Town hires PR company to polish image

By Rudy Hemmann
The Surveyor

The Berthoud Board of Trustees moved through a relatively heavy agenda with ease Tuesday evening.

After viewing a Power Point presentation by Claire Thomas, a principal and founder of Slate Communications, and Ryan Burke, the creative director of the firm, the trustees unanimously approved a professional services agreement between the town and Slate Communications. The agreement authorizes the firm to act as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the town.

The approval by the board authorizes Walt Elish, Berthoud’s new business development manager, to sign the agreement on the town’s behalf.

According to the copy of the agreement presented to the trustees for their review, Elish is designated as the town representative “for the purpose of administering, coordinating, and approving the work performed by the contractor under the agreement.”

In their presentation, Thomas and Burke outlined the services they propose to provide to the town. Services to be provided include: a monthly community newsletter; news releases; updates to the website; economic development marketing materials, both digital and hard copy; full integration between the town website and all social media; communications with news organizations; development of a strategic communications plan.

According to the agreement, Slate Communications will receive “$1,500 per month through 2014 (prorated for the month of October) to create, write and edit the town’s newsletter, news releases, and website updates.” Slate will be compensated another $7,500 to research, write, and deliver a yearlong strategic communications plan, with town staff approval, by Dec. 30. The firm will get a raise in 2015 to $3,000 per month.

The trustees approved a $30,000 supplemental budget request by staff to be used as matching funds for a $310,000 natural disaster grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

An information sheet provided to the trustees states, “The grant is to help provide funding for mitigation measures due to the September 2013 flood. The measures provided for in the grant application all occur at the town’s wastewater facility, and include: construction of a new head works building, construction of a secondary access road (to the wastewater facility), and installation of a secondary power supply to the treatment plant.”

The document went on to explain that the $30,000 in matching funds required was not anticipated in the 2014 budget, which is the reason for the supplemental request.

At a point much later in the meeting the trustees revisited the issue and also authorized the town administrator to initiate contracts with two firms already on site, JVA Consulting Engineers and Fischer Construction, thus allowing those firms to proceed with the wastewater facility work. Town Engineer Stephanie Brothers assured the board both firms were giving the town a “great deal” in their estimates for completing the project.

Mayor David Gregg opened two public hearings, one for the annexation and rezone of a property at the intersection of Interstate 25 and Highway 56, which is known locally as the Hart Farm property. The property had previously been annexed to Johnstown. The severing of the property from Johnstown and its annexation by Berthoud have been extensively reported on in past issues of the Surveyor.

The other public hearing came about due to a rezone request by the owner of a pair of properties referred to in the staff report as Lot 1 and Lot 2, Block One, of the Meyers Subdivision. The properties are both located west of First Street within the first one-quarter mile south of LCR 12.

The lots, each of which are 1.6 acres in size, were annexed to the town in 2008 and have been zoned T-Transitional since that time. The current owner, through a representative, Bruce Campbell of Realtec Commercial Real Estate of Loveland, indicated they had a buyer interested in one of the properties, and the zoning needed to be M-2 Industrial District to accommodate the intended use.

Designated land uses allowed under M-2 zoning include: administrative offices, research facilities, mini storage facilities, recreational vehicle and camper storage, equipment rental, farm implement and heavy equipment sales, and retail supply yards with outdoor storage.

Ordinances adopting the above changes in annexation status and land use were unanimously approved by the board.

The trustees approved a resolution finding substantial compliance with state statutes for the Heron Pointe annexation and established Dec. 9 as the public hearing date for that annexation. The property is located on the south side of Larimer County Road (LCR) 14 (Forty-second Street southwest) and west of LCR 15H. The property is bisected by LCR 17 (Taft Avenue) and is approximately 90.5 acres.

The board affirmed a decision by the Berthoud Community Library District Board to appoint town resident Lorna Greene to the library district board. Her term is to end Dec. 31, 2018.

The trustees also made four appointments to town boards and commissions. Brian Young was appointed and John Goreski was reappointed to the tree advisory committee; Tim Hardy was appointed to the planning commission; and J. Signe Snortland was appointed to the historic preservation advisory committee. All votes were unanimous, with terms to expire Aug. 31, 2017.

The board voted unanimously to accept the initial draft of the 2015 budget and established Nov. 18, 2014 as the date for a public hearing regarding the 2015 budget.