MONTROSE — The Montrose city council approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Montrose Recreation District Tuesday initiating the process of collecting additional sales tax revenue in order to build a Community Recreation Center located off Woodgate Road.
City councilors voted unanimously to approve the agreement, and on June 1, will begin collecting the extra 0.3 percent sales tax to fund the CRC.
Although the agreement was not formally signed on Tuesday, MRD Executive Director Ken Sherbenou thanked the council for its efforts to pursue the CRC and said the agreement helps make the district as “fiscally responsible as possible.”
The most important language in the agreement is the sunset clause, not included in the 2012 MRD ballot, or Measure A, which failed. “The parties agree that the Recreation Tax shall terminate on the earlier of May 31, 2039, full re-payment of the Certificates or the termination of the Lease,” the agreement reads.
Beginning June 1, the city’s sales tax will rise from 7.65 to 7.95 percent, which was approved by city voters in April through Measure B, which passed with 2,972 votes in favor to 2,734 against. The estimated construction cost of the CRC located on 26 acres off Woodgate Road is listed at $25.5 million.
“The purpose of the IGA is to have an agreement between the Rec District, which is receiving the money, and the city, which is going to collect the money,” City Attorney Stephen Alcorn told The Watch this week. “We will collect it on their behalf and cut them a check monthly.”
According to the agreement, the collection date is the 15th of each month. The MRD is tasked with making quarterly reports to the city (including expenses) and providing the city with copies of annual audit reports and other taxing information, in accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission rules.
The agreement noted that costs will be incurred for local businesses who require technical help in converting cash registers to reflect the new tax; Alcorn said most local businesses use digital equipment, which makes it easier to program-in the new tax change.
Sherbenou is working to complete a district audit report, which allow independent auditors to verify the MRD’s existing resources to be used towards the project.
At a May 22 MRD board meeting, board members must approve or deny a preliminary offering statement authorizing the MRD’s municipal finance firm, George K. Baum and Company of Denver, to sell certificates of participation.
In coming weeks, the MRD will have to establish a credit rating in order “to give confidence to investors.”
Sherbenou said the district will begin issuing certificates of participation in June.
Also on Tuesday, MRD voters approved Michael Brown, Kevin Davis, Mark Plantz and Kylee Smith to the district’s board, joining Barbara Bynum, John Pope and Jason Ullmann.
The MRD’s goal is to have the new rec center open by late 2016. At that time, the MRD will begin repurposing the Montrose Aquatic Center into an indoor turf field, while remaining areas of the aquatic center remain open.
Councilors Deny Land De-Annexation
Councilors unanimously denied a request from a local property owner who wanted their newly purchased property located next to the Cobble Creek Golf Community to be de-annexed from the city to the county.
Nick Barrett of Del-Mont Consultants, representing the land owner at 16888 6400 Road (on the west located side of Cobble Creek), said the property receives no city services and the owners want to be able to keep a “4-H animal or two” on it for use as a small farming operation.
“This property needs to be in the county, not the city,” Barrett told council, adding that in order for the property to link with the city sewer system, it would have to cut through a portion of the golf course.
Nearly three-dozen residents of Cobble Creek turned out to council chambers to voice their concerns over the de-annexation. They said there was no guarantee the property would have a limited amount of animals, as stated through city code, or turn into a “junky mess.”
City code limits the number of animals allowed on each property, and also contains ordinances against discharging firearms and debris considered junk. There are no limits in county code for animals, debris or firearms.
The property was once owned by the Collins family, who annexed the entire thing to the city in 1996. The Collins’ once-massive cattle operation is now part of the Cobble Creek Golf Community. The five-acre property was bank-owned until about six months ago, when the new owners purchased it.
City staff directed Barrett and the owner to pursue a rural residential listing where they could still have animals for “hobby farming.”
City code in that designation permits a single animal for every acre; this property would allow up to five animals.
Cobble Creek residents feared that de-annexation to the county could allow for small-scale livestock or chicken coop operations to move in, which would devalue their property values.
Barrett, a Montrose native, countered that there are similar pieces of property around the community, zoned as county property, which do not operate such commercial animal businesses.
“That’s does not fit with the way we live around here,” he said.
“Zoning is there to protect the longer-term interests of our property owners,” City Manager Bill Bell said.
The request was denied by councilors on the advice of the city’s Land Use Committee.