Resolutions for SMART Transportation Inclusion & Senate Bill 152 Telecommunications Opt-Out ballot questions also to be considered.
From "August 2019 Trustees Packet" posted at ricocolorado.gov. Portions shown in italic are quotations of explanatory notes and documents in the Packet.
Enterprise Zone income tax credits
Letter in support of Enterprise Zone income tax credits for contributions to central wastewater treatment (sewer) system in Rico commercial area, and to Town Hall improvements.
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The State of Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade offers Enterprise Zones communities, in which Rico and the rest of Dolores County reside, an opportunity to put forward projects to be considered “ EZ (Enterprise Zone) Economic Development Projects.” If . . . project meets the criteria to become an EZ Development Project, donations to the project are eligible for a 25% income tax credit for donations of up to $100,000 per taxpayer.
Ouray Courthouse received donations through this program, according to information provided to Rico Town Manager by Town of Rico's attorney.
The Colorado Economic Development Commission document included in the Trustees Packet lists Enterprise Zone (EZ) Contribution Tax Credit lists the types of "Contribution Projects" which may qualify for the contributor tax credit:
Community Facility A new or improved facility that enhances the local economy. The Project may address a variety of unmet community needs that keep people living in the area and where those residents support local service and retail businesses. Facilities may include social/human service facilities like health care, child care, elder care, and recreation facilities, and community event/meeting space.
Tourist Attraction A new or improved facility that draws outsiders in and brings revenue into the community at large such as museums, fairgrounds, and other facilities that bring tourism to an EZ.
Infrastructure Networks or systems such as water, sewer, transportation, telecommunications and street-scapes.
Wastewater Treatment Ballot Question
Resolution to place on the November 5th, 2019 ballot a question asking the voters of Rico for a property tax mill levy increase to build a central wastewater treatment (sewer) system in Rico’s commercial area.
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Discussion with the staff of the State Revolving Loan Fund and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) resulted in a decision to:
. . . request a mill levy increase of $3,000,000 because any additional money would require that the Town obtain a leveraged loan with an interest rate of 2.5% rather than the interest rate that they would give us for a $3,000,000 loan of 1.5%. A 2.5% interest rate would necessitate a mill levy increase of 46.3 . . . (Town Manager believes that )such an increase would be more than the taxpayers of this community could tolerate. To reduce the cost of the project, we (Town of Rico) have taken out the stretch of sewer line that progresses south of the gazebo property to the Little Ada mill site. We also took out a stretch that would serve the residences on Glasgow (Highway 145) north of Mantz. The one commercial building on the northwest corner of Mantz and Glasgow could still be served. . . .
. . . the State Revolving Fund will give us (Town of Rico) a grant of up to $600,000 for final design and engineering costs and since we will not be applying to the USDA for funding, we (Town of Rico) can take out the line item in the engineer’s estimate for the interim loan that the USDA requires and the construction management cost of a daily, on-site Professional Engineer, also a requirement of the USDA. Taking out these costs will bring our (Town of Rico) budget down to $3,000,000. If we (Town of Rico) get the grant that we (Town of Rico) are going to request from the Department of Local Affairs, we (Town of Rico) can consider adding the portion of the sewer that serves the residences along Glasgow.
Proposed ballot question text
SHALL TOWN OF RICO DEBT BE INCREASED BY UP TO $3,000,000, WITH A MAXIMUM TOTAL REPAYMENT COST OF $3,474,327 FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINANCING A WASTEWATER TREAMENT PLANT AND A NEW CENTRAL SEWER SYSTEM IN THE TOWN’S COMMERCIAL CORE AND SHALL TOWN TAXES BE INCREASED BY UP TO $173,717 ANNUALLY IN ANY YEAR BY THE LEVY OF AD VALOREM PROPERTY TAXES, WITHOUT LIMIT AS TO RATE AND IN AN AMOUNT SUFFICIENT TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL OF, PREMIUM, IF ANY, AND INTEREST ON SUCH DEBT; SHALL SUCH DEBT TO MATURE, BE SUBJECT TO REDEMPTION, WITH OR WITHOUT PREMIUM, AND BE ISSUED, DATED AND SOLD AT SUCH TIME OR TIMES, AT SUCH PRICES (AT, ABOVE OR BELOW PAR) AND IN SUCH MANNER AND WITH SUCH TERMS, NOT INCONSISTENT HEREWITH, AS THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES MAY DETERMINE; AND SHALL THE TOWN BE AUTHORIZED TO COLLECT, RETAIN AND EXPEND ALL OF THE REVENUES OF SUCH TAXES, THE PROCEEDS OF SUCH BONDS AND THE EARNINGS THEREON, NOTWITHSTANDING THE LIMITATIONS OF ARTICLE X, SECTION 20 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION OR ANY OTHER LAW?
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Resolution to place on the November 5th, 2019 ballot a question asking the voters of Rico to approve a property tax mill levy and sales tax increases to join SMART.
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. . . a request that the voters consider supporting Rico’s inclusion in the San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) area. This request is a provision of our (Town of Rico) current intergovernmental agreement with SMART. This ballot question also comes with a very minor tax increase, 0.75 mills as well as a .25 cent on the dollar sales tax increase. It is important to note that the Rico route is heavily subsidized by SMART even with this minor increase. SMART pays the drivers of the route as well as vehicle maintenance, insurance and other associated costs of keeping the shuttle running.
Proposed ballot question text
SHALL THE PROPERTY WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE TOWN OF RICO BE INCLUDED IN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE SAN MIGUEL AUTHORITY FOR REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AND BE SUBJECT TO THE SMART .75 MILL LEVY AND 0.25% SALES TAX?
Rico School ownership transfer proposal letter
Dolores County School Superintendent Ty Gray met with Rico Mayor Town Manager and Mayor earlier this month:
. . . He brought a facilitator, who they (School District) had hired to look at the situation and make recommendations. His name is Brad Miller. Mr. Miller is often a proponent of charter schools but in the case of Rico even he admitted that a charter school was unlikely to be sustainable. Ultimately, he recommended to Ty that the Rico School be absorbed into the Telluride R1 School District. He and Ty were more optimistic about selling that plan to the community of Dove Creek than I (Rico Town Manager) am but there may be a legislative avenue. I (Rico Town Manager) also had a conversation with Paul Reich, who is on the Telluride School Board and he suggested that we try to resolve this prior to Mike Gass’s (Telluride School District Superintendent) retirement.
The proposed letter for consideration by Town of Rico Trustees, to be delivered to the appropriate local/State government officials, is reproduced from the August 2019 Trustees Packet below. It contains a history of Rico citizens' attempts to resolve Rico School status and to ensure availability of public education.
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Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and Mayor Zach McManus on August 1st about the Rico Elementary School and being willing to help solve this difficulty.
In March of last year, the Dolores County School District voted unanimously to close the Rico Elementary School. I have attached the resolution. The decision was based on declining enrollment and the expense of operating an aging building for so few students. While the citizens of Rico generally agreed that the school was difficult to maintain, they would like to see a strategy by the Dolores County School District in assuring the parents that a long-term plan was being made for the education of their children.
To appreciate this dilemma, it is helpful to understand the geography and economics of the region as well as the history of the Rico School. As you probably know, Rico was a mining town until the mid seventies when the mine closed for good. Subsequent to the closure of the mine, Rico became a bedroom community for people who worked at the ski resort in Telluride. This situation still exists with many of the parents working in Telluride. It follows naturally that most parents want their children to be in school in Telluride where they are close should there be an emergency. The Telluride School is also the closest school to Rico being 30 miles north. The Town of Dolores has the next closest school. It is located 40 miles south of Rico and not the more frequently traveled route. It is very important to note that the Telluride School and the Dolores School are not in the Dolores County School District. The only school in the Dolores County School District is in Dove Creek some 70 miles away from Rico. It is also important to note that the Dolores County School District is large. At approximately 1296 square miles, it encompasses not only Dolores County in its entirety but also the western portion of San Miguel County. I have attached a map showing the area to this email.
In 2002, following a previous attempt by the Dolores County School District to close the Rico School, the community of Rico collected signatures and put an initiative on the ballot to leave the Dolores School District and join the Telluride School District. While the initiative passed in both the Town of Rico and in the Telluride District, it was defeated in Dolores County where the majority of the population resides. I believe that the community of Rico would stand firmly by another attempt to join the Telluride R-1 School District.
In August of 2018, the Town of Rico organized a discussion regarding the school situation at the Rico Board of Trustee’s meeting. There was a good turnout and the parents expressed a desire to have a portion of their tax dollars (Rico citizens will contribute just over $100,000 to the Dolores School District this year) go toward transportation to the Telluride School. They were also concerned about what would become of the building should it be abandoned by the Dolores County School District.
In summary, the parents in Rico would like three things for the approximately 30 school-aged kids that live in Rico.
• Transportation – The parents in Rico would like assurance that if for some reason they can’t take their kids to school, there is an alternative.
• Continuity - The Telluride School system has been very generous in taking on Rico students, however Telluride is not obliged and the parents want to know that there is a place for their children in a school that is relatively close.
• Stewardship of the property – It is important to the Rico community that, whoever ends up with the school building, maintain it to the degree that it does not become a blight on our main street.
The Rico Community will be very grateful for a positive resolution to this problem.
Kari Distefano, Rico Town Manager
Resolution to place on the November 5th, 2019 ballot a question regarding whether the Town can re-establish its right to provide telecommunication services, advanced services, and cable television services either directly or indirectly with public or private sector partners.
This ballot questions asks the voters whether or not the Town of Rico should opt out of Senate Bill 152, which is a bill prohibiting most uses of municipal or county money for infrastructure to improve local broadband services without first going to a vote of the people. This senate bill also restricts the ability of local government to engage in public private partnerships with broadband companies. Unfortunately, when Dolores County opted out of this bill, Rico did not participate and given the fact that we currently have a broadband company that seems willing to make efforts to improve broadband here, I believe that it behooves the Town to potentially make available avenues to grant funding. I have included a copy of the proposed ballot language and the resolution in this packet.