Town News

Catchup with Council, October 13, 2020 – Parking Discussion, Cell Tower Antenna Discussion, Nicotine Tax Fund Discussion, Town Budget, COVID Residential Assistance Program

Parking Discussion – Peak One Neighborhood and Zach’s Stop

The hiking trails and bike paths around Frisco are more popular than ever, in part due to the ongoing public health situation. With increasing trail use, comes increasing parking demands. Some residents of the Peak One Neighborhood have expressed concerns about parking from the Zach’s Stop Trailhead overflowing onto nearby neighborhood streets. This trailhead provides access to adjacent hiking trail systems and the countywide paved bike path.

The Peak One Neighborhood was originally developed as a mixed income affordable housing project. As such, this project was designed differently than other neighborhoods in Frisco to achieve certain affordable housing and community character goals. To that end, the street right-of-ways in this neighborhood are narrower than in other areas of Frisco and were not specifically designed to accommodate overflow parking.

Council directed Town staff to do the following during this discussion:

  • Form a working group with interested parties, including Summit County, the Town of Frisco, the US Forest Service, and Peak One HOA, to figure out solutions for the Zach’s Stop parking issues, possibly including more efficient use of the space and bike racks. Zach’s Stop is on Forest Service land in unincorporated Summit County, but not in the Town of Frisco.
  • Determine who is responsible for maintaining the median between the sidewalk and road in the Peak One Neighborhood.
  • Urge the Peak One HOA to reach to their residents to determine how they want to handle their resident parking.
  • Communicate overnight parking regulations in the whole town and enforce overnight parking restrictions throughout the Town. Parking is generally allowed on public streets in Frisco, except between the hours of 2:00am and 6:00am, and a three (3) hour parking time limit applies to portions of Main Street.

AT&T Mobile Tower / Antenna Discussion

In July 2020, Town of Frisco staff received a significant amount of comments regarding issues with AT&T mobile service in Frisco. In late July, staff reached to AT&T’s regional external affairs staff regarding these comments, and by early August, AT&T staff was implementing software updates on their macro tower on Dillon Dam Road and identifying facilities where they could place smaller cellular towers/antennas. In September, AT&T staff solidified their interest in utilizing the Public Works building on School Road and the Summit Fire & EMS station on South 8th Avenue for cellular tower/antenna installations, and conducted a site visit and call with Town staff regarding next steps.

The two proposed cellular towers/antennas, one at Public Works and one at the fire station, are intended to cover a rectangular area along Highway 9, and were designed to be deployed quickly. Most traditional tower installations take at least 18 months to bring to reality. These two towers/antennas could potentially carry 1,600 “mobile actions” (a text, call, streaming music, etc…) at a time in order to take pressure from the macro tower on Dillon Dam Road, and subsequently, improve service in Frisco. This is basically like adding “1,600 more lanes to a highway”. These towers are 4G LTE, but AT&T has filed permits for 5G small cell towers on Frisco Main Street to be installed at a later date.

Town Council approved the use of the Public Works building for this installation, and have directed staff to proceed with AT&T contract negotiations for that location. Town Council has agreed to consider free rent in the immediate future due to the benefit to the public and to accelerate the installation process, but Council would like rent to be charged in the future for this installation and directed staff to return to Council with a contract that addresses this.

Nicotine Tax Workgroup Recommendations and Nicotine Tax Fund Establishment

During the summer of 2019, the Town of Frisco received public comment during regular Town Council meetings from Summit High students who urged Frisco Town Council to consider submitting a question to the voters of Summit County for an additional tax on nicotine products. On November 2, 2019 voters approved the tax measure (Measure IA). The special tax assesses four dollars per pack of twenty cigarettes sold (or twenty cents per cigarette) and a forty percent special sales tax rate on all other tobacco and nicotine products sold, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices and will increase each January. The collection of the tax began on January 1, 2020. The collection of the special taxes assessed under November 2020, Measure IA began on January 1, 2020. To date, the Town is collecting about $45,000 per month (representing about 12,500 packages of cigarettes per month).

Various non-profit organizations in Summit County teamed up, as the Summit County “Community Nicotine Workgroup”, to develop a proposed work program to reduce teen and youth use of tobacco products. In accordance with the inter-governmental agreement, the Community Nicotine Workgroup proposed program was presented to the Town/County Managers of Summit County who unanimously agreed to recommend the program to their respective councils/boards for approval of the program services and budget.

The proposed program requests funding in the amount of approximately $1M (among all agencies collecting tax revenues). These services are proposed to be provided in a multi-disciplinary approach by primarily the Summit County Care Clinic and the Summit County Government’s Health and Human Services and Youth and Family Services departments. In addition, the Summit County School District will participate along with a small portion provided by Building Hope.

As discussed during the Town Council’s September 21, 2020 budget work session, the Town/County Managers also recommend funding the following non-profits which are providing much needed health and wellness services to the community during these unprecedented times: (1) Family and Intercultural Resource Center $500,000, (2) Building Hope $250,000, and (3) Summit County Care Clinic $250,000. Frisco Town Council also directed staff to provide a $5,000 grant to Frisco Elementary out of this funding to fund COVID-19 needs/adaptations at the school.

Financial Impact: If the tax collections trend as they have been in 2020, the Town of Frisco is projected to collect approximately $480,000 per year (for 2020/2021), for a total of just under $1M (estimated).

Contributions by each entity for the recommended program services have been proposed as a percentage of the share collected. For example, County-wide collections are estimated at $4.4M (2020 and 2021), of which, 23% of that amount is collected within the Town of Frisco. Therefore, the Town of Frisco’s contribution share is 23% of $1.2M (approximately $279k).

Council agreed to this funding strategy, but noted that this funding will need to be evaluated each year as the intention is to collect less tax each year as nicotine use declines. Council also approved a resolution which created a special revenue fund, named the Nicotine Tax Fund, in order to properly account for the collection and disbursement of these taxes.

Town Budget

Council reacted early and decisively to the COVID-19 pandemic by committing $1M to this response by funding the Business Assistance Program, Residential Rental Assistance Program, Love Frisco shop/stay local program, and the Main Street Pedestrian Promenade, in order to support the community and local businesses. This summer showed that those strategies yielded positive results with many businesses seeing significant business levels.

Due to ongoing uncertainty, the Town is continuing to budget very conservatively to continue to meet the needs of the Town, and conservative budgeting over the years, as well as a nimble response to the pandemic, have put the Town in a secure financial situation. The General Fund ending fund balance is required to equal seven months of operating expenditures or approximately $7M, and in 2020, the general fund is projected to end at approximately one year of operating expenses.

On September 21, 2020, staff presented a draft budget to Council during their work session, which did not include any non-essential expenditures or capital projects. At that time, Council added some of those items and capital projects into the budget, based upon Council’s project priorities and relevance to Council’s Strategic Goals. These changes were incorporated into the 2021 budget ordinance, including $1.96M in capital improvements.

As part of the budget process Council adopted on first reading (second readings will be at the October 28 Council meeting):

  • An Ordinance Levying General Property Taxes- Colorado Budget Law and Colorado Revised Statutes require local taxing entities to certify the mill levy to their specific county based upon certifications of property valuation provided by the County. This year, counties were extended more time to provide those certifications as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the Town of Frisco does have preliminary valuations and this ordinance cites those numbers with the stipulation that Council authorizes the Town Clerk to make necessary changes to the ordinance without having to bring such ordinance before Council.
  • An Ordinance Appropriating Sums of Money to the Various Funds for the 2021 budget- This ordinance establishes the 2021 budget.
  • A Resolution Establishing a Temporary General Fund Budget Stabilization Reserve- This Reserve will be available for utilization by a majority decision of the Town Council if economic conditions worsen to such a point that the Town’s essential operations are threatened, in the event there is opportunity to pursue a capital project that would be of future benefit to the town, or for emergency purposes or, in any instances Town Council may deem funding is required to meet the needs of the Town.  

Town Council also directed staff to return with a work session presentation in January or February in order to facilitate a discussion around the efficacy of events and marketing and allocation of the lodging tax.

Resolution Updating the Residential Assistance Program in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Frisco Residential Rental Assistance program provides grants to aid individuals who live or work in Frisco who lost their employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Town Council allocated up to $250,000 for this program and $67,657 remains available. The Family Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) administers this program for the Town of Frisco and continues to see need for this program, including from those who have already received assistance. Therefore, Town Council approved a resolution which allowed those in need to apply for a second round of assistance and changed the criteria to allow for those who live or have been working at least 50% of their hours in the Town of Frisco, and lost employment or received decreased wages or hours to apply for assistance.