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Erie Leadership Transition

April 7, 2010

As I look to hand over the gavel next Tuesday, it is nice to know who will be leading Erie going forward.     Your new Board of Trustees will be Mayor Joe Wilson and Trustees Cheryl Hauger, Colin Towner, Joe Carnival, Mark Grubber, Paul Ogg and Ronda Grassi.

As for the the 3 ballot items, being able to sell the old Public Works facility passed easily as did the the Vista Pointe property sale to the HOA.    The Bonanza connection failed by 11 votes and shows the community is divided.   It is not clear on what the retailers will do at this point and the new Board will need to determine what the best approach is to ensure retail sales tax stay in Erie.

As for the transition there are a number of items that are in progress:

  • Outsourcing the Airport to a Professional Airport Management/Development Firm
  • Completion of the New Waste Water Plant and Non-Potable System
  • Implementation of the funded (Erie/Lafayette/Boulder County/GOCO) Coal Creek Strategic Trail Connection to Lafayette/Broomfield and 26 miles of Boulder County Trails
  • Completion of a Revenue Sharing Agreement with Lafayette and Boulder County
  • Completion of the Leon A. Wurl Public Works and Parks Facility with a 96.1 kW photovoltaic (PV) solar system
  • Completion of the funded Coal Creek Crossing to the West Airport Businesses
  • Support of the Chamber/EEDC/Town Marketing Campaign
  • Approval 0r Denial of the Landfill Methane to Electricity Generation Facility
  • Approval or Denial of the Velodrome
  • Completion of  Development Right Purchases for Open Space and Buffers
  • Development of Adequate Facilities for our Police Department

I’m looking forward to the transition and wish our new leaders well as they take Erie forward in 2010.

Best Regards,

Andrew
303.482.3037

Dates that may help with your planning:
– April 8: New Erie Elementary Parent/Community Information Meeting in the Commons of Erie High School – 5:00 pm
– April 13: Newly elected Mayor and 3 Trustees take office – 6:30 pm
– April 16/17/18: – Erie High School Drama – “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown
– May 3: American Country Star Try-Outs at KaddyShack Start

Grant Awarded for Erie-Lafayette/Regional Trail Project

April 2, 2010

Good news yesterday from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).   They awarded Boulder County, Lafayette, and Erie a large grant for $500,000 to connect Erie and Lafayette’s trail systems.   What follows is the press release…

Governor Bill Ritter today announced the award of a $500,000 Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant for the Eastern Link of the Coal Creek / Rock Creek Trail Project.   The project is a multi-jurisdictional collaborative effort to connect the communities of Erie and Lafayette with public open space properties in unincorporated Boulder County, Broomfield, Louisville, Superior and the city of Boulder.  The project will construct a new 4-mile long trail that will extend from the existing Rock Creek Trail, near 120th Street in the City of Lafayette, to the existing trail at Vista Pointe Parkway and Coal Creek on Erie’s eastern edge.  The 4-mile section will complete one of the last remaining links of a 24-mile loop trail that connects these communities.

BACKGROUND:  In December 2009, Town of Erie Board of Trustees approved a GOCO Special Opportunity grant application in partnership with Boulder County and the City of Lafayette for construction of various segments of the Coal Creek/Rock Creek Regional Trail.  Erie has appropriated $350,000 in matching funds and is responsible for the segment from Vista Parkway to State Highway 7 which will include approximately 2.5 miles of 8 foot crusher fines trail, two bridges and an underpass at State Highway 7.  It was determined that submitting one application on behalf of all three agencies provided the best opportunity for success in this highly competitive Special Opportunity grant cycle.  Boulder County submitted the grant application to GOCO and each agency agreed to provide financial assistance to enable the entire project to be completed as follows:

  • Erie – $350,000 (from the Erie Trails and Natural Areas Fund)
  • Boulder County – $300,000
  • City of Lafayette – $250,000

GOCO:  Great Outdoors Colorado is the result of a citizens’ initiative passed by voters in 1992. Entities eligible to receive GOCO funds are local governments, land trusts, Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. To date, GOCO has provided funding for projects in all of Colorado’s 64 counties.  To date, GOCO has awarded $15 million for projects in Boulder County.

The proposed trail location can be found by clicking here.

Thanks,  Andrew
303.482.3037

Dates that may help with your planning:
– April 3: Erie Community Park Ribbon Cutting – 10:00 am
– April 6: Last day to vote in the Erie Election
– April 13: Newly elected Mayor and 3 Trustees take office – 6:30 pm
– April 16/17/18: – Erie High School Drama – “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown
– May 3: American Country Star Try-Outs at KaddyShack Start

Airport Upgrades

March 25, 2010

One item that has been troublesome with the Airport infrastructure has been the underground fuel storage.    Replacing the underground facilities with above ground tanks will take significant capital.

Typically the Colorado Division of Aeronautics (CDOA) makes matching funds available to Colorado communities to be utilized as matching funds for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) projects (generally 95% FAA, 2.5% CDOA, 2.5% Town) or other maintenance projects (generally 80% CDOA, 20% Town).

Last November, the Town applied for CDOA funds totaling $206,605 to upgrade the fuel system, joint/crack seal an area near the operations building, and construct a new connector off the main runway so planes don’t have to taxi to end when they are capable of leaving the runway sooner.  The Town also anticipates receiving a grant for FAA funding in the amount of $235,000 for a portion of this project work.    Erie’s matching share of $55,289 is available through the Airport enterprise fund.

At our last Board of Trustee meeting, approval was given to accept the funds.    This upgrade is in alignment with Board goals to ensure infrastructure in town is upgraded and maintained.

– Andrew
303.482.3037

Following Candidate Funding and Election Myths

March 19, 2010

I love living in Erie and have truly appreciated serving as Mayor for the overall good of our Town.    Although I’m not writing endorsement letters for any candidate, given the topic of this “MooreInfo” I will disclose that my wife and I have given campaign contributions to:

Each have sought out information broadly from diverse constituents and directly from Town staff.   We feel they are positioned well to continue the current positive direction for the Town and we also understand their source of income is not development related.

When I first ran for office I promised to not take developer (special interest) campaign contributions.   Because I was not employed by any profession that relied on “the land deal” for income, it helped the Board of Trustees achieve support from groups lobbying for various growth perspectives.  Within this environment the Town moved forward and executed a quality growth plan.    Under this model we made development pay its own way.   Subsequently, there was a six year period of much reduced tensions amongst the groups advocating the various growth interests.

Because I feel elected officials have an obligation to make decisions for the good of Erie overall, it is important to know if developers or other special interests are funding the candidates.  In each election I check the campaign finance statements which are available from the city clerk’s office to anyone.  I do this to understand where the money is coming from and to whom it is going.

I was pleased to see the reports showed no significant signs of developer funding candidate campaigns.   What stands out is the proportion of airport related money funding the 2010 campaigns.

Candidate
Occupation (neighborhood)
Reported Cash Contributions
Less Returns
(not airport or developer identified)
Reported Cash Contributions
Airport Identifiable*
Reported Cash Contributions
Developer Identifiable
Cheryl Hauger Retired Business Analyst
$225
Joe Wilson Commercial Real Estate Broker/Hotel Owner, Operator, Broker
$339.98
$2250
$100
Paula Teeple Substitute Para-educator, Retired Administrator
$0
Hank Pantier Small Business Owner (Erie) – Marketing
$50
Joe Carnival Human Resources/Operations Management- Level 3

$1555

Mark Gruber Semi-retired CFO
$683.84
$100
Matthew Williams Erie High School Teacher
$0
Ronda Grassi Small Business Owner (Louisville) – CAD
$0
Rob James Sales Mgmt Telecommunications/Non-Erie Land Developer $627.70
$2035.20
Scott Wood Flight Attendant
$0

*(Those suing for the Town for money with regard to the runway, Airpark Residents who are part of the HOA litigation, Out of State)

I’m pleased with the candidates and new faces looking to lead.   No matter who wins, I will support them as I know it is harder than it looks to lead with the overall good of the entire Town in mind.  For those who do not get elected, I hope they will apply for other volunteer roles such as the Planning Commission or an Advisory Board.   There is always a need for talented, motivated people to serve Erie for the good of the many.

I’ll close by commenting on a few myths I’ve heard during this election campaign…

  • Myth #1 Erie is running a deficit budget.  Not true.   By state law (Colorado Statutes 29-1-103(2)) Erie has to have a balanced budget.   We are simply spending a small portion of our savings during this down economy to maintain the quality of public services and to keep the existing infrastructure in good repair which will save us money in the future.   Deficit spending and “printing of money” may happen in Washington, but it is illegal in Colorado!
  • Myth #2 The developers will only pay $500,000 to connect Bonanza to Vista Parkway and if they sell the land they are not liable.    Not True on both fronts.   There is no cap to make the connection and if they sell the land the responsibility to pay for the connection goes with it.   You can find the developer commitment contract language at http://www.eriebonanza.com.
  • Myth #3 If Bonanza is not connected services will suffer.    This one is not verifiable in the near term.   The connection benefit is that it will make the Bonanza/Hwy 7 corners more appealing to retailers.   If the retailers come, then there will be more sales tax revenue for town services.   If they do not come, sales tax revenue will go to Broomfield and at some point services may need to be cut and/or taxes increased.
  • Myth #4 If Erie would have given incentives to King Soopers they’d be in Erie by now.    Not True.    Erie will give incentives to King Soopers as a “Market Maker” and they know that.   King Sooper’s know how many Erie residents already shop at their Lafayette store and they don’t want to cannibalize an existing store until there are enough consumers to ensure both stores are profitable.    They also know they have to generate $20-30 million a year per store to open the doors.

Ballots should be in the mail today.

Best Regards,

Andrew
303.482.3037

Rainy Day Fund

March 11, 2010

One of the things we’ve had to plan for in Erie was the day the economy retracted and growth stalled.   We knew 6 years ago economies go through peaks and valleys and planning for the boom, bust cycles was important.

Being fiscally responsible includes saving during the good times.  Our town administrator is a former State Auditor’s office employee and is fully aware of the pitfalls of overspending.  His guidance was instrumental in being well positioned today.

In Erie we have planned for these tougher times and are now weathering a significant slowdown in growth and the economy in general that started in 2008.    Where some of our neighbors are cutting services, we are maintaining them for two important reasons.    First, we did not hire many permanent employees during the growth boom, instead we relied on contract help.    Second we put away funds and to the credit of the Trustees, they kept most discretionary, special projects at bay.

What that means in real terms is a General Fund balance of approximately $15 million dollars.    Last Tuesday evening, at our Board of Trustees meeting, $7.5 million dollars were officially set aside as a “Fund Stabilization Reserve”.   In more common terms, a “Rainy Day” fund.

In 2009 we ran a small deficit and I anticipate the same in 2010.    But we have the cash to ensure services – police, roads, parks & rec, etc. – are maintained.    I estimate we’ll be sustainable, even if the economy stays flat for 2-3 years.    Assuming a second grocer or big box comes to town in that time frame, we should be able to extend beyond that period without tax increases or reduced services.

At the State of the Town address, I went over a few financial slides.   You can find the entire presentation by clicking here.    On Slide 9 is a 12 year history of revenues and expenditures along with a graph on the General Fund balance savings, and how that savings is now slowly decreasing.

The Board has been supportive of the fiscal prowess necessary for sustainability.  I’m pleased Erie is positioned to be fiscally viable now and well into the future.

Best Regards,

Andrew

303.482.3037

Dates that may help with your planning:
– March 14: Craftology, Simple Hand Embroidery – 4:00 PM Erie Community Library
– March 15: Erie Town Board Candidates Forum hosted by HOAs –  7:00 PM Erie High School
– March 18: Erie Town Board Candidates Forum hosted by the League of Women Voters and the Erie Chamber of Commerce – 6:30 PM Erie Middle School
– March 19: Earliest date printers can mail ballots to registered voters
– April 3: Erie Community Park Ribbon Cutting – 10:00 am
– April 6: Last day to vote in the Erie Election
– April 13: Newly elected Mayor and 3 Trustees take office – 6:30 pm
– April 16/17/18: – Erie High School Drama – “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown”

State of the Town and Candidate Forums

March 9, 2010

Below are details for the upcoming State of the Town Address and the known political forums:

– Wednesday, March 10 – 6:30 pm – Community Center
State of the Town Address and Citizen Submitted Photo Show Come join me and some of the Trustees during my last bi-annual State of the Town address.   The forum will include a presentation on Erie’s progress over the last 6 years, projects that are ongoing, financial update, and opportunities/challenges for the future.    There will be time for Q&A and a short slide show featuring people, places, and things that will showcase the wonderful community of the Town of Erie.

– Wednesday, March April 10 – 7:30 pm – Erie High School
The Spirit of Flight Center is sponsoring the Erie 2010 Political Candidate Forum.  A trained Erie High School student moderator will read written questions which they have received from the public, and each candidate will be given one minute to answer.   In addition, each candidate will be offered the opportunity to make a two minute opening statement, and a two minute closing statement.  Students will benefit through academic learning and will receive community service hours.

– Monday, March 15 – 7:00 pm – Erie High School
The President of Cottonwood Vista HOA is sponsoring this candidate forum.  This Town wide candidate forum will include opening statements, then 4 to 5 questions to the candidates (depending on time) with 2-3 minutes per candidate to respond, followed by closing statements.  Questions will be focused on leadership abilities and issue resolution techniques, and not on the individual candidate’s position regarding a particular issue.

-Thursday, March 18 – 6:30 pm – Erie Middle School
League of Women Voters and the Erie Chamber of Commerce will co-sponsor this long standing tradition in Erie.  Each candidate will present opening and closing statements (2 minutes each), and each candidate will have the opportunity to answer written questions from the audience, and visit with the audience after the forum.  (refreshments provided).

Vista Parkway to Bonanza Connection Info

March 6, 2010

Link: (http://www.eriebonanza.com)

As the election nears one thing is clear, there is passion for leading Erie from many, and connecting Vista Parkway to Bonanza is sure to be a part of the election discussions.

Many people are aware that making the connection has been a topic studied by the Trustees and in the papers for over 2 years.    With the economy improving and retailers now working to lock their sites on Hwy 7, it is time for Erie to make a decision one way or the other on this important connection.

The ultimate form of public input on town wide concerns is to hear from all Erie residents through a ballot question.  This method has been successfully used for making decisions on the Library, Community Center, Fluoride, selling Town property, and Trail/Open Space funding.

Connecting Vista Parkway to Bonanza has many facets, but in the simplest terms it is about making one of our only high value commercial corners on Highway 7 as viable as possible for retailers.

This is a town wide revenue issue simply because if Erie can not attract the retail revenues that the Vista Ridge development was to bring, at some point the town may face a budget/revenue shortfall that may have to be made up by cutting services (police, maintenance, parks, etc) and/or raising taxes.

With that in mind I’ve consolidated supporting documentation in one place and created an FAQ forum where your questions can be asked and answered on this topic.

You can find the site at by clicking here or going to http://www.eriebonanza.com.

Thanks,  Andrew
303.482.3037

Dates that may help with your planning:
– March 10: Mayor’s State of the Town Meeting at the Erie Community Center – 6:30 pm
(Town Finances, Retail/Housing slowdown, Airport Economic Development, Airpark Litigation, Opportunities/Challenges,  Q&A, Erie Photos)
– March 15: Erie Town Board Candidates Forum hosted by HOA leaders not running for office – Erie High School
– March 18: Erie Town Board Candidates Forum hosted by the League of Women Voters and the Erie Chamber of Commerce – Erie Middle School
– March 19: Earliest date printers can mail ballots to registered voters
– April 3: Erie Community Park Ribbon Cutting – 10:00 am
– April 6: Last day to vote in the Erie Election
– April 13: Newly elected Mayor and 3 Trustees take office – 6:30 pm

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