Economic Development Department removed from city of Craig 2019 proposed budget
CRAIG — Craig City Council members directed city staff to change Craig’s Proposed 2019 Annual Budget after it’s introduction on Tuesday, Oct. 24, when they voted to have staff remove the Department of Economic Development from the draft document while the idea is under consideration.
Councilman Tony Bohrer made the motion, seconded by Jarrod Ogden, which passed on a vote of five to two, with Chris Nichols and Derek Duran voting to keep the department in the draft.
Bohrer said having specific allocations for a department and personnel, coupled with a Craig Press story about the proposal, had his phone ringing.
“I have never received as many calls as I did on this one topic,” he said.
Council members agreed the city should support economic development, saying previous efforts were not as successful as had been hoped. Nichols expressed a desire, which was shared by other council members, for City Manager Peter Brixius to bring forward a more complete vision of how City Council could best support economic development, as well as the related implications to other entities and organizations already engaged in economic development.
Until then, staff will adjust the budget to move funds back into the economic development line item under the council budget as part of the general fund. The decision does not preclude the council from ultimately creating a new Economic Development Department, but Bohrer said, “adding a position at this point is foolish.”
Additional changes were made to the proposed budget between the first budget workshop and formal introduction Tuesday. These changes were discussed during a budget workshop held an hour before the council meeting, a workshop Bohrer was unable to attend.
City staff is also finalizing results of a salary survey before proposing changes to staff compensation. City Council is expected to consider a first reading of the budget during its first meeting in November and must approve the final budget resolution in November to meet statutory deadlines.
Also on City Council’s agenda for Tuesday:
• Council members observed the swearing in by Municipal Court Judge Heather Cannon of new Craig Police Officer Michael Cochran. Cochran was an assistant chief in Georgia before moving to Craig with his family about a year ago. After completing training, he is expected to become the department’s sexual assault/domestic violence investigator.
•Cannon joined city attorney Sherman Romney in a presentation about how municipal court works.
• Council members received an overview of Amendment 73 from Moffat County School District Superintendent Dave Ulrich.
• Council members considered a new shop local program partnership between the city and the Craig Chamber of Commerce, presented by Rebekah Greenwood, executive assistant/finance manager for the Craig Chamber of Commerce, and Brixius. The program would have the city purchase special Chamber Spree Bucks, which the Chamber would then issue to shoppers in $5 increments, up to $30 per person, in exchange for receipts showing $50 to $300 in “tax generating goods” purchased at local businesses. A similar initiative in Rangely saw a short, sharp, measurable increase in sales tax revenue and encouraged changes in shopping behavior, Brixius said. Council members requested that Greenwood and Brixius meet with the Downtown Business Association to determine how the program would impact DBSs Local’s Love You More incentive and provide more details about marketing and implementation before council considers approval of funds to support the initiative.
• Resident Joni Snyder encouraged council members to vote “yes” on Referred Ballot Measure 1A, a measure proposing a new, dedicated mill levy to fund the Museum of Northwest Colorado and Moffat County Libraries. Snyder also asked if the city is prepared to help keep both entities open in the event the measure fails. “The city and county need to start working together more to help solve these problems,” she said. Nichols spoke briefly about a new joint services committee between the Craig and Moffat County that puts “everything is on the table,” as the city and county look to increase efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
Council also took action to approve the following
• Meeting minutes from Oct. 9, 2018.
• A consent agenda for the renewal of a 3.2 percent beer, off-premises liquor license and application for change of manager for Kum & GO, LC, doing business as Kum & Go #1903, at 700 East Victory Way. No cause has been shown for denial.
• Held a public hearing before approving the second reading of Ordinance No. 1079 (2018) — an ordinance amending section 13.36.055 (b) of the Craig Municipal Code concerning standards for control of backflow and cross-connection by water users. No one spoke for or against the amendments.
• Approved the 2019 Operating Plan and Budget for the Moffat County Local Marketing District.
The meeting concluded with the September 2018 Water, Wastewater Department, and financial reports, as well as updates from the city manager, city attorney, and council members.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.