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Loveland - May 6, 2008

The Loveland City Council passed final approval of a controversial annexation agreement for property near Johnstown's
current border that will cost the city an estimated $4.5 million - not including the 25 years of future tax subsidies .  Two
members of the city council, Cecil Gutierrez and Kent Solt, both voted against the annexation.  While the discussion was
amicable, only the two dissenters and Councilman Klassen appeared ready to discuss any details of the agreement.  The
majority of the "old guard" on council had no questions and only spoke when responding to comments or questions
posed by the other three.

Councilman Cecil Gutierrez
Councilman Cecil Gutierrez told his colleagues,  "Besides the cost factor, the other issue is that we have not dealt with
highway 402 in what I think is a satisfactory manner....this will impact highway 402 sooner rather than later..."  He cited
the CDOT website that quotes a cost of $27 million to widen the 402 and argued it would be irresponsible to proceed
with the annexation before identifying the sources of funding for the traffic improvements needed to accommodate the
traffic generated by the new developments near the 402 and I-25.  Gutierrez also reminded the council that in so many
meetings they attended, whether in Washington, D.C., or locally, the state and federal officials told them not to rely on
new state of federal highway funds in their planning .

Mayor Pielin responded that he believed the failed RTA tax initiative the council supported would have paid for the
widening of highway 402.  Pielin expressed confidence that given the number of blue ribbon panels studying the issue
the RTA tax or something similar will be imposed in the future to pay for the necessary traffic improvements not
considered in the annexation agreement before the council.

Gutierrez responded by pointing out the 25 year subsidy back to landowners doesn't include any funding for widening
highway 402 or other general traffic mitigation.  He stated that giving future taxes away while not even paying for the
required traffic mitigation isn't something he can support.

Councilman Kent Solt
Councilman Kent Solt stated, "I have always been on the fence on this one since day one.....after listening to good input
from constituents I have come the conclusion to vote no on the second reading."  He stated that while he supports
making the 402 a gateway for the city he felt "we are giving too much away."  He said he was on the fence previously
since he was concerned about not having the time to work the issue out with Johnstown through some diplomacy.  He
said the view that they must make a decision tonight because their back is against the wall isn't accurate and that he
believed there was time to get a better deal.

"My issues are with costs" Kent told his colleagues.  "We are talking about $4.5 million in incentives really.  $2.6 million
for sewer, $1.89 million for water shares and the $125,000 for reimbursement costs."

Councilman Clark responded by saying, "The city will pay very little upfront since we don't have to pay anything until it is

Councilman Klassen questioned his colleague by asking staff if indeed Clark's statement was correct.  Staff responded the
costs were always upfront but wouldn't start until an application for development is submitted.

Gutierrez stated, "However, there is no income from those two parcels on the sewer.  I just want to clarify there are
upfront costs."  He also added "We have tied the councils for the next 25 years to this agreement.  If the sewer is built 10
years from now we have tied future councils to whatever that cost will be."  The city staff has changed the estimated cost
of the sewer greatly during the negotiation of the annexation agreement.  LovelandPolitics was contacted by one city
staff member who alleged the original cost estimate of $3.4 million was the most accurate but said the city manager had
the estimate arbitrarily reduced so the agreement would appear more palitable to the public and council.

Lovelandpolitics cannot verify if this specific allegation is true but other city staff, when contacted, have confirmed the
higher cost of trying to pump sewage uphill (which will be required) is not being accurately reported to council.  One
individual stated, "pumping sewage uphill is a costly nightmare because those pumps, no matter how good they are,
break a lot and require maintenance the city manager isn't including these costs in the estimate to the council."  In other
words, it is not just the installation cost of a sewer that must go uphill but the ongoing higher O&M costs the city staff
(who asked not to be named) felt the city manager was trying to keep staff from disclosing to the council before their
final vote.

Councilman Walt Skowron
Councilman Walt Skowron announced he flip-flopped on his position and decided he would now support the annexation
agreement he voted against on the first reading.  He said the hypothetical development plans he was shown changed his
position because he believed the annexation will allow for growth of new jobs.  "I am now supporting this due to the
future job opportunities."  Skowron stated, "without jobs we don't have prosperity - so that is why I am supporting this."  
Given the overwhelming support in Loveland for bringing better jobs into the community, as reported in the city
sponsored survey, a number of new projects or subsidies are being promoted by the Mayor as creating new job centers.  

Larry Heckel, who contributed nothing to the discussion, urged the Mayor to cut-off the discussion by "calling for the
question."  The Mayor stated he thought the issue was important and said he would give councilors a chance to speak if
they desired on this matter.

Employment Centers
Cecil Gutierrez responded to Skowron's assertion that the annexation is needed to provide a location for companies that
might bring new jobs to the area.  Gutierrez responded that "if we take a look at the Maser Plans for the City of Loveland
and all the neighboring communities for every area that is out there in the master pans for employment centers - we
have the capacity for 3.2 million people whom we are only expecting 1 1/2 million people.  Now 3.2 million jobs versus 1
1/2 million people makes it mathematically (according to Mr. Kyle back in my algebra class) almost impossible.  So I think
we've got ample areas in these master planned areas to accommodate employment for the next 20 to 30 years."

The Mayor, as is his practice, couldn't resist the temptation to provide a rebuttal to nearly every comment and
responded to this comment by arguing that the city isn't providing anything more than the City of Johnstown gives
everyone looking to annex.  This argument has been promoted by the applicants for the annexation but LovelandPolitics
obtained a copy of the Johnstown agreements that have no such incentives (
see previous story comparing Johnstown
deals to Loveland).

The Council finally voted 7-2 on a series of resolutions and ordinances to approve the annexation with the agreed to
conditions as set-forth in the pre-annexation agreement.
Council Votes 7-2 On Annex Agreement
Olsen Farm 1st and 2nd addition annex agreement approved by council

click here to see index page of previous stories on this annexation
file photo of the city council