Town of Pagosa Springs – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 14 Nov 2019 17:59:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 Youth basketball, arts and crafts, and more offered http://www.pagosasun.com/youth-basketball-arts-and-crafts-and-more-offered/ Sun, 17 Nov 2019 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191228 By Darren Lewis
SUN Columnist
The Recreation Department is currently accepting registration through Dec. 20 for youth basketball ages 9-12.
The cost is $35 and registration may be completed online or at the Ross Aragon Community Center.
Practice will start mid-January, with games beginning in February.
Winter recreation arts and crafts class
Registrations are being accepted through Nov. 22 for an arts and crafts class held at the Community Center.
Registration can be completed at the Community Center.
The class is for ages 9-13 and class size is limited. Classes will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. This class is a three-week session running from Dec. 3 through Dec. 19.
The cost of the class is $25 for the three-week session.
Time 4 Tots registration
Time 4 Tots is a new program offering toddlers ages 2-3 time to socialize and participate in fun hands-on activities. Parents or guardians must be present and involved. We will have singing, music, reading, crafts and plenty of free play.
Classes are available Mondays from 11 a.m. to noon or Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday classes will run Jan. 6, 2020, through Feb. 10, 2020. Tuesday classes will run Jan. 7, 2020, through Feb. 4, 2020. The cost is $20 for the class.
After the Bell program
This is a new after-school program designed for kids ages 9-12 to come to the Community Center gym and participate in different physical educational games. We will be burning off some energy after a long week of school.
The program runs Jan. 10, 2020, through Feb. 7, 2020. The program will be held every Friday from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Community Center.
Also, if interested, bus 17 stops at the Community Center for those elementary students participating in the program.
The cost is $20 for all five Fridays involved. Deadline for registering for this program is Jan. 8, 2020.
Open Gymnastic Gym Time
Open Gymnastic Gym Time is to practice those special skills you are determined to learn or just get in some extra practice time. We will play some fun games and top it off with a handstand contest. There will be supervision, but this is not a structured class.
The open gym is for ages 5 and older. Younger children are allowed with parents.
Open gym will be held Fridays, 5 to 6:30 p.m., Nov. 15 and 22, and Dec. 6 and 13 in the Pagosa Springs Middle School mat room.
The gym is open to children ages 5 and older, with younger children allowed with parent.
Registration/waiver is taken by the instructor at class time. The cost is $5 per session.
Fitness room
The fitness room is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The cost is $2 per day, $10 per month or $80 per year.
Please call with any questions, 264-4151, ext. 232 or 233.

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Cotton’s Hole Park open house planned for public comments http://www.pagosasun.com/cottons-hole-park-open-house-planned-for-public-comments/ Fri, 15 Nov 2019 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191210 By James Dickhoff
Special to The SUN
The Town of Pagosa Springs invites the community to provide comments on future Cotton’s Hole Park improvements.
In 2018, the town purchased lands to begin acquiring the area known as Cotton’s Hole as a formal public town park. This park is located at the east end of Hermosa Street along the river and had historically been used by the public as a park area and to access the San Juan River. However, the area was predominantly private property.
The town has also recently received a State Trails grant to extend the Riverwalk from Town Park heading east along Hermosa Street and through Cotton’s Hole Park. This trail is expected to be constructed next year in 2020.
The town is seeking public input on traffic circulation options for accessing the park area and potential park improvements.
A public comment open house will be hosted on Tuesday, Nov. 19, between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall, located at 551 Hot Springs Blvd. The open house format will allow you to arrive anytime between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. and view display boards, speak with staff and provide your comments. Please plan on joining us to provide your comments on these future pubic park improvements.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-197/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:00:08 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191172 The following meetings are subject to change.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council budget work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta School District Board of Education special meeting. 5 p.m., Pagosa Springs Middle School library, 309 Lewis St.
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center Great Room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board work session. 9 a.m., Pagosa Baking Company, 238 Pagosa St.
Archuleta County Republican Central Committee meeting. Noon, Pagosa Brewing, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Thursday, Nov. 21
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Dec. 3
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Dec. 4-8
Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education notice of gathering. The board will be traveling to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Wednesday, Dec. 4
Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Chamber of Commerce conference room, 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
Monday, Dec. 9
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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Town discusses how to fund service organizations http://www.pagosasun.com/town-discusses-how-to-fund-service-organizations/ Wed, 13 Nov 2019 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190626 As part of its three-hour budget work session on Oct. 30, the Pagosa Springs Town Council again discussed how to fund local service organizations and economic development, among other topics.
For several years, the council has opted to devote 3 percent of its projected sales tax revenue to fund requests from nonprofit service organizations — with $85,500 set aside for 2020.
In 2019, the council decided to do two funding cycles, with each request capped at $10,000, and is carrying both aspects forward to 2020.
For years, council has discussed how to determine what nonprofits are funded in an objective manner, and that discussion continued at last week’s work session.
At the work session, Town Manager Andrea Phillips explained that she and Town Clerk April Hessman came up with an evaluation point system that ranked the requests based on several things: if the request aligns with council’s stated goals and objectives, demonstration of financial need, if the request is serving town residents directly or is located in town, if the funding is for a project or ongoing operational expenses, and prior funding or benefits received from the town (such as land, a lease or fees waived).
Phillips then explained she and Hessman had individually evaluated and gave points to each of the requests the town has received and plugged some funding for each into the budget.
She then asked the council members how they felt about the philosophy of giving something to each nonprofit even though it might dilute the efforts.
Council member Madeline Bergon suggested she would be OK with not giving money to everyone who applies, then informed her fellow council members that she had also come up with a way to rank requests. Bergon’s idea includes separating them into categories, such as those that serve an underserved population, those that are lifestyle-related, which are actively providing services and more.
She also suggested using tax revenues generated by marijuana businesses for education funding.
Council member Mat deGraaf told Bergon he liked the way she separated the requests into categories, and Bergon noted that she liked the rating systems, as well as the idea of different categories of funding.
Other members of the council also liked the rating system, noting that the systematic approach to awarding funding is less subjective and more defensible.
Members of the council also discussed lessening the amount of funding that is set aside for service organizations, but opted to not change the amount for 2020.
The council members ultimately decided to look into using the rating system with the addition of a category defining if the service organization provides a vital community service.
Phillips then suggested each council member score the requests according to the evaluation including the vital service component and send those scores to staff for the scores to be consolidated and averaged.
On Tuesday, Phillips reported to The SUN that, in an effort to be more transparent, instead of each council member submitting his or her scores to town staff prior to the next work session, the council has been instructed to review the applications and bring his or her scores to the next work session, where the scores will be read aloud and averaged.
As conversation continued on Oct. 24, several town council members expressed the desire to keep separate line items in the budget for council’s three ongoing strategic priorities: workforce and affordable housing, early child care and education, and broadband.
Council suggested setting aside $125,000 in economic development funding for projects or funding requests that fall within the three strategic priority categories.
Of that $125,000, $25,000 is set to go to the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation.
The town also has a housing choices fund that is fed by a portion of the fees from vacation rental licensing, with that fund budgeted at $8,000 in 2020.
The council also discussed pulling any service organization requests that relate to the three priorities out of the service organization funding and instead funding those through the appropriate strategic priority funding.
During the same work session, the council discussed how conservative or aggressive sales tax revenue projections should be (currently it is budgeted at 2.75 percent above the 2019 year-end revenue assumption), putting out a request for proposals for new attorney services, how to reward employees and apply compensation increases, and more.
Future budget work
sessions and meetings
The council will have another budget work session on Nov. 14 beginning at 5 p.m. at Town Hall.
That work session is anticipated to touch on service organization funder, the town’s Geothermal Fund, Conservation Trust Fund, Capital Fund, 10-year capital plan, the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District and the Trust/Impact Fee Fund.
Following the next budget work session, council is slated to hold a public hearing on the budget at 5 p.m. on Nov. 21 in the Town Hall council chambers.
Council is anticipated to hold another public hearing and adopt the 2020 budget on Dec. 3.

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Opportunity Zone Prospectus presented at CommunityTalk http://www.pagosasun.com/opportunity-zone-prospectus-presented-at-communitytalk/ Tue, 12 Nov 2019 12:00:16 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190618 Pagosa Housing Partners (PHP) hosted a panel that discussed the federal Opportunity Zone Program and other economic incentives for investing in projects around Pagosa Springs at its monthly CommunityTalk on Oct. 28.
The group also presented the Opportunity Zone Prospectus For The Greater Pagosa Springs Area, which explains the Opportunity Zone and other economic opportunities in the area.
The panel comprised Pagosa Springs Town Manager Andrea Phillips, Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Jo Coulehan and Region 9 Economic Development District Program Manager Heather Otter.
All three have been working on the local Opportunity Zone Program in Pagosa Springs and contributed to the prospectus.
According to an email from Coulehan, Opportunity Zones “provides a federal tax incentive for investors to invest in communities through favorable treatment of reinvested capital gains and forgiveness of tax on new capital gains.”
“For all intents and purposes, it was to say, ‘Let’s take a look at some of the communities that might have missed out on some of the investment and development and redevelopment over the past decade and try to inject some private capital into these areas,” Otter said, explaining Opportunity Zones at the event.
Phillips explained that communities that have Opportunity Zones have bundled that offering with economic incentives of their own, including Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs.
Phillips explained that, earlier this year, the town and Archuleta County developed a Development Incentives Policy Statement and that some of those incentives are featured in the prospectus.
“Property tax reimbursement, sales tax reimbursement, job creation credit[s], cash bonuses for every job created that pays a livable wage and above,” Phillips noted of some of the local incentives.
The town, county, Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation, Region 9 and PHP recently released the Opportunity Zone Prospectus, which details other state and local incentives separate from the Opportunity Zone.
The prospectus includes the following business incentives that can be available for investing in projects around Pagosa Springs:
• Up to $10,000 cash payments per net new job created and maintained.
• Tax exemptions for both business and employee state income taxes.
• Fast track to county and town services.
• Job-creation grants.
Coulehan reported that Pagosa Springs was nominated to submit to Forbes Magazine and the Sorenson institute for consideration in the “Top 20 Opportunity Zone Accelerators” list.
She noted that the list highlights the top 10 Opportunity Zone communities and the top 10 Opportunity Zone investors.
“The exciting part of that is, it puts us in front of a lot of potential investors,” Coulehan said.
Coulehan noted that the community around Pagosa Springs faces some infrastructure challenges, but explained that can be a draw for potential investors.
“What we consider our drawbacks and our challenges are investment opportunities. So, for example, we are struggling with housing as many, many communities in Colorado are, and across the nation, but for investment companies, that’s an opportunity for them,” Coulehan said.
Otter said the “little conversations” locals have with others could lead to developers realizing the opportunity that lies in Pagosa Springs’ Opportunity Zones.
“There may be somebody that’s interested in selling a piece of their property here, [they] probably should find out if that’s in the Opportunity Zone because there may be something that allows them to take those capital gains from that property and combine it with a project they’re interested in,” said Otter, adding, “To me, it’s the little conversations in our area, that when you know more you can do more. You can offer more.”
According to the Opportunity Zone Prospectus, incentives for investing in the Opportunity Zone are:
• No long-term capital gain taxes for an investment held for 10 years.
• Returns from investments made in Opportunity Zones are typically 36 percent higher when compared to an alternative investment with an 8 percent return, according to the Economic Innovation Group.
The full Opportunity Zone Propsectus can be viewed at https://www.scan.org/uploads/2019_Pagosa_Springs_OZ_Prospectu.pdf

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-196/ Thu, 07 Nov 2019 22:00:44 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190608 The following meetings are subject to change.
Thursday, Nov. 7
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Monday, Nov. 11
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Tuesday, Nov. 12
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Republican Women’s meeting. Noon, Boss Hogg’s, 157 Navajo Trail Drive.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Area Tourism Board meeting. 4:30 p.m., Visitor Center, 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
Archuleta School District Board of Education work session and regular meeting. 5 p.m. work session, 6 p.m. regular meeting, Pagosa Springs Middle School library, 309 Lewis St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers,  6:551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Record of the proceedings of the Public Hearing on the Proposed 2020 Budgets of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and the Firemen’s Pension Fund and the regular meeting of the Pagosa Fire Protection District Board of Directors.30 p.m., Station 1, Training Room, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Planning Commission regular meeting. 6 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council budget work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center Great Room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Archuleta County Republican Central Committee meeting. Noon, Pagosa Brewing, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Thursday, Nov. 21
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Dec. 4-8
Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education Notice of Gathering. The board will be traveling to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Wednesday, Dec. 4
Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Chamber of Commerce conference room, 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
Monday, Dec. 9
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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Town discusses pair of development projects at work session http://www.pagosasun.com/town-discusses-pair-of-development-projects-at-work-session/ Thu, 07 Nov 2019 22:00:16 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190685 The Pagosa Springs Town Council discussed two development projects during its Oct. 24 work session — the possible annexation of a development set to include 10 single-family homes and potential incentives for a separate development that is slated to include affordable housing.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Town approves forming urban renewal authority http://www.pagosasun.com/town-approves-forming-urban-renewal-authority/ Thu, 07 Nov 2019 11:59:26 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190544

SUN photo/Randi Pierce
Dozens of area residents attended Tuesday evening’s Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting where the council held a public hearing and later voted 4-3 to create the Pagosa Springs Urban Renewal Authority.

With a 4-3 vote at the end of a three-hour meeting Tuesday, the Pagosa Springs Town Council decided to move forward with the formation of the Pagosa Springs Urban Renewal Authority.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-195/ Thu, 31 Oct 2019 21:00:45 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190216 The following meetings are subject to change.
Monday, Nov. 4
Dispatch Executive Management Board. 9:30 a.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center board room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 5
San Juan Basin Public Health and District Attorney Budget meetings. Noon (includes travel time), Durango County Administration Building, 1101 E. 2nd Ave., Durango.
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Ross Aragon Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 6
Pagosa Peak Open School Board training. 8 a.m., Pagosa Brewing and Grill, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board special meeting. 4:30 p.m., Town Hall conference room, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Thursday, Nov. 7
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Monday, Nov. 11
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Tuesday, Nov. 12
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Republican Women’s meeting. Noon, Boss Hogg’s, 157 Navajo Trail Drive.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta School District Board of Education work session and regular meeting. 5 p.m. work session, 6 p.m. regular meeting, Pagosa Springs Middle School library, 309 Lewis St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Record of the proceedings of the Public Hearing on the Proposed 2020 Budgets of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and the Firemen’s Pension Fund and the regular meeting of the Pagosa Fire Protection District Board of Directors. 6:30 p.m., Station 1, Training Room, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Planning Commission regular meeting. 6 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council budget work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center Great Room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Archuleta County Republican Central Committee meeting. Noon, Pagosa Brewing, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Dec. 4-8
Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education Notice of Gathering. The board will be traveling to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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Town to consider forming urban renewal authority http://www.pagosasun.com/town-to-consider-forming-urban-renewal-authority-2/ Thu, 31 Oct 2019 10:53:46 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=189762 On Nov. 5, the Pagosa Springs Town Council will hold a public hearing as part of its consideration of whether or not to form an urban renewal authority (URA).
The hearing will be part of town council’s regular meeting that evening, which will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center to allow for a larger-than-average crowd.
At that meeting, a petition to form a URA that has been signed by registered electors of the town will be presented to council.
“We are encouraging everyone who has an opinion for or against the matter, or who just want more information, to attend,” Town Manager Andrea Phillips told The SUN in an email on Oct. 8.
David Dronet, managing principal of The Springs Resort and Spa, submitted a petition to the town the afternoon of Oct. 2, Phillips explained previously.
That petition has 31 signatures, with a minimum of 25 registered electors of the town required by state statute “to consider whether there is a need to form the URA,” Phillips explained.
“At this time, Council is only being asked to consider the petition to form an Urban Renewal Authority, not to adopt any specific area plan,” Phillips wrote.
What is a URA and what is its function?
URAs, according to an August Colorado Municipal League (CML) publication on the topic, are “independent single-purpose statutory bodies ‘corporate and politic’ authorized to carry out urban renewal projects and regional tourism projects under the Colorado Urban Renewal Law …”
URAs and urban renewal laws “allow municipal governments to engage in urban renewal projects as a means to improve blighted areas,” according to a Colorado Legislative Council Staff issue brief by Katie Ruedebusch.
Slum and blight conditions, that document explains, include:
• Deteriorating structures and deteriorating site improvements;
• Faulty street or lot layout;
• Unsanitary or unsafe conditions;
• Inadequate public facilities;
• Code violations; or
• Other distresses concerning property that are found within Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 31-25-103(2).
“Through planning and public improvements, urban renewal projects encourage the development of housing, mixed use, office parks, and industrial or retail land to revitalize areas,” the document explains.
If formed, a URA would have the same boundaries as the town, with any potential plans accepted by that URA having more specific, project-related boundaries.
“According to the Department of Local Affairs, there are urban renewal authorities … in 61 Colorado municipalities (one URA per municipality) as of the date of this publication,” the CML publication explains.
The powers of URAs are set out in CRS 31-25-105 and include, but are not limited to, undertaking urban renewal projects (including executing contracts and other documents), provide for or dedicate property for public facilities and improvements, acquire property, invest funds, borrow money and more.
How is a URA formed?
URAs are initiated by at least 25 registered voters signing a petition.
“Before approving the establishment of the Authority, the Town Council must make several findings, including that at least one or more slum or blighted areas exist within the Town, and that the development or redevelopment of the area is necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, morals or welfare of the residents of the municipality,” Phillips wrote.
After a public hearing on the petition, the governing body would adopt a resolution authorizing a URA, the CML publication explains.
The commissioners serving on the URA board would then have to sign and file a certificate about the organization of the URA with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the document indicates.
Who would serve on a URA board?
“If they do authorize forming the Authority, Council will need to appoint a board of commissioners to govern the Authority and carry out its statutory duties,” Phillips wrote in the email, explaining that she would be informing the taxing entities of the petition and “letting them know that they may want to consider making an appointment if it is formed.”
The CML publication indicates that the governing body can designate itself as the authority, meaning the town council would also sit on the board.
In that case, the publication explains, “one additional commissioner each may be appointed by the county commissioners in the county or counties where the municipality is located, from the collective elected boards of special districts, and from the relevant elected school district boards of education that levy property taxes within the ‘boundaries of the urban renewal authority area,’ which is an undefined term that can be interpreted to mean the URA’s area of operation (the municipal limits) or within the boundaries of a proposed or existing urban renewal plan area.”
State statute also allows for a separate appointed board of 13 commissioners, including one appointed by the county commissioners, one from the collective boards of special districts and one from the school district board of education.
The remaining 10 members, with agreement of the municipal governing body, would be appointed by the mayor.
The CML publication notes that the Colorado Sunshine Act would apply to the URA board.
How are projects
determined? How are they funded?
Once formed, the URA can take on and carry out urban renewal plans in specifically described urban renewal areas, with each plan area being approved individually.
“Before an urban renewal plan for a urban renewal area can be approved, the governing body must find the area to be a slum area or blighted area (or both) as defined in the act.
While URA projects can be financed in a number of ways, the primary method of financing urban renewal projects is tax-increment financing (TIF).
A TIF would allow a project’s developers to be reimbursed for the costs of constructing public infrastructure through tax revenues generated on the site.
“The revenue produced by the levy of taxing entities against the increase in assessed valuation of real and personal property resulting from taxable valuation increases in the urban renewal area and revenue from municipal sales tax growth that occurs in that area are the sources of TIF revenue. The resulting revenue is paid into a special fund to be used by the URA for payment of urban renewal project debt obligations for a period not to exceed 25 years,” the CML publication notes.
The Town of Pagosa Springs does not have a municipal sales tax.
Using other forms of revenue can be negotiated.
The URA would have to negotiate with taxing entities regarding the allocation of property tax increment funds.

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