At their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, members of the Niwot LID advisory committee considered just a single funding request, but members had plenty of new business on their minds, including funding alternatives for future capital projects and upcoming development projects in Old Town.
Boulder County liaison Mark Ruzzin presented the monthly financials to lead off the meeting. As of Aug. 31, the LID has approved $155,105 in disbursements, about $22,000 over the budget, which is set at 80 percent of 2016 revenue. He also provided more clarification about the district’s reserve account, which could be tapped to pay for this year’s overage if revenues don’t match or exceed last year’s collections.
After accounting for all 2017 expenses and revenue collections, the LID had $135,470 in surplus funds available, a figure much higher than either Ruzzin or the board estimated previously.
“The finance office did dig in and find that your reserve is actually larger than we had been talking about,” Ruzzin said. “That is trued up through January….so that’s a hard number.”
The Niwot Business Association (NBA) funding request came from Pat Murphy of Niwot Real Estate, who requested $3,335 for the annual Great Pumpkin Party, now in its 25th year.
The 2018 event, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27, will feature wagon rides, a magic show, and a trick-or-treat parade through Cottonwood Square and Old Town. Murphy also hopes to include a haunted house, a popular addition last year, though the final location has yet to be determined.
Murphy’s budget for this year’s event is about 30 percent higher than 2017, which did not include magician expenses. She estimates that the event will bring more than 700 visitors to Niwot’s business districts.
The request was approved unanimously, with member Biff Warren abstaining as the request included advertising costs in the Left Hand Valley Courier.
There was a flurry of items in both new business and old business categories, starting with a new date for the upcoming November meeting, which will be held on Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m., one week later than usual, due to Election Day on Nov. 6. The later start time will accommodate the NBA meeting set for that evening.
The board decided to hold officer elections at the October meeting, now that new members have six months’ experience. Also on the October agenda is Niwot Economic Development Director Catherine McHale, who requested time to discuss the NBA’s 2019 wish-list.
Members also revived an informal discussion from last month about the feasibility of issuing a bond to fund larger capital projects, similar to the original financial arrangement that established the LID in 1992. Money from that bond was used to pay for significant street improvements, and was finally retired in 2007.
“There are some infrastructure needs if you go east along Niwot Road,” member Jay Champion said, adding that the west side parking lot is also a significant capital project. “Those things might be handled by a debt issuance….To me, a meaningful use of the LID revenues would be to service some sort of 10-year vehicle or 15-year vehicle to pay off some of these big infrastructure projects.”
Ruzzin suggested bringing the financing question up at the board’s annual meeting with the Boulder County Commissioners, which is currently scheduled for late October. He also pointed out that there will be a new commissioner in January, as Cindy Domenico will lose her seat to term-limits.
Co-chair Laura Skaggs gave the board an update on the latest activities of the Niwot historic district Design Review Committee, which has been “re-energized as of late.”
The committee recently met with county officials to clarify its role in upcoming development projects within the business district, since there seems to be some confusion. She confirmed that anyone interested in making changes to an existing property should verify zoning and Land Use regulations with the county and then seek guidance from the local group.
“We are much more light touch,” Skaggs said of the review panel, which sets standards for design elements only. “It’s about color palette and things perhaps less consequential than zoning regs and things that we would not be able to communicate successfully or accurately.”
Because there is renewed interest in developing 2nd Avenue, the county is hoping to hold a public meeting later this year with property owners and residents in the Old Town area, especially on the block east of Franklin Street, to discuss concerns around this and other growth issues.
The committee will meet next at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at the Niwot Fire Station.