Main Street Gets the Green Light, Sort Of
~ by Bob Volpe ~
The long process of adopting a budget for the city of Woodland Park for next year has finally ended.
The 2018 budget was approved by city council on December 21 at their regular meeting, but not without another lively debate.
The last sticking point to be hammered out was how to dole out the money to the Woodland Park Main Street (WPMS) program. The amount the city agreed it would give WPMS in 2018 at a previous meeting was $30,000. The council considered dispersing the funds in quarterly increments of $7,500 per quarter, based on performance presentations by WPMS to council. This was, however, just a recommendation. It was now up to council to decide exactly how and when to give the money to the Main Street group.
At issue then was the payment frequency and quantity.
City Manager David Buttery kicked off another Main Street debate last week with a recap of how they got to this point. He said, “At the last council meeting you asked staff to come up with an agreement with them. You gave us some guidance that we tried to cobble together into an agreement to meet all your intent. We understood that you were fine with the amount of money. You also wanted to have quarterly updates from them. What you did not tell me was exactly how to distribute the money to them.”
Mayor Neil Levy concurred with Buttery and repeated that he originally did not think WPMS was worth the effort. But at the same time, he said he has now changed his mind and supports WPMS and wants them to succeed. He said, “I just want to do everything I can as long as we’re going down this road, let’s try to make Main Street as successful as they possibly can, and in doing that let’s try and figure out, without giving them money that they don’t necessarily need right away.”
Councilman Val Carr, who also sits on the Main Street board and is the liaison between WPMS and council, spoke next. He stated that giving equal $7,500 payments would be a problem for WPMS in as much as the new year would require a larger sum to get the ball rolling. He suggested perhaps an initial payment of $12,000 would be more helpful and then the rest be distributed in equal increments for the remaining funds.
Mayor Pro Tem Carrol Harvey, who has objected to funding WPMS throughout the process, disagreed with Carr. Harvey has raised concerns about the lack of accountability with Main Street. She said she thought a $7,500 equal payment throughout the year was fair.
Councilman Noel Sawyer, who also initially opposed funding WPMS, conceded that since the $30,000 was approved that he would just as soon give them all of the money at once. He said, “Most of their projects are going to be done in the summer. If they have the full $30,000 they can start planning their projects and start implementing them in April and May. They can spend the bulk of their money, then to do their projects. I feel like if we put too many conditions on them, it is counter-productive.”
Councilman Ken Matthews suggested he would agree to a first payment of $12,000 and the rest dispersed in equal increments. He reiterated that all the council members want WPMS to succeed. Matthews took issue with Harvey’s stance that WPMS is not accountable. He said, “Nobody else is being challenged like this with ‘you’re not giving us feedback’ about how successful you are and what you’re doing with our money. It’s only this group that is being challenged with that.”
A motion was made to give WPMS an initial payment of $12,000 and the rest to be distributed equal as needed, based on reports from WPMS.
The motion passed with only Harvey dissenting. And with that action, the remaining 2018 budget was endorsed by the council with little debate.
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