By Shari Phiel
Meeting with Town staff on Tuesday, April 28, the Berthoud Economic Resource Team business attraction subcommittee worked to review and prioritize a list of 22 deliverables provided to the Board of Trustees last week.
Although items included in the list are specifically aimed at attracting new business and primary employers, the benefits realized will apply to existing businesses and residents in Town, and in the general area as well.
Items included in the list are: a compilation of grants Town staff have already applied for, the creation of an incentives package to attract primary employers and retailers, a plan to expand the existing enterprise zone boundary, enhancement of the Town’s Web site, and the pursuit of a joint use agreement with Johnstown.
While other items included on the list can be achieved with little or no financial impact to the Town’s budget ¬— such as meetings between primary employers and the subcommittee — other items carry fairly costly price tags. Chief among these are new master plans for both the water and wastewater systems, along with a drainage master plan and a dry utility master plan.
Public Works Director Tony Huerta said, “As far as a master wastewater plan, or a water plan, we don’t have that in place right now. We have budgeted monies to do a water plan this year and, hopefully, we can do a wastewater plan either next year or in 2011.” Huerta added the estimated cost to create a comprehensive plan for either could run as high as $100,000.
Town Administrator Jim White noted that town staff have been working on updating the existing information on water and wastewater lines and are about “95 percent” complete on both. While this will provide information about the size and types of lines in place, it does not address questions about overall capacity of either system. Huerta noted that both the water and wastewater plants are operating at 65 to 75 percent of capacity at peak demand.
The BERT subcommittee is hoping to use the master plans as a tool to provide necessary information to prospective employers and businesses. Team member and local developer Jim Birdsall said the purpose of asking that question is to understand what the Town is already committed to “so future properties with commitments are protected” during times of growth. The plans would also be used to determine capacity available to prospective employers and new businesses. Birdsall also suggested putting each of the plans out for Request for Proposal to see what the costs may be.
The group is also looking to adopt an incentives package to entice developers, new businesses and primary employers to the area. One idea that was discussed was the possibility of offering to reduce or entirely eliminate raw water usage fees for new employers.
Next up for the BERT group is a meeting with the Governor’s Energy Office in Denver on Thursday, May 7 to discuss solar development. Town staff will also be attending.