Investment Strategies Discussion
Town Council asked staff to provide information regarding the Town’s investment strategy, in order to facilitate the discussion about how, and in which industries, Town funds are invested. The Town of Frisco makes strategic and informed investments with Town funds by utilizing the following criteria for investment: safety, liquidity, and yield. The primary objective of investing public funds is to preserve capital and protect investment principal through the criteria of safety, liquidity and yield, using the standard of caution as defined by Colorado Revised Statutes.
The Town follows State statutes regarding eligible investments for public funds, which allows 11 eligible investment holdings. The Town’s investment policy, however, is even more restrictive, only allowing nine (9) eligible holdings. Of those nine (9) holdings, the Town has investments in three (3) types of holdings: local government investment pools – 78%, certificates of deposit (CDs) – 18%, and US treasuries/agencies – 4%. As of 1/31/2021, the Town’s investments total $27.6M, and none of these investments have holdings in the oil and gas industry.
Governmental entities are exploring an alternative strategy that addresses environmental, social, and governance standards, known commonly as ESG. While investments with a focus on ESG are currently limited, it is likely that opportunities will increase over time, allowing the Town to invest in holdings that maintain safety, liquidity and yield, as well as ESG standards. Incorporating ESG into the Town’s investment policy would align with Frisco’s Community Plan to lead by example on efforts to advance community sustainability and the region’s ability to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Council directed staff to amend the Town’s Investment Policy to include ESG criteria as a 4th criteria, so long as the financial criteria of safety, liquidity, and yield are not compromised. This amendment will be brought back to Council as a consent item on the agenda for formal approval.
Strategic Events Discussion
As the pandemic forced the cancelation of many events in 2020 and 2021, Council wished to use the opportunity to thoughtfully consider which events would best fit their vision for Frisco and meet Council’s goals going forward. During visioning discussions facilitated by Insights Collective on January 26, 2021 and February 11, 2021, Town Council considered Frisco’s future and consistently cited the desire to preserve the authentic neighborhood feel of Frisco, while offering events and outdoor opportunities, which serve locals well and embody the Town’s values around outdoor pursuits, youth, inclusion, and arts and culture.
Staff presented information about Frisco events, including:
- How Staff categorizes events – Historically, events been categorized as civic/community events, character/culture events, and/or signature/legacy events, noting that events can fit into more than one category.
- The decision making processes behind holding, canceling, or turning prospective events away – such as enhancing the quality of life for residents, showcasing the Town’s assets, providing intimate experiences, and/or specifically for a significant economic component to positively impact local lodging, restaurant, and retail businesses. Events are evaluated annually by staff and included in the budget process.
- An analysis of ROI, including, but going beyond, attendance numbers, revenue generated, or how much media coverage received, as these can be irrelevant metrics and/or an oversimplification that misses the more complex and intangible impacts of an event, including quality of life and experience.
- Benefits to the community- When Town staff considers or evaluates an event, they consider a variety of factors including the impact on residents and local businesses, meaningful and authentic experiences, the economic impact on local businesses, and depending on the event, money raised for local non-profits. Most of the Town’s events benefit non-profits, as Town Council has long had a goal to support residents through non-profits and to provide non-profits with platforms and opportunities to fundraise.
Council provided feedback that while generally happy with the state of Town events and the processes behind them, Council would like to discuss how to incorporate more art into events, as well as creating more art-centered events. Council also discussed ideas about how to expand events into more areas throughout Town to showcase different areas of Town. Council found that more discussion will be necessary surrounding the Frisco BBQ, citing the impacts on Main Street businesses, the cost to the Town and resources involved, and impacts on the environment. Council would like to reassess how the event benefits the community and local businesses and supports Council’s vision for the Town. Council directed staff to explore options for gathering more information on the true costs, impacts, and benefits for this event to have a better informed discussion in the future.
This year will continue to be a year of change, as internationally, nationally, and in the State of Colorado, there is universally understood reality that large-scale events will not be able to be held until 2022. Even at Level Green – Protect Our Neighbors on the Colorado COVID dial (three levels away from Summit’s current Level Orange) outdoor events may only be conducted at 50% capacity, not to exceed 500 people per designated activity or area. This means that the Colorado BBQ Challenge, July 4th Celebrations, and Fall Fest will likely not be able to be held this summer.
Online Sales Tax- First Reading, Ordinance 21-04, The Town of Frisco’s Participation in the State’s Simplified Tax Remittance System
Town Council approved on first reading Ordinance 21-04, authorizing the Town of Frisco to participate in the Sales & Use Tax System (SUTS) to provide online retailers and marketplace facilitators a portal to report and remit sales taxes to the Town of Frisco.
The State of Colorado has long grappled with the complexities of Colorado’s sales tax landscape. A sales and use tax simplification task force was originally created in 2017 to find ways to streamline the manner in which sales and use tax is collected and remitted in Colorado. In 2019, the tax force advocated for, and the General Assembly passed, SB19-006, which required the Colorado Department of Revenue and Office of Information Technology to collaborate to deliver the SUTS system, a single web portal where businesses could both look up sales and use tax information by entity and file and remit to all Colorado jurisdictions at once.
While some online retailers remit sales taxes to the Town currently, there are a great many of these retailers who do not file and remit for sales to Town of Frisco residents. This system would allow remote sellers to become compliant by filing and remitting through the web portal. Participation in this system would increase sales tax revenues to the Town.
In order for the Town to participate in this system, a code change is required to eliminate the need for a separate business license for sellers without a physical presence within the Town, and Ordinance 21-04 approved by Council on first reading made these changes to the code as required. Retailers with a physical presence within the Town would continue to file and remit sales tax directly to the Town and continue to be required to obtain a business license.
Rezoning from the Light Industrial (LI) Zoning District to the Mixed-Use (MU) Zoning District at 68 School Road (southeast corner of Summit Boulevard and School Road)
Town Council passed on second reading Ordinance 21-03, which changes the site at 68 School Road from light industrial use to mixed use, in order to enable planning and construction of residential workforce units by Centura Health.
The property is owned by Centura Health and is the site of the Summit Vista Professional Building, which is next to the new Frisco Medical Office Building. Centura plans to demolish the now vacant Summit Vista Professional Building and construct workforce residential units. The current zoning for light industrial district does not allow for such residential development so rezoning is necessary.
The Planning Commission held a preliminary public hearing regarding this application on January 7, 2021. There was consensus among the Commissioners that the current LI zoning designations and some of the land uses allowed by that district are no longer desirable or appropriate for this site. Based on preliminary findings, on January 21, 2021, the Planning Commission forwarded to the Town Council a recommendation of approval for the proposed rezoning. This decision supports the Council’s strategic goal of supporting an inclusive community with diverse housing options.
General Discussion / Action on COVID-19 Response
COVID- 19 Case Metrics
Staff provided an update on COVID-19 metrics in Summit County. As of Tuesday, February 23, Summit County case numbers had been sitting at Level Yellow on the Colorado COVID Dial for six days in a row. If the numbers stay in Yellow for at least seven days, then Summit County could begin operating in Level Yellow as soon as Thursday, February 25 with all restaurants, personal service, and personal fitness providers operating indoors at 50% capacity or 50 people per room, whichever is less, provided that patrons can maintain six feet of distance from each other. 5 Star businesses will not be able to operate at Level Blue capacities until 70% of people over 70 years of age have been vaccinated in the State of Colorado.
Complete Summit County case data may be found on Summit County Government’s website.
More information on the 5 Star program for businesses may be found here.
Business Grant Programs Update
During the February 9, 2021 Town Council meeting, Council approved an amendment to the resolution that created the Business Assistance Grant Program to allow businesses that opened in 2020 to apply for a Frisco General Business Assistance Grant. Council also extended the deadline to apply for both the Frisco General Business Assistance Grant and the Innovation Grant to March 31, 2021.
So far the Town has granted $215,000 in General Business Assistance funds and $103,000 in Innovation Grant funds. Frisco businesses have also received a total of $93,000 in State of Colorado funds from the Colorado Small Business Relief Grant Program administered by the Towns and Summit County in January/February.
For more information on the Town of Frisco Business Assistance Program, and to apply, visit FriscoGov.com.