed in coming weeks, but it’s all up to council and if you have things you want to add, then that’s fine.”

Colorado’s General Assembly recently passed legislation to legalize social cannabis consumption cafes, lounges and social clubs, with the legislation being signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday, May 29, but not going into effect until 2020.

Mayor Phil Rico asked City Manager Sund if the issues involved in allowing social cannabis clubs would be discussed at an upcoming Council work session. Sund replied that the issue should be discussed during several upcoming work sessions, to allow for a full examination of all the pertinent issues involved.

City Attorney Les Downs said he would ask Council for guidance on the issues involved with social cannabis clubs, including the possibility of having cannabis-sampling rooms in local retail cannabis facilities. Attorney Downs said he intended to ask Council members for a moratorium on legalized social cannabis clubs, unless and until Council gave an indication that it was ready to discuss all of the issues involved.

Mayor Rico said the scheduled work sessions would give Council members the chance to address the critical infrastructure issues faced by the city. “That’s something that’s been on all of our minds, and I think we need to sit down over several work sessions and come up with some kind of strategic plan moving forward as to how we address this and where we start from,” Rico said. “I’m glad to see that we’ll be addressing those issues at our work sessions.”

Council Member Karen Griego said she would like Council to discuss city code violations and the penalties and fines that could relate to them at an upcoming work session.

Rico said the Space to Create Trinidad projects would be one of the subjects addressed at a work session to be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, July 8. “We’ll have the full Creative District come in, so we can have a full discussion on how we’re going to realize the full potential of that commercial space,” he said.

Council Member Rusty Goodall said he liked the idea of having regular work sessions, feeling that the discussions they generated would be valuable to council members as they considered key upcoming issues.

Council Member Michelle Miles said she hoped the upcoming work sessions would not contain too many items, hoping for fewer agenda items and more complete discussions of each item to be considered.

Sund said some work sessions items were in need of immediate consideration, including allowing city utility ratepayers, including an “opt-out ordinance” that would allow city ratepayers to opt out of the new radial read utility meters that the city is in the process of installing. “We’re already in the middle of doing that, so we’re going to need some direction on that fairly quickly,” he said. “With the utility shut off ordinance, the information we have suggests the process is pretty broken. We need to improve this dramatically so if anything, I would ask that the most important items get moved up and the less important ones get moved down.”

Sund asked council members to discuss the utility shut off ordinance before the Monday, June 24 work session, City Utilities Director Mike Valentine asked that council allow city staff members time to consider any proposed changes before they became the subjects of discussion at an upcoming work session.

In other discussion items at the meeting:

 

·Council heard a 2018 annual report from Walt Boulden, executive director of the South Central Council of Governments (SCCOG), who highlighted SCCOG’s many programs and the help they provided to local people in need of services.

·Attorney Downs commented on the recent ruling by the Tenth Circuit of the U.S. District Court of Appeals that denied the city’s appeal of an earlier ruling pertaining to a lawsuit between the City and disabled persons’ advocate Stephen Hamer. Downs said he would consult with attorneys for the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA), to consider possible courses of action in the ongoing lawsuit.

·Rico thanked all of the estimated 150 volunteers who came together in the recent successful effort to build the KABOOM outdoor adventure park at the County Fairgrounds.

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