Central City Council seeks to raise device fees at casinos

Discussing Business Tax City Manager Daniel Miera explains the need for increased device fees for casinos. PHOTO BY PATRICE LEBLANC

Mayor Jeremy Fey called the Central City Council meeting at 7:12 p.m. on August 16, 2022. Attending were Mayor Fey, Mayor Pro Tem Judy Laratta, Alderman Jeff Aiken, Alderman Kara Tinucci, Alderman Jill Story.

Consent Agenda: Resolution No. 20-31 awards work for the Rotomill and Overlay 2022 projects to Straight Line Sawcutting Inc. and authorizes the City Manager to execute the construction contract. Resolution No. 22-32 awards work for the 2022 Earthwork Project to Fasick Concrete Inc. and authorizes the General Manager to perform the construction contract. Resolution #22-33 awards work for the 2022 Moriarty Street Railing Installation Project to Ideal Fencing Corporation LLC and authorizes the City Manager to perform the construction contract. Resolution #22-34 approves a revocable monthly lease agreement with Companies E and B for the commercial use of a portion of the Visitor Center property located at 103 Eureka Street. All resolutions were approved unanimously.

Downtown Promise Program: Ashley Blondo applied for $5,000 to continue her education at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and was a beneficiary of the program last year. Ashley is studying psychology and philosophy with a minor in communications. She would like to become a therapist and work with children with communication disorders. Finance Director Abagail Robbins informed the board that all money for the program had been spent and more money would need to be allocated to award the scholarship. The Board voted to increase the budget for the Promise program and awarded the scholarship to Ms. Blondo.

Resolution No. 22-30issues a contract change order with A-1 Chipseal for the Cape Seal project. Public Works Director Sam Hoover told Council that the company had carried out additional work due to an accounting error by City staff and should be compensated for the work. Mayor Fey wanted to wait to vote until they could hear from the company. Mayor Pro Tem Laratta asked if Hoover thought A-1 Chipseal was a good company and he vouched for the responsibility they displayed in the oil spill incident in July. Alderman Story was in favor of awarding the money but wanted A-1 Chipseal to clarify their mistakes. Attorney Marcus McAskin pointed out that A-1 Chipseal had extended its warranty from two to three years. However, this was not indicated in the change order. McAskin recommended changing the resolution to include the warranty. Council amended the resolution and it passed 4-1 with Mayor Fey voting no.

Ordinance No. 22-07 submit a ballot in the November 8, 2022 general election regarding the imposition of a business tax on gaming devices. City Manager Daniel Miera explained the need for increased device fees in due to the resulting lack of adjustment and stagnation in fee amounts, as well as annual inflation and the declining purchasing power of the US dollar which continues to negatively affect the city budget. Miera explained that without an increase, the City will not be able to continue providing current service levels. The Council would like to hear from the casino owners at second reading. The order was amended to include a fee of $1,581 per device, but not to exceed $1,665. Council has approved the ordinance and will proceed to a second reading on September 6, 2022.

Board Comments: Mayor Pro Tem Laratta would like to see “Welcome to Central City” signs on the Scarlet Building and the Century Casino Building. Alderman Tinucci thanked the staff for their work on Lou Bunch Day and thought it was a success. Alderman Story said Lou Bunch was his favorite in Central City and had a great time. Story announced that she would like to start the Clara Brown Society as a non-profit organization that would help others in the area and is looking for people to get involved. Mayor Fey said he had a meeting about developing a creative arts district for the area and encouraged anyone to contact him who would like to get involved. Fey commented on the recent incident in the Gilpin School District, where the school was closed due to a threat from a social media post. He thanked the sheriff’s office for their judgment in investigating the post and thanked the Gilpin School District for their quick message to parents. Fey added that her heart also goes out to the kid who made the post and her family.

Council voted to enter executive session at 8:52 p.m.

The next City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on September 6, 2022, at Central City Hall, 141 Nevada Street or online. Information can be found on the Central City website centralcity. colorado.gov/meetings.

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