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Miscellaneous Topics — Dec 15, 2001

CURRENT EVENTS

A periodic updating of events and issues in our Village

December 15, 2001 Update

 

CELL PHONE SERVICE IN CHERRY HILLS

Wireless Communications Facility Resolution Adopted.   A key promise made in my campaign for City Council was to improve cell phone service in Cherry Hills. The importance of this issue was brought home after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Cell phones proved to be a lifeline. Effective and reliable cell phone service is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. The Council unanimously adopted my resolution to have Cherry Hills “go on the record” that we encourage, promote, support and will facilitate the expansion of an effective and reliable wireless communications network in the Village. Such expansion, which must be aesthetically and strategically planned, is necessary and desirable. City Staff have contacted the six wireless communications providers in the State of Colorado to inform them that Cherry Hills is encouraging and will facilitate cell service expansion by the appropriate placement of new wireless communications facilities. The response to date has been very favorable and several property owners have contacted the City to determine what steps are necessary in order to locate wireless communications facilities on their property. We expect to see direct and measurable results — in the form of improved cell phone service — in the near future. Thanks to the Council for unanimous support of our resolution!

HIGH SPEED INTERNET CONNECTIONS

Qwest DSL Service Comes to the Village.   Another key campaign promise I made was to improve Internet connectivity in the Village. Numerous residents had complained to me regarding inadequate Internet service through slow dial-up connections. “I spent $5,000.00 on a new computer and I still can’t get hooked up to the Internet,” complained one voter to me. Good news is here: DSL has arrived. Thanks to the direction of people like Lew Wilks, Executive Vice President of Qwest, currently building a home in Cherry Hills Village, DSL boxes have been appearing around our City. A number of neighborhoods are already connected, with more being added as rapidly as Qwest can arrange. The “take rate” (number of subscribers) is very high, justifying this far-sighted decision on the part of Qwest. If you have not subscribed to this Digital Subscriber Line service yet, consider doing so. It makes a world of difference in terms of your ability to communicate with the world.

CABLE FRANCHISE RENEWAL

AT&T Broadband Contract Under Negotiation.   Our cable television franchise with AT&T’s predecessor was signed on February 22, 1982. It expired in February of 1997. It has been extended through a series of interim extensions for almost five years now. For the past several months Cheryl Kuechenmeister and I, assisted by our legal counsel for cable issues, Dudley Spiller, have been negotiating a complete revision of the franchise agreement with AT&T Broadband. We anticipate being able to present a new – and much improved — franchise agreement to the Council for approval prior to the 20th Anniversary of the original agreement, which is February 22, 2002. The agreement is still in negotiation and it would be imprudent to share too much of the detail in this forum.

But one thing is clear: we are looking at a complete “overbuild” of our present cable TV system, effectuating a state-of-the-art upgrade to a fiber optic network in Cherry Hills Village within the next three to four years. This new fiber optic network will greatly enhance television and communications facilities, including high-speed Internet connections through your cable television service. It will position us to take advantage of further telecommunications improvements throughout the next fifteen years. Thanks to the Council for supporting us in this negotiation!

OUR NEW T.V. STATION

Local Programming Solicited.   In the course of our negotiations with AT&T Broadband, we have secured one present benefit: AT&T will now give us our own “Channel 8” on a 24/7 basis. No more sharing with Englewood or Sheridan! For technical reasons, it will be assigned a new number, and that new channel will be made a part of your basic cable service. Presently 1,442 of our approximately 2,000 homes in Cherry Hills receive at least basic cable service from AT&T. Starting soon — hopefully January — we will have 168 hours of programming content to fill every week. Some of this will continue to be filled by our “bulletin board” programming with certain basic community information. But we want to fill it with real programming, real content.

How do we propose to do that? I am soliciting our three schools — Cherry Hills Village Elementary, Kent/Denver and St. Mary’s Academy — to provide us with videotaped programming. I envision a channel where we will cable cast — around the clock — school plays, sporting events, classes, honors programs, convocations, social events, class projects, individual presentations and more.

Join me in urging the schools to prepare videotapes of these events and to submit them to us for cable casting on our new “Channel 8” next year.

Budding actors, directors, writers, performers and athletes: this is your chance to “strut your stuff” on television! This is an exciting opportunity that we should seize with vigor.

CONDUIT BOND FINANCING

Cherry Hills Earns Fees, Incurs No Liability, Through Debt Issuance.   Many communities in Colorado have taken advantage of a state law that allows them to issue so-called “conduit bonds” to assist other communities or non-profit organizations. Cherry Hills has never taken advantage of the economic benefits available under this law. Several weeks ago I was approached by the attorney for the County Sheriffs of Colorado, a non-profit organization of all Colorado Sheriffs, to present to the Council a proposal for conduit bond financing to be issued by Cherry Hills. At our meeting on December 11, the Village authorized a conduit bond financing of up to $1,700,000.00 to benefit the Sheriffs in the refinancing of their debt on their headquarters facility in Douglas County.

Pursuant to this financing, the City will be paid a sizable fee. The Sheriffs will pay the attorneys’ fees incurred by our Bond Counsel. The City will incur no liability or responsibility under the bonds, acting as a mere “conduit issuer” of the bonds. At the same time, the City has the satisfaction of performing a valuable public service to a worthwhile organization, the Colorado Sheriffs of Colorado, in restructuring their financial burdens at more attractive interest rates. This was truly an opportunity for the Village to do well by doing good. Thanks to all of the team members involved in this worthwhile project! And thanks to the Council for unanimously approving this ordinance!

SOUTH SUBURBAN REC DISTRICT EXCLUSION

Negotiating Committee Formed.   Both Cherry Hills Village and the South Suburban Parks and Rec District have formed a Negotiating Committee to engage in a candid, frank and full discussion of the issues that came to a head this summer when the Village announced it was exploring possible exclusion from the South Suburban Rec District. I serve as the Chair of the Cherry Hills delegation on this very important Committee. I am joined by fellow Council Member Bonnie Blum (District 3) and long-time Village resident and expert negotiator, Jim Lyons. The Committee will meet as often as necessary throughout December and January with a view towards engaging in a genuine good-faith effort to assess, address and resolve the many concerns raised by Village residents in the surveys and the public forum conducted on this subject. We have already had several meetings between the Village and the District to lay the groundwork to explore fully the choices before us. Now this Committee will roll up their sleeves and start doing the “heavy lifting” on the job.

We cannot prejudge the result. But we have designed a process that is embarked upon in good faith and that will ultimately determine whether we significantly restructure our relationship with the District in an effective and equitable manner or we proceed with the orderly unstructuring of our current relationship. Thanks to the Council for their support in this effort!

You are all encouraged to contact me with any thoughts you have that might be beneficial in aiding this process.

COMMERCIAL ZONING CHANGE

C-2 District Redesigned.   Many people do not realize that Cherry Hills Village has one, and only one, commercial property. It is a small building located in the triangle formed by “old” Hampden, U.S. Highway 285 (Jefferson) and Franklin Street in the northwest corner of the Village. This building, currently occupied by the “Bill Owens for Governor Campaign Committee,” has formerly been a medical billing office. In an effort to provide for potential future sales tax revenue to the City (presently we have virtually no sales tax revenue), I proposed a re-definition of the C-2 commercial district, allowing retail, restaurant and other sales tax producing operations on the property. (A StarbucksÔ might be nice.) This proposal, which would render the property more profitable to the owner and to the City, has unfortunately proceeded too slowly. We are in the process of trying to address responsibly the legitimate concerns raised and to overcome the other objections. We hope to have a final resolution on this issue positively enacted in January 2002.

OPEN SPACE MASTER PLAN

Planning For a More Open Village in the 21st Century.   On January 29, 2002 the Council will meet in special session with the Planning Commission and the Parks and Trails Committee to begin the process of developing a new master plan for the Village. Our specific goal is to fashion a rational approach to preserve and expand our open space. Up until now, the acquisition of open space has been an “ad hoc” process. This has resulted in a patchwork quilt of pocket parcels left undeveloped. Members of Council believe that a thoughtful reassessment of this process will produce a more pleasing and logical result. This type of planning will help us to identify appropriate acquisitions and plan for them in a responsible way, thus more effectively preserving and expanding the semi-rural character of the Village. Your input in this process is solicited and welcome.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

A Request for Your Opinion.   One week following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks I requested that Council recite the Pledge of Allegiance at that meeting. We did so. At the next Council Meeting, the Mayor asked whether Council wanted to institute that practice as a regular part of the meetings. I was the only one of the voting Council members who desired Cherry Hills Village to follow the model of so many other cities in the United States by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the meeting.

But I am only one citizen. I would like to know your thoughts on this question: Should the City Council of Cherry Hills Village recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America at the opening of its meetings? Please e-mail me at doug@tisdalecherryhills.com or call me at 303.589.0758 to voice your opinion.

VILLAGE ELECTIONS

Election Calendar for 2002.   Our next Village elections will be on Tuesday, April 2, 2002. As in 2000, this election will be conducted by a mail-in ballot. A ballot will be mailed to you in March. You must return your ballot to the Village Center or mail it so that it is received by Tuesday, April 2, 2002. The following offices will be up for election at that time:

  • Mayor of Cherry Hills Village (2-year term)
  • Council Seat for District 2 (4-year term)
  • Council Seat for District 4 (4-year term)
  • Council Seat for District 6 (4-year term)

Nominating petitions are due in February 2002. If you have any interest in running for any of these City offices, please feel free to contact the City Clerk, Jennifer Pettinger at 303.789.2541 or contact me at doug@tisdalecherryhills.com or at 303.589.0758.

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