Town News

Catchup with Council, October 12, 2021 – Highway 9 Beautification, Long-Term Rental Incentive Program, 2022 Budget

GAP Project Roundabout and Median Beautification Discussion

Town of Frisco staff presented to Council with landscape and architectural design ideas to aesthetically improve the newly constructed center median areas and two roundabouts, which are part of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Gap Project to be completed in late October. This two-phase CDOT project in Frisco centered on creating increased safety and flow, and an additional through-lane on each side of the highway between the Recreation Way traffic light and the intersection with Main Street in Frisco. While CDOT was responsible for the substantial road improvements, the underpass and any improvements to the roundabouts and the medians are the responsibility of the Town of Frisco.

Town Council has expressed an interest in creating a welcoming and aesthetically pleasing gateway entrance into Frisco from the south and to this end in 2019, the Town hired Norris Designs to produce some conceptual designs for the medians and roundabouts that included landscaping and hard surface features, along with some art and lighting. At that time, Council had concerns about the project cost and wanted to wait until construction was completed to have a better sense of the finished product.

For 2022, $1,000,000 has been allocated to this roundabout and median project out of the Capital Improvement Fund, and staff sought direction from Council on how to proceed with design and construction. Council gave staff the direction to pursue a simpler, more minimalist design for the areas further away from Main Street and to increase both landscape and artistic elements in the areas closer to Main, and supported the idea of completing the beautification project in phases to cause less disruption to residents already weary from multiple years of Highway 9 construction. Also, Council emphasized that any design should not require heavy water use or maintenance. Council directed staff to continue working with Norris Design through a new sole-source contract in order to incorporate their previous design concepts with this feedback from Council.

Long-term Rental Incentive Program Discussion

During their September 28, 2021 work session, Town Council continued the discussion of various housing strategies that would have the most impact on providing workforce housing. One of the top short-term priorities Council identified at that meeting was to establish a Long-Term Rental Incentive Program that could encourage property owners to convert short-term rentals to long-term rentals.

Staff drafted a pilot program, called “Frisco Housing Locals,” that outlines the creation of a Long-term Rental Incentive Program. The program aims to immediately increase the number of long-term rental (LTR) units available to the Town’s local workforce by offering financial incentives to homeowners who are currently making their properties available in the short-term rental (STR) market, in order to convert them into long-term rentals.

In mid-August, the Town of Frisco sent a survey to all licensed STR owners and property managers to help identify the biggest barriers to renting long-term and possible solutions that could be most helpful in overcoming those barriers. The 72.5% response rate showed engagement around the topic and provided some great data in support of how to start this pilot program.

The STR survey results indicated that homeowners primarily use their residences, as they tend to split their use throughout the year, and typically, short-term rent their property at during times they do not use it themselves, to offset their mortgage and expenses. More than 86% of respondents indicated that the biggest challenge/barrier to long-term tenants (vs. short-term) is occupancy, as they still want to use their unit.

The Frisco Housing Locals Program

Town Council directed staff to launch this pilot program with the target goal being of housing approximately 24 Town of Frisco employees for six-months with a program budget of $100,000, which includes management fees. This will give the Town a chance to focus on how this program works with their own employees, before it is launched to the larger community.

The preliminary program will include a:

  • A master lease for 6-months with a flat fee per bedroom
  • Cover any third-party costs associated with property management, maintenance, and property damage insurance.
  • The Town will master lease a property and in turn, sub-lease the property to full-time or seasonal employees that have already been screened with a background check from the hiring process.
  • Depending on unit type and condition, the owner’s expenses, and employee’s wages, each agreement will be negotiated to reflect the specifics of the situation.

Several Frisco property owners have expressed interest in this approach on a trial basis, as they want to help the community in the current housing crisis. Staff is seeking to create and implement Frisco Housing Locals by late October with the collaboration, partnership and expertise of Anne Marie Ohly, the owner/broker of Omni Real Estate, a local real estate and property management group in Summit County that has experience with programs that assist residents in finding long-term housing and negotiating leases that are affordable.

Staff will continue to fine-tune the program details to achieve optimal outcomes for both homeowners and tenants. Summit County and the Town of Breckenridge are also moving forward with short-term rental conversion programs in an effort to increase the number of long-term rental units available in the County.

First Reading: Approving ordinances for the annual budget for 2022

Town Council approved the first reading of two ordinances pertaining to the 2022 budget. The Town will have a total 2022 budget of $41,956,555, which includes a transfer from the General Fund to the Capital Fund of $928,193.  Council discussed the budget during their September 20, 2021 work session, with the desired changes Council offered at that time reflected in the presented budget ordinance.  Staff estimates starting 2022 with a total fund balance of $37,321,778.  Revenues budgeted for 2022 amount to $25,858,471.  The projected ending 2022 total fund balance will be $22,151,877, with all funds meeting their required reserves at the end of 2022.

The 41% overall drop in fund balance can be attributed to various capital projects supported by the Town Council based upon their priorities and relevance to Council’s Strategic Goals, including workforce housing construction, renovation of the Lund House and site work at the Frisco Bay Marina, and construction of the new Slopeside Hall building at the Frisco Adventure Park. Funding will also be allocated for water treatment facility improvements and wildfire mitigation efforts.

“Imagine a Day Without Water” Day Proclamation

The Frisco Town Council proclaimed October 21, 2021 to be “Imagine a Day without Water” in Frisco. This is an organized effort to highlight that water is essential to the quality of life and economic competitiveness and acknowledges the importance of educating the public about the value of water. The Town of Frisco is dedicated to investing in safe and reliable water infrastructure and calls on Federal partners to bring much needed funding and innovation to protect and restore critical water infrastructure around the country.

Water infrastructure is the lifeline of our communities. A day without water would be a public health and safety crisis, limiting the abilities of safety personnel, such as firefighters and hospital staff, as well as businesses and homes to function. This proclamation asks Frisco water users particularly to employ heightened awareness and to be more thoughtful around the many ways in which water is important to their daily lives.

Request for Water Service­

Council had a discussion about the future of water use and water rights in response to two recent water service requests for two single family homes located outside of Town of Frisco jurisdiction in the Frisco Heights subdivision.

While all costs associated with connecting to Town water lines and abandoning wells on the properties would be the responsibility of the property owner, Council took into consideration that each new property using the Town’s water system depletes water availability to the Town.

Council and staff anticipate an increase in these requests, and according to the Town Code, all extraterritorial water service requests must be made to the Council on an individual basis, and it is the Councils’ sole discretion to approve or deny any requests.

Council directed staff to develop a clear and consistent process for responding to and evaluating all current and future requests for water service that will take into consideration the appropriate fees, the Town’s anticipated water demand, and options for managing water rights in order to ensure water availability to the Town’s residents and businesses into the future.