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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Berthoud Economic Resource Team Meeting

The Berthoud Economic Resource Team (BERT) met at the Berthoud Town Hall on Monday evening.

The First item of business was a report by Deputy Town Clerk Linda Higuera on the progress in developing the new web site for the town and economic development. The goal is to have a seamless joining of the two parts of the web site so that it will make the best presentation to the outside world.

Higuera said that the contract has been signed and she has attended training. She was pleased that much of the content from the previous site could be transferred without having to be recreated. She was confident that the site would be ready by the end of April.

Higuera also asked the committee for minutes of the meetings. The committee has no secretary and no one is taking minutes. Justice-Hemmann asked if the recording that they had given her was adequate and Higuera responded that it was a problem as she did not recognize voices. She also pointed out that minutes are not a transcript of the meeting but are a list of the actions taken. She said she had to have the minutes on file.

BERT Chair, Mark Chaffee, asked if the committee would be able to see the product before it went live. Higuera said that only the text has been put in place and that they were working on the style, but that it might be far enough along for a demo at the April BERT meeting.

Mina Cox, chair of the Business Attraction Committee, told the membership that her committee had decided to discontinue meeting. “For all purposes, BAC is disbanded at this point,” she said. Citing  the present economic conditions in which companies are looking for buildings, not looking to build, and the town’s effectiveness in accomplishing many of the things the committee was doing, the committee felt they should step back at this time. She added that the committee could help the other BERT committees.

Trustee Buckingham expressed disappointment and in the ensuing discussion, the consensus was that the committee could resume when conditions were appropriate.

Town Administrator Michael Hart then introduced Town Planner Tim Katers to brief on what the town was working on, pointing out that the town had over twenty properties where BERT was looking at only four. This engendered discussion about Bert’s focus, which was described as looking for primary employers and did not include retail and residential building sites.

The Parkway Plaza property at the northwest corner of the County Road 8, US Highway 287 intersection, was an example. Hart said the developer is ready for Final Plat Development approval and wants to attract business. BERT member Hemmann responded to Hart that BERT had talked to the developer and he did not want to be included in BERTs planning.

Katers said that Sue Bowles and Bob Barkeen have been working on a full listing for all development projects and it should be completed in the next two weeks.

Other major projects his department is working on is an overhaul of the building code. Both the zoning and design standard need intensive work and staff is hoping for a June adoption of the revised code. He stated that defining density is a big issue that needs to be resolved.

He has also been working with the Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PORT) committee to bring the PORT plan up to date. Some things need to be defined. “What does it mean to have open space,” he said.

He announced that the town has issued a contract for the renovation of the police department building, the cost being covered by a Historic Preservation Grant. The town has applied for a second grant for assessment of the museum property.

The remainder of the meeting was spent discussing the business appreciation breakfast and possible “expo,” now scheduled for May 1.

The town has pledged a maximum of $2,000 for the event, so the committee needs to find more sources of revenue. The event will be held at Brookside Gardens and Larry Bebo has discounted the price from the normal $4,500 to $1,000 for use of the facility.

The committee is looking for several major sponsors to help fund the event. Justice-Hemmann said she had left messages with several potential sources on Friday, but had not yet heard back from any of them .

The committee would like to offer a place for local businesses to set up a display to promote their business as part of the breakfast, hence the “expo.” Town staff has identified 444 businesses in the area that can be invited.

When someone suggested that the whole town be invited to the affair, administrator Hart quickly made the point that there was not enough money to pay for that. Chairman Chaffee left the group with the message that they need to raise money to make this happen.

See more at Berthoud Town Forum

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