Town News

Catchup with Council, January 11, 2022 – Childcare Discussion, Visitor Center Remodel, Slopeside Hall Update, Workforce Housing Finances, STR Tax

Childcare Discussion

Town Council continued their discussion on childcare availability and affordability issues many families are facing in Frisco and Summit County. The discussion resulted in the following initiatives:

  • Council supported the childcare tuition assistance program created at Council’s direction given during their November 9, 2021 meeting. The tuition assistance program, modeled after the Town of Breckenridge’s program, is intended to bridge the gap between current tuition and what families can pay and will assist an estimated 50+ families in the Ten Mile Basin, including Frisco, who earn between 73% and 150% Area Median Income (AMI) for a cost of $349,452. The Town of Breckenridge will administer this tuition assistance program at a cost of $250 per tuition assistance scholarship, for an estimated total of $12,252 annually.
  • Council has dedicated $250,000 in the 2022 budget for child care, of which $65,000 was committed to the Summit County Preschool, leaving a balance of $185,000 for the tuition assistance and grant startup funding. In addition, the Town has available to $573,000 in Nicotine Tax Fund reserves to fund child care initiatives. Council will utilize Nicotine Fund to absorb the additional cost of the tuition assistance program. In the longer term, Town Council may dedicate approximately $300,000 annually from Nicotine Tax funds for future child care programs.
  • Council emphasized the importance of incentivizing the expansion and creation of in-home and private childcare options and supported dedicating $50,000 in grant money for licensed in-home childcare providers seeking to start or expand their operations.
  • Council discussed potential salary assistance to childcare providers; however, decided to revisit the topic at a later time and focus on the newly established tuition assistance and grant programs. Council directed staff to utilize the advocacy services of the Town’s federal lobbyist to pursue additional funding for teacher assistance.
  • Council supported participation in a countywide childcare assistance program. Early Childhood Options will potentially take the lead in facilitating this countywide program, and Council approved a Town of Frisco staff person to represent the Town on the Early Childhood Options’ board if the Early Childhood Options takes on this role.

Frisco/Copper Visitor Information Center Bathroom Remodel

Council approved moving forward with the remodel of the bathrooms and the interior space at the Frisco/Copper Visitor Information Center. Staff presented two initial designs from Stais Architecture, one that utilizes the current footprint of the building and a second design which expands the footprint. Both designs met the goals to add ADA access to the front of the Visitor Information Center, upgrade fixtures and finishes in both restrooms, provide for a staff restroom and new IT closet, move the janitorial closet to be accessible from the restrooms, redesign the space to provide more usable storage, and provide for a more formal “info window” to serve guests who wish to remain outside.

Council opted for the design option to expand the building footprint to better meet the future needs of the community. The remodel is estimated to cost $950,000, expands the interior Information Center space of the building by 47%, and will make the Visitor Information Center more inclusive by adding a family/non-gendered restroom with a sink, toilet, and changing station and adding ADA access to the front of the buildings. Council also directed staff to look at designs options for making the building more sustainable and to update the interior. Final design and construction drawings are budgeted for in the 2022 budget with construction anticipated for 2023.

The Visitor Information Center sees significant visitor and resident usage, with on average 90,000 people using the restrooms annually and around 45,000 people using the Visitor Information Center services each year.

Slopeside Hall Update

Council approved an additional service proposal from Ohlson Lavoie Corporation (OLC) for the Slopeside Hall project at the Peninsula Recreation Area (PRA). The additional service proposal is for the design of a net-zero energy building and includes energy modelling, HVAC system design, electrical load determination, and architectural services to support net-zero energy building design including solar energy system design for a total is $29,835. The additional services are in response to the December 14, 2021 Council discussion regarding Planning Commission comments, value engineering options, and the project’s sustainability and energy efficiency goals.

The initial contract with OLC was for $197,671 for the development of 80% construction documents and cost estimates for the Slopeside Hall building. The first amendment to the contract for additional services included the Day Lodge remodel, the plaza design, and tube storage design for $115,891.

The second amendment to the contract for Net Zero Energy design is for $29,835, which brings the design/construction drawing project total to $343,397.

Main Street Closures and No-Pet Events Discussion

Council approved two resolutions regarding Town events. The no-pet event resolution honors the health and safety of event attendees and pets by determining which events are not appropriate for pets. The annual street closure resolution brings thoughtful consideration regarding how to maintain harmony between the economic vitality of Main Street and surrounding businesses and the community’s desire for events on Main Street. In the street closures resolution, Council supported continuing the extended Concert in the Park season in 2022, after receiving positive feedback regarding the addition of three concerts in 2021; this took the Concert in the Park series from nine concerts to 12 in 2021. Council decided not to approve the closure of Main Street in August for an art show produced by a 3rd party event producer out of Florida, but expressed a willingness to consider a local art show in the future.

Approval of Hiring a Special Bonds Council for Workforce Housing Projects

Town Council approved an agreement with the firm, Butler Snow, LLP to serve as special bond counsel to aid in the issuance of Certificates of Participation (COP) to fund proposed workforce housing projects, including properties at 619 Granite Street and 602 Galena Street.

In addition to the $5,000,000 in funds available and appropriated in the 2022 budget within the SCHA Fund (5A) to finance workforce housing projects in 2022, staff, with assistance from advocacy firm Squire, Patton, and Boggs, are also seeking available state and federal grant funding in order to effectively utilize available Town funds for the purpose of constructing workforce housing.

State Advocacy Services – Squire, Patton, Boggs

Council approved a contract with Squire, Patton, and Boggs for State advocacy services for a cost of $75,000 annually. The firm already provides full-time advocacy for the Town at the federal level and will identify and pursue upcoming opportunities for state grants, particularly DOLA grants related to the 602 Galena and 619 Granite workforce housing projects, as well as seek funding for wildfire mitigation and water infrastructure.

Short-Term Rental Excise Tax Ballot Question for April 5, 2022 Election

Council approved on first reading an ordinance to place a question regarding a 5% short-term rental excise tax on the ballot for the April 5, 2022 municipal election. At the November 30, 2021 Town Council meeting, Town Council discussed the impact of short-term rentals on the community, specifically the impacts of short-term rentals on housing affordability and availability for the local workforce. The cost of developing new housing and purchasing existing housing stock in order to place a deed restriction far exceeds the available funding the Town has dedicated towards housing.

Adding a new 5% excise tax to the current taxes applied to STRs (10.725%) would bring the total tax for STRs to 15.725% and is estimated to generate between $1.2 million – $1.5 million of additional revenue each year. This funding would be used for programs that support workforce housing.