Oct. 20 Council update: additional small business grants approved; IREA franchise agreement moves forward; Transit Feasibility Study finalized
A discussion regarding potential additional grants to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a franchise agreement with IREA and the Transit Feasibility Study were all topics on Town Council’s Oct. 20 meeting agenda.
Here’s a closer look at those items:
- Additional COVID-19 Small Business Support Grants awarded – At the Oct. 20 meeting, Town Council awarded an additional $10,000 in grants to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants were provided to eligible businesses that could provide documentation of business interruptions – including revenue losses of at least $5,000 – between May 1 and Aug. 31, 2020, when compared to the same period in 2019.
While awarding those grants, Council also approved an appeals period for all businesses with previously denied grants, with an emphasis on obtaining information about business closures and any teleservices provided.
Town funding of the grant program is anticipated to be reimbursed under the federal CARES Act.
- IREA franchise agreement moves forward – Town Council decided to move forward with a franchise agreement between the Town and Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA). The agreement was renewed in 2010 for a 10-year term that is set to expire at the end of the year. Town Council heard a proposal to renew the agreement for another 10-year term.
The Town and other municipalities require franchise agreements for utility and cable companies to use public rights of way to provide service to customers. These agreements outline requirements and fees for using the rights of way, which are properties the Town holds to maintain roads, trails, drainageways and other public infrastructure. The first reading of an ordinance approving the agreement will be on the Nov. 3 meeting agenda.
The proposed agreement would keep the franchise fee, which is passed through to customers, consistent for another 10 years. The only substantial changes aim to improve the Town’s service response from IREA when experiencing electrical issues, including those involving traffic signals.
- Transit Feasibility Study approved – Town Council reviewed and approved the Castle Rock Transit Feasibility Study. The study began in 2019 to identify transit needs and assess the feasibility of different transit service models that would best serve the Town. Four primary transit needs were identified: to serve vulnerable populations; provide regional connectivity; enhance economic stability; and support population growth.
Three transit models were determined to be feasible options: point-to-point on-demand (riders would request a ride and be picked up and dropped off at their destination within Town); local microtransit service (riders would request a ride via a smartphone app and be picked up and dropped off at “virtual stops” a short distance from their destination); and service to and from the RidgeGate RTD station.
It’s important to note, no additional funding is currently identified for transit services in the Town’s 2021 Budget or five-year financial plan. Additional transit service funding would need to be prioritized, along with roadway expansion and maintenance needs, in future budget discussions. More information is available at CRgov.com/TransitStudy.
Also on the agenda, Town Council recognized the 2020 graduating class of the Your Town Academy program. This year, a class of 20 residents and business owners completed an eight-week program aimed at increasing government transparency and community awareness about Town operations.
Council also approved a construction contract with Golden Triangle Construction Inc. for the Castle Rock Water Administration and Customer Service Building. This project had been deferred due to pandemic-related financial concerns. And, Town Council directed staff to proceed with developing an extraterritorial services agreement with Bell Mountain Ranch Metropolitan District for consideration by Council at a future meeting. If approved by Council, the agreement would allow Castle Rock Water to provide water service to 321 single-family lots in unincorporated Douglas County, known as Bell Mountain Ranch.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m. Visit CRgov.com/CouncilComments between Oct. 29 and Nov. 3 to provide written feedback, or to sign up to speak via videoconference during the meeting. The meeting will be available live at CRgov.com/Nov3Council. In-person attendance will also be available.