By Shari Phiel
Less than a month after the Berthoud Board of Trustees voted to approve increasing the number of members on the Berthoud Economic Resource Team to 12 voting members and five ex-officio members, the group is looking to expand their numbers once again.
During the team’s monthly meeting, held at Town Hall on Monday, June 9, BERT chair Becky Justice Hemman announced that three more local residents have come forward asking to be added to the “voting” members.
While it is clear that everyone involved with the group, voting member or not, supports the idea of having as many individuals involved as possible, the ability to continue increasing the number of members was questioned.
Town Administrator Jim White noted the request would have to go before the board for approval, a public hearing would need to be held and the existing ordinance amended. White also cautioned the trustees may limit the number of members for a set period of time, noting during the last change “there was discussion among several board members — some didn’t want it to go higher, some did and some didn’t care either way.” He went on to add, “At what point do we say, ‘Okay, we’re not going to change this every two weeks,’ and just set a time, at least a period of time to be continued for another review in a year or something like that.
Local business owner and BERT vice-chair Scott Banzhaf suggested having a pool of alternates that would be able to fill in should a voting member be absent, which would help ensure a full voting membership for each meeting. “It also gives us a chance for people to feel more attached, to participate.”
Hemman wasn’t sure that would be an acceptable alternative for everyone looking to join the team. She noted, “Two of the three candidates expressed the feeling that if they were going to volunteer and they were going to spend the amount of time they would spend, that they would want to be a voting member.”
In other news, BERT continues to look into expanding Berthoud’s Enterprise Zone. The subject is currently on the agenda for discussion at the June 16 Board of Trustees meeting. Administrator White noted that recent developments at the state level may negatively affect the Town’s ability to expand the existing EZ, which will be discussed with Lew Wymisner, Enterprise Zone administrator for Larimer County during the meeting.
Following up on last month’s business appreciation breakfast, the group will be sending thank you letters to several hundred businesses in the area. With costs for the breakfast running over by nearly double the original estimated expense and the group already being over budget for marketing efforts, White asked the group develop and follow a regular process for requesting funds or payments. One suggestion from Town Clerk Mary Cowdin was to send the thank you to all of the businesses in Berthoud, not just those attending the breakfast, said Hemman. Lisa Underhill, administrative assistant for the Town, has been working to update the list.
“I’ve tracked all the ones that came back,” said Underhill, referring to the original mailing for the appreciation breakfast. Underhill also noted that the expense for another mailing goes beyond the costs for postage, “It’s time, it’s letterhead, envelopes,” along with costs for printing. Berthoud Inn and Events owner Mark Chaffee, along with Banzhaf, offered to offset some of the postage costs as well.
While discussing which businesses on the updated list should be included in the mailing, it was suggested that smaller business with just one employee wouldn’t need to be included. “I think we want to pare that down,” said Banzhaf. “I don’t believe we need to send it out to the Mary Kay businesses,” adding that would cut the list down considerably.”
BERT continues to look into expanding Berthoud’s Enterprise Zone. The subject is currently on the agenda for discussion at the June 16 Board of Trustees meeting. Administrator White noted that recent developments at the state level may negatively affect the Town’s ability to expand the existing EZ, which will be discussed with Lew Wymisner, Enterprise Zone administrator for Larimer County.