Dorian Ryan opened the Citizens First meeting on Saturday announcing a bad news-good news message; she said that that only three candidates had filed for the three vacancies on the town board. The good news was that all were at the meeting.
She introduced incumbent Dick Shepard who explained why he decided to seek another term on the board. He said, “Being a trustee is a large personal commitment and takes a great deal of time.” He had been thinking about running since November and Town Administrator Hart had made an impression on him. “He is a good fit for Berthoud, he has the talents we need,” said Shepard, citing that as a prime reason to continue. He said he tries to decide what is best for all of Berthoud and votes from the heart. He went on to explain some the issues facing the town and his motion to delay action on the Excel franchise question.
Next was Dave Skiles, presently serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission. “I have hope and ambition to contribute insight into what we can do,” he said. He wants to preserve and conserve what Berthoud has. “But” he said, “We need vision to improve on what Berthoud has today.”
The third candidate to speak was long time resident and business owner, Tom Jones. Jones described growing up in Berthoud and his initial negative reaction to the changes he saw occurring. He said he finally realized that all these new people were an asset not a detriment. ‘I would promote managed growth,” he said. He pointed out his involvement in organizations like Berthoud Arts and Humanities (BAHA) and Habitat for Humanity, which do good things for the town. “I’m here for the people in general.” He said in closing.
Ryan then asked for a vote on modifying one of the groups stated goals. Under supporting town employees, the opposing of letting staff go was one of the precepts. Ryan explained that she had come to the realization that the town’s personnel issues “are not our business.” Striking the passage was approved.
Judy Lehn then introduced a draft resolution on residency requirements for serving on town advisory committees.
This amendment would require a volunteer to have a Town of Berthoud primary residence for a minimum one year, within the Town of Berthoud limits, to be eligible to serve on or be appointed to an Advisory Board, Commission or Committee, with the exception for up to two rural appointees residing in the rural 80513 area code per board/commission/committee.
She explained that the issue would first be brought before the Town Board. Depending on the outcome of that procedure, the resolution could be placed on the November ballot.
This proposal brought a lively discussion from the floor. Mayor Patterson spoke against the requirement, using John Goreski, Chair of the Tree Board as an example, saying we don’t want to lose him. Goreski is serving as the one rural representative on that committee. Goreski is also the Rural Representative on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Most boards and commissions advising the town board already have a residency requirement and limit the number non-residents to one, described as a “Rural Representative.” The Rural Representative is a non-voting position on these boards.
Mark Chaffee, Chair of the Berthoud Economic Resource Team, also spoke against the proposal. He said we should seek talent wherever we can find it.
Larry Bebo carried Chaffee’s thoughts somewhat further. “I’m a stake holder in Berthoud,” he said. “I own a business here and spend more time in town than some residents.” Saying the he felt he should not be excluded because he does not reside in town (he does reside in the 80513 zip code) Bebo said he would remove residency requirements for all boards, including the town board.
Trustee Shepard, trying to find middle ground, suggested the Berthoud Fire Protection District boundaries rather than the 80513 zip code.
It would appear that the Citizens First proposal would allow more voice by non-residents than the current standards in use by the town. Several people expressed surprise that the Rural Representative had no vote, indicating a lack of knowledge about the structure of town government.
Ryan concluded the meeting with an announcement of an event to take place at the historic Waggener home. Art in the Garden will be a joint fund raising event by BAHA and Citizens First. The event will bring “Fine Art” to the lawns at the Waggener house. The groups will give preference to Berthoud Artists. The event be held the day following Berthoud Day, the venue will include food and possibly a wine tasting in the price of admission.
The group also outlined plans for other events including a bus tour of local wineries and a plan for adult Halloween festivities.