Longmont City Council – Regular Session – February 28, 2023

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Longmont City Council – Regular Session – February 28, 2023

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Unknown Speaker 0:00
homecare in early childhood education as a public good, is the most significant thing that we can do as a community. And then one of our membership organizations that don’t really special favors special districts very often. But this issue is so important and essential to workforce stability, that we would consider making exceptions for an early childhood special district. So that’s what our community is saying. And so, to let you know, the issues, and some of the challenges, some of these things you may know, we know that 80% of brain development happens before the age of three and 90% of our brains are developed by age five. So all of you on council, your brains are long developed. Right? Not that you can’t teach middle aged dogs new tricks, but there are their windows of opportunities. And those windows of opportunities. As we all know, as parents and grandparents, when these kiddos are, are three and four and five years old, they are soaking up everything in their environment. So we know that these are critical years, early development drives the success in school and in life. And investing in early childhood education is effective strategies. And there’s lots of evidence around that. And I won’t go into all the data. But I do want to let you know that from some of the Heckman reports, who’s a national economist says that seven to 10% per year return on an investment in early childhood will reduce costs in remediation and education, health and criminal justice systems expenditures, and high quality childcare programs for disadvantaged children will yield a 13% return on that investment per child per year. And that’s pretty good return on an investment. If we’re wanting to do that in the stock market. I don’t know that we’re gonna get those returns. And yet, we’re not taking advantage of some of the great resources that we have right here. We have too few providers and programs to meet the needs, we know that the capacity, we don’t have the capacity to meet the demand. When care is available, it’s often not affordable. And so it just layers on top of layers around some of the barriers for folks to access care. We know that this industry is short staffed, as I’ve already mentioned, and woefully under compensated. And that early childhood systems are not adequately funded to meet the needs. There are good systems out there and there are good data to be found. But really, if we could better fund those systems, we could have better data driven systems that could help us make educated decisions on how to allocate early childhood money into these systems throughout long mountain Boulder County. And so what we’re proposing is a secure, dedicated regional funding stream for Early Care and Learning Services that would be supported by creating an early childhood special district that is voter approved to help families pay for early childhood and early care and education programs, expand capacity and quality of programs and ensure that the region’s Early Care and Learning System is meeting the needs of all of our children and families throughout long mountain Boulder County. So that’s what we’re proposing. What this means for you as council and also for the community at large is that we want to have access to affordable high quality, reliable childcare and early learning opportunities for all children that will result in school readiness. And really, I think, life readiness, just like we invest in other special district programs like fire protection, sanitation, clean water in K 12 systems, investing in our early care and education programs, as a public good will ensure that all parents and employees in the st brain and Boulder Valley School District and the area will be confident that their children are in appropriate high quality settings and that they are well prepared when they enter kindergarten. As well as investing in childcare and early childhood education programs as a public good, like I mentioned are other great public goods systems that we build money and infrastructure into. It will benefit small and large business owners and primary business owners and employers here in Longmont by effectively stabilizing and enhancing the workforce in both the short and in the long term. Some of these goals that we have our long term goals around capacity building. That’s not going to be able to happen tomorrow. But we do know that if we can invest in early childhood, that our community will be better served. And so how does it work? I can answer some questions tonight. But in general, we want to do these things. We have to have a service plan that would be delivered to our local courts approved by our county commissioners and both Boulder and Weld County. I do want to mention that the alliance is really focused on Boulder County in Weld County. Not that we don’t care about the parts of Broomfield and Larimer and Gilpin county that we serve. But there are other good early Childhood initiatives that are happening in some of those counties. And if we can start an early childhood special district, we can expand that over time if we do this well from the beginning. And so this is how it would work, that we are working on strategies that would have an early childhood development special district, that would be the legal name on the ballot in November of 2023. We would try to generate buy in and low end support from local and dedicated early childhood funding sources. We want to hear from families and providers all throughout this process. And we’ve been doing that for the last couple of years, and will continue to do that in listening sessions. And more, we want to continue to build partnerships to ensure that we leverage effective existing early childhood funding systems this is not this is not supplant, or replace, or, or take the place of good systems that are already in place. But those systems are underfunded. I’m on my social media and stuff is already coming up about universal preschool program up K. So we hear about that, well, that solved the Early Childhood problem in Colorado, right? Is a drop in the bucket. It’s a great start. But that is a program that is limited to three, specifically four year olds, maybe some three year olds 10 hours a week, nine months a year, there are not a lot of families that that’s all they need. So it’s a great start. But it is not the funding system that will that will solve this issue. We’re working on cost modeling. So we can see what the real gaps are. We’ve got some great programs, our Boulder County CCAP program is one of the best funded in the state. And that’s because our local housing and Human Services, Boulder County has added money into their general funds to help increase those c cap rates to help providers to be able to take those c cap dollars, that is a great program for a certain segment of our community. But it doesn’t solve the entire problem for families that don’t qualify or lose those qualifications, because they got a 10 cent raise on their second job. And so we want to leverage existing funding sources, and then create an early childhood special district and plan and campaign to make this a reality in 2023. That’s our goal. And that’s our desire. And so we’re asking for partnerships, we’re asking for tough questions. And I would be open to any of those tonight. Or things that maybe we haven’t thought of in this early childhood special district. Do you have questions about that? If you I can tell you what I know. And then I’ll defer to the experts in the room. Maybe I’ll pause for a moment, take a breath questions or comments, Councillor McCoy.

Unknown Speaker 7:46
Thank you, Mayor. I just want to say thank you so much for your passion. Thank you for I mean, putting all of this together, I myself was a single mom. And I understand the struggles and challenges of the decision you may have to make to you know, stay at home if your kid is sick, or go to work. And you can’t go to work. If there’s no childcare available, then you have to trust your child was someone else. Anyway, we all know not we all know. But some of us know those struggles. And I appreciate your passion I’ve talked to you before, and is definitely evidence. So what the question I want to ask is, we know that these teachers are underpaid. They’re not getting paid enough. They’re not being compensated to their value and what they’re worth. I don’t know if they ever be compensated that honestly. These young kids, I mean, they’re our future. And we’re preparing them for counselor McCoy and counselor Hidalgo faring in the classroom, so so that they can have sanity. Right. So what about the teacher sanity? Yep. Yeah, that’s one of the things I want to make sure that there’s something in this plan for the teachers because COVID has really brought to the forefront of mental health issues. So although teachers deal with it each and every day, and just like oh, what time we get out 636 o’clock. But they have to go home to their own kids as well. So are there any measures in this in this program or this this special district, for the the teachers, the educators, the providers to have that extra time off if they need it? Maybe scheduling four days a week instead of five days a week for the teachers, making sure that they have enough time to get that mental refresh, as we all need to do. But taking care of other people’s kids is a hard job. I don’t know how many people have ever taken care of other people’s kids, but it’s a hard job. You know, it’s a hard job taking care of our own kids, if you have financial issues, and you live in in Colorado with the high cost of living here. And then the daycares are ridiculous. You might as well stay home from work, right? Unless you’re making like, a million dollars a year. Yep. Because then you can get a nanny. Right. That’s right. But I just want to make sure that we also take care of our teachers, right.

Unknown Speaker 10:51
Yep, that’s, that’s one of the key pieces is compensation, we have to have a workforce that is compensated and have the professional development, not only just to be come a early childhood teacher, but to maintain those qualifications to get those professional development, especially around mental health, social emotional development of children and for themselves. So professional development in early childhood would not just benefit children, but it would benefit staff and potential incoming staff into the workforce. But compensation, I think is going to be key. I mean, we we cannot address this just by adding more slots and paying teachers minimum wage that is not going to address the problem. So compensation is key, and is one of the core values in this special district and compensation would be addressed in this special district and mental health, please. And mental health, mental health for children and for early childhood providers.

Unknown Speaker 11:43
Yes, yep. Thank you. Yep. Thank you for everything.

Unknown Speaker 11:47
Yes. No, great question. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker 11:49
Mayor Pro Tem Rodriguez.

Unknown Speaker 11:52
Thank you very much, Mr. Peck. So as it seems, by the, I guess, outline that you’ve drawn for the special district that it extends beyond the city of Longmont into both unincorporated Boulder County and Weld County. And it sounds like you’ve had conversations with both County Commissioner boards. Yes. And since these things will have to go to likely a ballot measure. Did you get commitments from the Boulder County Commissioners as well, the Weld County Commissioners.

Unknown Speaker 12:26
So we are working on that. And I don’t know, sir, if you want to explain the special district part, we have a service plan that is that it will be submitted to all of the jurisdictions municipalities. The nice thing was when we met with both Boulder and Weld County Commissioners, sometimes they had more attorneys in the room than they did commissioners, which was really good because the cat the the attorney said, you don’t need to support this right now. They need to go through the process of getting it through the courts. And it was just kind of a sigh of relief of yes, we have to approve this this special district service plan. But it really has to go through the process of what a special district is required to do. So do you want to talk about that for a moment about the special district process and where we are in that of submitting those service plans, financial plans.

Unknown Speaker 13:15
Today, we received the surface plan back from our attorneys saying it’s ready to go with just a couple of minor things added next is to send it to the attorneys in both Boulder County and Weld County. Once they’ve looked at it and told us that they don’t have any CMA problems with it, then we we submit it to the recorder and clerk of the counties. And then there’s a 10 day period when nothing happens. And then after that, they have first meeting that the commissioners have after that 10 days, they they take up the issue and they set a hearing, the hearing has to be set has to be done within 30 days. And then they decide whether they will approve or not approve, or if they have something more than they want from us. Once we have their approval, we hope then we would collect 200 signatures from eligible voters in the service area can be from anywhere in the service area. And once we have those we would submit the service plan at the end the issuance of the recommendation from the commissioners and the signatures to the bowls or court, the district court and all that court has to do is look to make sure that we have met the the mandates of the legislation, and then we’re good to go to on the ballot in 2023.

Unknown Speaker 14:51
Thank you. Is there any sort of contingency if one of the jurisdictions does not approve of the special district going forward. I’m sorry. Is there any contingency if one of the jurisdictions does not approve of the special district going forward?

Unknown Speaker 15:07
Like Like, what if? What if? Well,

Unknown Speaker 15:10
what if Weld County says no, he

Unknown Speaker 15:11
said, Yes.

Unknown Speaker 15:15
I don’t, I don’t know. But we’ve really thought about that. We’re, we’re going to get approval from both.

Unknown Speaker 15:22
I definitely like that. Those are my questions as far as the viability as far as meeting statutory requirements and and getting onto the ballot. I would characterize myself as one of the quotes that was presented. And I’m always skeptical of special districts, but this is too important to to overlook all feasible, avenues forward. So thank you very much. And you can answer my questions.

Unknown Speaker 15:54
Councillor Martin?

Unknown Speaker 15:56
Thank you, Mayor Peck. Just a couple of questions. I’m also assuming that this is going to pass. And at that point, you’ve got you’ve with this mission, these objectives you’ve taken on a lot in the early years. Do you plan to operate essentially, as a grant making organization to to put money where it’s needed in in pursuit of this? Or do you intend to perhaps build out infrastructure as a district or both? But can you tell me

Unknown Speaker 16:32
so what we do not intend to do is to build buildings. So we this this, I would characterize this as we, the special district is set up to be a portfolio of funneling money to providers and services. So whether it’s compensation, professional development, existing systems, like our early childhood counselor, who has a system of data, just underfunded, our mental health partners, there’s many, many mental health partners from Nurse Family Partnerships, Kid connects as an early childhood mental health program, we’re not naming specific programs in the service plan. But those are those big objectives are there in the first year, there would be two things on the ballot one would be the ballot initiative that we’re bringing forward of whatever it’s going to be 345 mills that would generate X numbers of millions of dollars to fund these priorities. The second thing that would be on the ballot is the actual board of directors, the names of the board of directors would have to be voter approved. And we’re suggesting a board of five at this point, it could be five or seven, we’re suggesting five at the first point. So within the first year, it would be building the infrastructure, establishing the board, setting the priorities, and then allowing them to start to build in whether it’s grant programs or doing the analysis to see what could we actually do for compensation, if we know we have 3500, zero to five early childhood workers, and we could get all of them to $22 an hour, it would cost this. So if we could implement those kinds of things, that would be probably the work of the Board, and within the first year is to start establishing the criteria for the service plan, which would be approved, but giving them the flexibility to say now here’s how we want to invest these dollars into years two and three, but it would not be infrastructure and buildings. It might be a single office or two for probably an executive director, a finance person, and then maybe a data person, but so it’d be a small staff governed by that board of directors. Okay,

Unknown Speaker 18:36
thank you very much. And is the thing, a thing that that a gap that I’ve been worried about? Okay. And I don’t know, we’ll see your service plan before we vote, obviously. But it’s something that you could fund ways to bridge the gap between the governor’s tan hours and the rest of the day, because I think getting the children from one place to the other is going to be a struggle.

Unknown Speaker 19:05
It is. Yeah. So how do we blend I called blended and braided funding. That’s what I do in my day job, I take funding sources from all the areas, and the kids get the same service regardless of where the money comes from. Right. And so it would be that on a larger scale, it wouldn’t be trying to house kids 10 hours at this place, bussed them over to this place for 10 hours, it would try to be an inclusive setting for families to choose. This is where I want my child and have it affordable, but also have staff that aren’t turning over and aren’t turning their children away. So all of those things would be really important in that in building the system to begin with.

Unknown Speaker 19:44
Because the waters

Tim Waters 19:46
thanks Mira Peck. Is it fair to assume that that what you’re presenting to us now is the status of the work that you’ve been doing? And that at some point in time, what you you would want from councils, city councils and other groups of elected officials or nonprofit organizations, their boards, etc. or business groups, you’d want an endorsement of this. Not, you know, needed endorsement, I assume until you get into you’re qualified to be on the ballot. Right. Once you have an approved ballot question. That’s when you would want something specifically from groups like this one set there?

Unknown Speaker 20:23
Yes. Because I don’t think it’s fair for you to be able to take up position on something where you don’t even know the ballot question, right. But to be able to do the legal process of getting the service plan, getting all of the the legal things in place, getting the signatures, then we’ll be able to do some polling to see what what is the general public think about this, what would be the best way to put this ballot on an initiative on the ballot in November. And then at that time, we’d like to come back and be able to say, this is what we’re proposing to do, specifically. But at this point, I think initially, we just want to get your initial reaction, things that we maybe should be thinking about, some of you have probably experiences in successful and unsuccessful special districts and ballot initiatives and elections of your own, that I think that this could be really helpful. And as we build the process,

Tim Waters 21:11
you haven’t mentioned this, but it might be worth sharing with both this council and anybody else who’s listening, that this, this alliance is part of a national cohort of similar organizations. You want to talk about that? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 21:26
Tell me you’re talking about that. Yeah, so we’re part of a cohort of I’m not exactly sure if there’s six or eight of us in this first cohort, but these are local county and state ballot initiatives across the country around early childhood initiatives, places like in the, in the south in New Orleans, in California, Georgia, and some of the St. Louis. So some of these are city initiatives, county initiatives, etc. And what we’re learning is is that in some ways, call it Colorado is really a leader in adding early childhood as an option for special districts. other municipalities have good ballot initiatives to bring early childhood dollars in but to do it in a way that is similar to wastewater management, fire protection library districts, we’re learning a ton around how we can build this system better. Because we’re part of a special district. So yes, we were part of a cohort. They are also helping us with some of the initial funding around the service plan, the financial plan, making sure we’re checking all the legal boxes. We’re also in conversations with several early childhood, local foundations and statewide foundations that are very interested in this. And I’m really excited about Longmont in particular being a leader in what could Colorado look like across the state if local municipalities really invest in early childhood? Like some of our other partners across the country? You

Tim Waters 22:54
mentioned they who’s the de, that’s this pull this cohort together.

Unknown Speaker 23:01
Here, early childhood, children’s funding children’s funding campaign, children’s funding campaign. Thank you. That’s the national organization that were a part of the cohort.

Unknown Speaker 23:13
I would just like to say that this law has been on the books since 2019. No one has used it yet. We would be the first in the state to create this type of a special district for early childhood. It’s really quite exciting.

Unknown Speaker 23:30
Seeing no one else in the queue, I want to thank you, Matt, this has been a great presentation, and is exactly what we need. And I am all for it. You had asked people who have been working with other special districts. What were some of the barriers? Yes. Keep the politics out of it. Yes. He won’t get anywhere. If you have the politics.

Unknown Speaker 23:53
Yes. What we’ve learned is that the the people that we thought would be in opposition, just like what Councilman Rodriguez was saying, if there is a special district to be considered early childhood is certainly an area where as we might say, we could get on board with this because it is not politically it affects single parents, large employers, small employers, city and school district employers and our whole community. So it is something that I think we could really rally around. There is in your packet, the one pager that kind of summarizes all of this. The thing that I would say is that the right now the geographic boundaries we have defined as the boundaries of the St. Vrain in the Boulder Valley School District, but we are really targeting the Boulder County and the Weld County parts of the St. Brandon Boulder Valley School District. So that’s in your packet as well.

Unknown Speaker 24:41
So one more thing when you go through all of the legal and getting the counties in the filings, everything that you need to do. Are you going to present to the different city councils because they are the ones that will be understanding mostly about this that’s getting to the grasp? roots level of people.

Unknown Speaker 25:01
Yes, we want to do this at every city council within the jurisdiction of Boulder in Weld County and the st. Brandon Boulder Valley School Districts.

Unknown Speaker 25:08
Great. Thank you so much.

Unknown Speaker 25:10
You’re the first I will say.

Unknown Speaker 25:13
Well, I’m glad about that. Thank you. So we’re now at first call public invited to be heard. Remember that if your name is on the list, I will call your name. We need your name address and you have three minutes. The first one on our list tonight is well actually it’s the Longmont Youth Council. So Jenny, come on up with your council and I have no I told Jenny before the meeting that I have never seen so many students interested in being on this council. I’m incredibly impressed.

Unknown Speaker 25:50
Hello, everyone. Good evening. My name is Jenny Diaz Leon and I am a community coordinator with the Children Youth and Family division. It’s an honor to be here tonight to present to you this year’s Youth Council cohort.

Unknown Speaker 26:05
Hi there. My name is Stephanie Mao. I’m a senior at nyuad High School. I’m also the Vice President of the Council. Today I will introduce you to those who are present our Longmont City Youth Council so those who are reappointed are Austin Brubaker, myself, ally to be Briana Lofgren, Brooklyn bottom, Brooklyn Goldstone, Mo mill Chuck Greta Weddell Josh litski Lee, Katherine Thuy, Katie Bogdanova Mingo Lu and Phoebe McLean. Those who are appointed this year are Rima Bhatia. Bhupen Jane boosh, Holly Jane Musco and Dylan and Paloma Delgado CORCHADO.

Unknown Speaker 26:46
City council thank you all for having us here. My name is Austin Brubaker. I’m a senior at Silver Creek High School and I’m the president of youth council. I’m just going to tell you a few of the project updates that we have so far this past year. Last fall, the Longmont youth council came back in person for the first time since 2018. Throughout the pandemic, we kept active with several projects, including lendahand, which members collected hygiene products for youth in need. And we also volunteered with reading league to support elementary students in practicing and improving their reading skills. refined our mind was a forum illuminating the experiences of a group of multigenerational community members through the journeys with mental health. Worries recently, we held our annual food drive Halloween for the hungry, and we collected over 500 canned goods and donated them to Wellspring food and clothing bank. We’re currently working on hosting a new round of grant opportunities to support projects led by youth organizations. The application process was open through January to mid February and we’re now working on our interview process with that. Another focus for this semester is to increase awareness and accessibility to many youth specific resources in our community has to offer you plan to create a resource guide to make it easier for youth to get the support we need. And lastly, we’re planning an environmental project in April and we’ll encourage other Longmont youth to get involved to help clean up their surrounding communities. We’re very thankful to be here tonight in front of the city council and we thank everyone for your time and support of Longmont Youth Council. We have to continue growing our team and positively impacting the community and people around us thank you

Unknown Speaker 28:28
thank you would you

Unknown Speaker 28:37
would you like to have a picture we would like to have a picture with all of you City Council and the new youth council

Unknown Speaker 29:05
okay everyone has to squished

Unknown Speaker 29:21
come this way come this way

Unknown Speaker 29:31
Oh no. Okay, thank you okay.

Unknown Speaker 29:42
Thanks for you

Tim Waters 30:00
Do you have any questions or

Unknown Speaker 30:12
are you ready

Unknown Speaker 30:22
so the next one on our list is Brent’s Brett Sloane.

Unknown Speaker 30:32
Good evening Mayor Peck and the rest of the council My name is Brett Sloane. I live at 2307 Tyrion drive. I represent the Longmont pickleball club and all the local players and I’m here to highlight an opportunity for more pickleball courts in Longmont a little background the tennis court surface of Collier Park is scheduled for complete renewal this year as a scheduled maintenance activity. The rehab plan is for the tennis courts at Collier Park to be restored as two tennis courts with comark pickleball just as the park is laid out today. And opportunity exists to renew the tennis court service Clark Centennial Park at the same time as Collier and save some money call it a volume discount as part of the proposed renovation at Clark Centennial that two tennis courts could be converted to six pickleball courts with permanent nets in much the same way that hoever Park was converted from tennis to pickleball some years ago. However, there’s currently no money in the parks department budget, even at a discounted price. To perform this proposed renovation, converting the two tennis courts at Clark Centennial to six pickleball courts yield a total of 14 pickleball courts there and opens the way for tournaments and larger events. Beyond the big events, six courts, permanent courts could double the available play day to day opportunities and take pressure off over Park. Currently the only permanent courts in town park Centennial Park could be a substantial draw not only for Longmont, pickleball players but also for players from neighboring communities and foster greatest greater use of that park. As long as there’s sunshine and reasonable temperatures. pickleball players will be outside try and play. The Parks Department has indicated that the minimum funding required to sign a contract with the rehab vendor is $20,000. But more is funded to is needed to fully fund this project. The Longmont pickleball club has initiated a fundraising effort and I come before you to ask that you join with us and a public private partnership. A generous Council contribution of 20,000 from the council contingency fund would help us get this project moving. Will you join us that’s all thanks

Unknown Speaker 33:02
something to think about Steve ALTSCHULER.

Unknown Speaker 33:16
Good evening, my name is Steve ALTSCHULER. I live at 1565 Taylor drive. I’ve spoken a little bit about this before, but it’s something that needs to keep being talked about. I feel that our country is the greatest, most prosperous country on Earth. First, because we’re rooted in the prospect that all people are created equal. This is not mean that everyone has equal portions, it means that everyone should have an equal opportunity. What a person chooses to do with that opportunity is up to them. We’re also great because of the twin rules of free market capitalism, free market capitalism, and supply and demand. Example 30 plus years ago, I bought a gateway computer for $2,500 $7,500 in today’s money, now you can buy a phone with 100 times more information, and 50 times faster for 1/5 the price that’s because of supply and demand. 60 years ago, McDonald’s started an empire and soon after Burger King Wendy’s and more jumped in to compete for their share is long as government butts out these systems work really well. But government refuses to bite out. Look at low income housing, the drug problem and homelessness. Low Income Housing is we’ve spent millions for 20 plus years and the need is bigger than ever. Do they share apartments like I did in my 20s to save money trying something new? Do they have to attend Front Range college to better themselves and increase their worth? As many others do? Do they have to maintain a c plus average to get another year of low income how causing. And if they don’t, then they have to move out. Make them be responsible for their own future too. Don’t trust I’m sorry, don’t just take from those who already made their own sacrifices. Homelessness, same idea. Take those truly mentally challenged, and house them appropriately. For all the others have them work for their benefits. They can pick up trash, they can paint over graffiti, they can clean and vacuum government buildings. Having them work will build their self esteem to and drugs. What moron really thinks that giving drug addicts free drugs free needles and a place to shoot up is actually good for anyone. When you give people anything for free socialism, most will stop having any desire to provide for themselves. This applies to everything food, housing, education, transportation, etc. Please try to find ways that those in need can contribute can contribute to their own success to enable them only creates more need and more in need. Thank you

Unknown Speaker 36:18
Thank you, Steve. Ethan. I’m sorry. Is it all green? Okay, thank you

Unknown Speaker 36:31
Ethan Itamar green Lanthier button rock. I mean to speak on the issue of Denver Broncos funding for youth activities. I commend you for slowing down and taking a more methodical and deliberate approach in order to get the process right and clarify the city’s priorities rather than throwing the money at the first bright and shiny object that comes along. Now there’s a proposal on the table for $500,000 plus another million dollars for the Longmont Museum.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai