SRO officer at Turner discussed

By Rudy Hemmann
The Surveyor

The addition of a school resource officer (SRO) to cover Turner Middle School, along with the SRO already assigned to Berthoud High School, was presented as an option to the Berthoud Board of Trustees at Tuesday evening’s meeting.

Town Administrator Mike Hart and Chief of Police Sergeant Jim Anderson of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) made the suggestion to the town board based on “trends” (more drug use among younger age groups) noted by the LCSO in Berthoud and the Northern Front Range region.

An information sheet provided by town staff states the addition of an SRO was discussed with the superintendent of the Thompson R2J School District, Dr. Stan Scheer, who agreed an additional SRO should be added to Berthoud schools.

Quoting from the document, “Dr. Scheer stated that the district would find the funding necessary to pay the district’s proportionate cost of the position, which is approximately $52,000. LCSO already has an officer on the Berthoud force that has been fully trained as an SRO, but reassigning this officer means they will have to hire an additional officer to take his place on active duty.

If the proposal is approved by the trustees it also needs approval of the Larimer County Commissioners and probably also the Thompson School Board.

Currently, the $1-per-transaction fee imposed on medical marijuana (MMJ) sales in Berthoud generates approximately $54,000 per year, which would offset the town’s contribution for half the cost of the new SRO. Staff is proposing the town increase the transaction fee imposed on the sale of MMJ to $2 per transaction to offset the cost of the SRO for the middle school due to the increased frequency of drug-related problems at the school.

Since the contract between LCSO and Berthoud for police services is set for renewal in April 2016, Hart suggested the town enter into a five-year agreement with the LCSO for those same services.

“I want to stress that the relationship the town has with the LCSO is not just a contractual relationship; it’s a partnership, and what we have accomplished to this date has meant an awful lot,” Hart said. “The things we have accomplished together are just phenomenal.”

The trustees took no formal action on the above item, however they each thanked Anderson for the high degree of professionalism demonstrated by the officers under his command.

Formal documents outlining the impact on the 2016 budget concerning the additional SRO, the budgetary impact of a five-year agreement with the LCSO, and increasing the per-transaction fee on the sale of MMJ will be brought forward for action by the board in a future meeting.

The trustees unanimously approved a proposed Preliminary Development Plan(PDP) and Preliminary Plat (PP) for phase one of a project referred to as Bader Farms.

According to the staff report for this item, Bader Farm is a 155-acre development, most of which is located in the northwest quadrant of the intersection of Highway 287 and Larimer County Road (LCR) 17. A relatively small portion of the development is located immediately south of Highway 287. The Bader Farm is currently zoned Planned Unit Development (PUD) however, the zoning may change in the future at the discretion of the applicant. The owner/applicant is the Hillside Commercial Group, Inc.

Town Planner Sarah Chmielak, who introduced the item before the board, stated under the PUD zoning the development was approved to contain a mix of residential and commercial areas.

She stated the request brought before the board is for phase one of the development which consists of 57 acres in the northwest corner of the property. This portion of the development is slated for 172 single-family residences for a gross density of three units per acre. The site will also include two parks totaling 1.75 acres and an additional 5.82 acres of open space.

No commercial development is included in phase one of the development. Commercial portions of the development are located on tracts near LCR 17.

The applicant has disclosed the Bader Farm PUD will likely be merged with the Heron Lakes PUD to make one comprehensive project.

Following the introduction by Chmielak and a brief presentation by Jim Birdsall of The Birdsall Group, representing the owner/applicants, the trustees approved the PDP and PP without further comment.

Following limited discussion the trustees unanimously adopted a resolution approving a service plan for the Heritage Ridge Metropolitan District.

The board heard a “second quarter economic development update” given by the town’s Business Development Manager Walt Elish. He gave a report outlining the challenges faced by town staff in marketing Berthoud to primary employers and high-end retail outlets. Elish stated Berthoud has an ample supply of raw land, but most of the land suitable for use by a primary employer has no buildings. Currently most primary employers are looking for land with a building or buildings in place. He also stated most of the green fields around town, while being close to “shovel ready,” are not quite there yet.

The trustees voted unanimously to accept the first draft of the 2016 budget and then settled in for a presentation of the town’s special revenue funds. Town Accountant Cindy Leach led the trustees through the proposed 2016 budgets of the following funds: Drainage, Park Development, Park Dedication, Public Facilities, Conservation Trust, Larimer County Open Space Tax, Cemetery Endowment, Road Impact Fee and the One Percent Sales Tax.

The trustees approved the following appointments to town volunteer committees and to the planning commission: William (Bill) Gilmore and Christine Celentano were re-appointed to the planning commission, and Anthony Frederick and Allen Owen were re-appointed to the tree advisory committee. Terms of all positions to expire Aug. 31, 2018.