Town News

Catchup with Council, February 14, 2023 – Supporting crucial community services, Visitor Information Center remodel update, recycling ordinance update, adopting the Trails and Pathways Plan, financing Granite Park, Complete Streets update

FIRC/Building Hope Sol Center Update

Representative from two local nonprofits, Building Hope and the Family Intercultural and Resources Center (FIRC), asked Town Council for $100,000 towards the construction of the Sol Center nonprofit campus, to be located at the Alta Verde workforce neighborhood in Breckenridge. The 18,150 square foot building will house a community food market, thrift store, offices for FIRC and Building Hope staff, and meeting space for community partners.

The new campus will better serve the community by increasing and encouraging access to mental health and basic needs services, and reducing the stigma often associated with seeking help. In 2022, 1 in 3 Summit County residents (10,000 residents) used FIRC and Building Hope services in 2022. The two organizations estimate that combining their services and operations will result in a cost savings of $200,000 annually, resources that will go directly back into the community via services and assistance.

The funding campaign has reached $11M out of the estimated $11.9M construction costs, with a significant portion of those funds coming from the nonprofits themselves. Final design plans for the Sol Center were submitted to the Town of Breckenridge by the end of August 2022, with construction groundbreaking planned for Spring 2023. Town Council thanked FIRC and Building Hope staff for the vital services that they provide in Summit County and directed Town staff to return with a budget amendment providing $100,000 in support towards the construction of the Sol Center.

Summit County Preschool Presentation

Staff and board member parents from the Summit County Preschool presented an operational update to Town Council and asked Council to further support the preschool with a grant of $80,000 for capital improvements to the facility in 2023 that would preserve and enhance the quality and safety of the school environment.

Summit County Preschool has been serving Summit County since 1974, and with a level 4 (out of 5) rating with the Colorado Shines Quality Rating System, has a stated mission to offer the highest quality early education care for children ages two months through five years old. The preschool serves 54 children, 46 families, including Frisco residents and children of Town employees with a total of 21 staff, 19 of whom are full-time employees.

The preschool works to capture as much revenue as possible through fundraisers, grants, and local support, and has raised tuition over 40% in the past five years in order to provide excellent childcare and retain exceptional staff. Another 10% tuition increase this May will align rates with the other four larger preschool programs in Summit County.

The Town of Frisco has supported Summit County Preschool with direct financial contributions, as well as fundraising opportunities, such as Breakfast with Santa, Concerts in the Park, and Spontaneous Combustion since 2008, with an average of $65,000 annually in monetary contributions. In 2023, this $65,000 annual monetary contribution from the Town of Frisco was not budgeted and that is why SCP is making this appeal.

Since the launch of the Town of Frisco’s tuition assistance program in March 2022, Summit County Preschool has not seen a significant increase in the number of families qualified for the assistance. Currently two enrolled families receive Frisco tuition assistance and approximately two thirds of get some level of assistance via state and national programs. With recent and upcoming rate increases and the countywide tuition assistance program in the works, CSP anticipates more families qualifying for assistance. Town Council acknowledged that SCP provides services that are vital to our community and families and directed staff to return with a budget amendment providing $80,000 in support for Summit County Preschool and their capital budget.

Out-of-Town Water Request Process

In response to prior and anticipated requests from property owners and developers outside of Town of Frisco limits to connect to the Town’s water system, Council has directed staff to develop a formalized process that would support consistency in responding to these requests.  

The Town Code currently gives Council “sole discretion in approving or denying extra-territorial water service requests” and provides no further criteria or guidance. Staff worked with the Town’s attorneys and water engineers to create a systematic approach to out-of-town requests for water service that would protect the Town’s water rights and ensures a sufficient supply of water for both in-town and out of town users. This included the development of a responsive tool to determine the Town’s current water service capacity and costs based on increasing demand due to development and/or new out-of-town water requests.

The proposed procedure for water service requests includes:

  • An application with an application fee structure to evaluate requests.
  • Defining the amount and seniority of wet water that an applicant would need to bring to the Town.
  • Creates a cash in lieu of water right dedication process where equitable, reasonable, and sufficient fees will be determined by the newly created water planning and fee evaluation tool.
  • Sets certain requirements that must be met for approval of any application (i.e. well abandonment, discontinuing use of lawn sprinkler systems, connection to sanitation sewer system, etc.)
  • Creates several other administrative requirements for Council to consider when evaluating any application.
  • Removes the provisions of charging 1.5 times the current in-town tap fee and double the quarterly user fees (water bill) if users are under the same use requirements, as this process seeks to ensure that all water users have equitable standing within the system.

This new process is designed to allow any costs the Town incurred during the application process to be reimbursed by the applicant and deposited into the Water Fund.

The cash payments received for water rights would be deposited into a new fund within the Water Fund that will act as a “savings account” to help pay the costs of future water rights purchases or to pay the costs of future water court cases to modify the Town’s augmentation plan as needed.

Council directed staff to bring an ordinance amending the code during the February 28, 2023 meeting.

Visitor Information Center CMGC Preconstruction Services

At the January 11, 2022, Council meeting, the Frisco Town Council gave staff direction to design and budget for a remodel at the Frisco/Copper Visitor Information Center (VIC) that will include an ADA ramp on the Main Street side of the building, an update to the interior with more energy-efficient infrastructure/fixtures, and an expansion to the restrooms with an addition of a gender-neutral restroom. Stais Architecture and Interiors (SAI) was awarded the contract to work on the design.

During the August 9, 2022 Council meeting, Council directed staff to make Old Town Hall Park a priority project for 2023 as it directly correlates to the Neighborhood Parks Master Plan. Since this park directly interacts with the Visitor Information Center remodel and upgrade project, SAI was asked to include this into their overall design, working in conjunction with Norris Design.

During the October 25, 2022, Council meeting, Town and SAI staff presented the preliminary design for the VIC expansion/upgrade and Old Town Hall Park with preliminary construction estimates totaling $2.44M, or $.8M over the proposed budget of $1.6M. Council directed staff to pursue a design that would stay within the $1.6M budget.

Staff reevaluated the project and hired an owner’s representative firm, Wember, to assist the project team in working more efficiently within the budget, who then recommended using Construction Management/General Contractor (CMGC) services. Wember is supporting the Town with maximizing Town resources by considering how both options (expansion or working in the existing footprint) can be achieved in budget. A request for proposals (RFP) for pre-construction services released by the Town resulted in two bids.

The project team selected MW Golden (MWG) for an amount not to exceed $3,500 for preconstruction services. MW Golden has proven track record in Frisco and has demonstrated success in value engineering (VE). As the VIC remodel is still in an earlier design phase, MWG will be able to work with the design team to propose several value engineering options that could include desired improvements and expansion but would keep the project within the $1.6 M budget.

Staff will return to Council during a future work session with design details and a guaranteed maximum price for the option that would meet the budget with a subsequent opportunity for Council to then provide more direction.

Implementation of Pay as you Throw (PAYT) and Universal Recycling Ordinances (URO)

Staff and representatives of High Country Conservation Center (HC3) provided an update regarding the implementation of the PAYT and URO ordinance (22-04), passed by Council On March 22, 2022. The ordinance introduced changes to recycling policy, to curbside waste pickup at residential properties, and to dumpster pickup at commercial and multi-family residential properties. The intent of PAYT and URO is to make it easier for residents and businesses to recycle to help reach Summit County’s community-wide goal of increasing landfill diversion to 40% by 2035.

For individual residences, a Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) policy is similar to a utility bill model in that a household will pay for waste removal services based on how much waste that household produces. PAYT will provide an economic incentive to reduce waste and recycle more by requiring 80% minimum price differential between three trash bin size options and by including recycling with the service. Universal recycling requires that businesses and multi-family properties have recycling collection service in addition to any existing waste pickup. HC3 will have public outreach events around Pay-As-You-Throw, and currently, have resources with frequently asked questions around this change and how it will impact trash service customers. 

This ordinance and the upcoming waste diversion changes resulted from an extensive stakeholder outreach process, which included residents, businesses, HOAs and property managers, County and local government decision-makers, and waste haulers. This collaborative process has continued as the Towns of Frisco and Breckenridge plan for implementation. Highlights of the plan include:

  • The ordinance will go into effect on April 1, 2023 with a goal to have 90% residential bins distributed by October 1, 2023 and 50% commercial customer compliance by June 1, 2024.
  • Town staff and HC3 will lead enforcement though an education-first method, seeking to achieve compliance though outreach before fines or other enforcement methods
  • Individuals and families who qualify for SNAP will also qualify for a low-income variance, should they wish to apply. Financial assistance will address only any increase in billing to comply with the PAYT ordinance.
  • Commercial financial assistance, such as rebates, will also be available, with details expected in summer 2023, one year in advance of initial 50% compliance date June 1, 2024. Staff will continue to research EPA grant application in 2024 which could increase rebate amount/commercial customer.
  • The County Commissioners have allocated Strong Futures recycling budget funds to implement PAYT in Frisco and Breckenridge. In addition to Strong Futures funding, the Town of Frisco has allocated $100,000 in the 2023 budget for PAYT / URO implementation.

Pay-As-You-Throw programs have been successful in many other towns across the country including other municipalities with high visitation rates, such as Vail. In 2017, the PAYT policy was identified as a viable option for Frisco with medium to very high impact, potentially the largest material diversion of any program. While other high impact programs have been suggested and are currently under review, they are costlier than PAYT policy.

Adopting the Trails and Pathways Master Plan

Town Council adopted the 2023 Frisco Trails and Pathways Master Plan by resolution. The 2023 Frisco Trails Master Plan was renamed to the Trails and Pathways Plan to reflect the importance of multi-modal connectivity, rather than the recreational trails alone as the original named implied.

The original Frisco Trails Master Plan (FTMP) was adopted in 2017 to inventory and map existing trails, recommend future trails, determine areas in need of wayfinding and maintenance, address bicycle and pedestrian connectivity throughout town, and prioritize projects for effective implementation. In June 2021, Council directed staff to update the FTMP to reflect completed projects, update community priorities, review impacts of increased visitation, and inventory existing signage and make recommendations for a consistent wayfinding plan. In February 2022, the Town contracted with SE Group to complete the plan update.

The update was organized around four key tasks – an update of existing conditions, identifying community priorities, providing a capacity analysis, and creating a wayfinding plan for improving signage and simplifying navigation.

Five high priority projects were identified as part of this public planning process: signage/wayfinding improvements, west Highway 9 infrastructure south from Basecamp, Granite Street improvements, roundabout sidewalks, and Exit 203 intersection improvements.

Staff shared the 2023 plan at the January 24, 2023 Council meeting to receive feedback and direction. During that discussion, Council requested clarification on several plan elements including pedestrian traffic through The Reserve, a future underpass at Highway 9 and Ten Mile Creek, addressing user conflicts at pathway intersections, and wayfinding recommendations. Council also directed staff to include Highway 9 south from 8th Avenue into the proposed priority route, to work on pathway gaps such as those at the Adventure Park underpass, and to note bus stops on any map kiosk signage. The Approved plan presented includes these adjustments.

Next steps for plan implementation in 2023 include updating wayfinding signage, improvements on Granite Street, and the addition of a pathway next to Highway 9 in front of Walmart. Council also requested that staff consider multi-lingual wayfinding signage at key pathway intersections as those improvements are made.

Financing Granite Park – Second Reading

Town Council approved the second reading of Ordinance 23-03, which authorizes the approval of the documents required to issue the 2023 Certificates of Participation (COPs), which in turn will finance the construction of Granite Park. The ordinance will create a “lease-lease back” mechanism of funding by leasing the underlying property (Granite Park) to the Trustee (typically a large bank) for 30 years. The Trustee will remit to the Town the entire lease payment up front, an amount approximating $7.2M at which point the Town will use a portion of revenues received through unit rentals to repay the estimated $7.2M, plus interest, over 20 years, paid in semi-annual payments. Once the Town has paid the trustee all of the original amount borrowed plus the agreed interest, the lease- lease back arrangement is terminated, and the municipality gets its property back free from any encumbrance caused by the COPs.

  • The ordinance also sets a top limit of 5% for the interest to be paid on the 2023 COP to account for the uncertainty of the interest rate but is anticipated that the interest rate will be under 4%.
  • The maximum annual repayment cost of base rentals payable by the Town shall not exceed $580,000, and the total repayment cost shall not exceed $11,600,000;
  • The aggregate principal amount of the Base Rentals payable by the Town under the lease with respect to the Certificates shall not exceed $7,300,000; and
  • The purchase price of the certificates shall not be less than 98% of the aggregate principal amount.

Complete Streets Plan – 30% Design of Granite Street

Town Council approved a sole-source contract with Toole Design for the development of a 30% design for the Granite Street corridor for a cost not to exceed $129,960. Staff has been working closely with the Toole Design Group, a planning, engineering, and landscape architecture firm specializing in multimodal transportation and complete street design. Over the past two years Toole Design has been working with the community and staff on the development of the Downtown Complete Streets Plan and the quick-build projects identified in the plan.

In March 22, 2022, Town Council adopted the Downtown Complete Streets Plan to support goals outlined in the Community Plan and the Frisco Trails Master Plan related to improving safe and efficient multi-modal transportation and walkability through Town. The adopted Complete Streets Plan outlines the specific goals, policies, and projects needed to transform the existing street network into an enhanced system. These include quick-build, lower cost projects, such as stop sign reconfigurations, to transformative projects that are larger multi-year projects that phasing for design and implementation.

In addition to pursuing two priority quick-build projects in 2023 that were identified during the public outreach process – the redesign of the 2nd Avenue/Granite Street intersection and stop sign reconfiguration along Granite Street, the outreach process revealed the overall reconstruction of Granite Street as the highest priority among community members. The development of a 30% design drawing for Granite Street will aid in budgeting and project development and will better position the Town for funding opportunities during implementation. Toole anticipates the 30% design to take six months to complete.

Toole has also provided estimates for adding Madison Avenue and South 7th Avenue to the scope of work in anticipation of future development along either of these blocks. As the initial work for the Granite Street design progresses, the Town will have the option to develop 30% designs for these blocks for an additional cost of $25,000 each.

Home Rule Charter Review- Excavations

Council approved on first reading an ordinance to clarify restoration and application requirements associated with excavation projects and raised permit fees to cover the administrative costs incurred by the Town. Town Council is required to periodically review ordinances in the Town Code to ensure that they continue to align with the needs of the Town’s residents.

Frisco Town Council Meetings: Ways to Participate

Frisco Town Council meetings are available to view via Zoom and YouTube, and are also held in person to make Town Council meetings easier to access for everyone.

The public can provide comment during meetings via Zoom or in person (not YouTube), and a public comment period will be available at 7:00pm; during the consideration of ordinances; and at the discretion of Town Council during work session items, which are discussions that don’t require a formal vote by Town Council and do not require public comment.

Again, this hybrid approach is intended to make Town Council meetings more accessible, and meeting recordings will typically also be made available the day after a meeting in the meeting archive with agenda topics bookmarked to the discussions in the video.