Monticello City Council reduces property tax rate, adopts budget, amends residential zoning regulation

The Monticello City Council reduced property taxes by nearly .3 percent for fiscal year 2020 during their meeting at the Hideout Community Center on June 18.
The move comes as a result of city growth and is expected to generate approximately $270,000 of revenue. The state-certified rate, of .002661 for 2020, is .000007 lower than the current rate of .002668.
The state-certified property tax rate is a revenue-neutral tax rate adjusted each year based on growth, not inflation.
In other financial business during the June 18 meeting, the city council unanimously adopted a 2019-2020 budget.
The council approved a tentative budget in their May 21 meeting, following a report from City Manager Doug Wright explaining that the city needed to correct the way it accounted for some expenditures.
He said some payments that came from the general fund needed to be taken from the enterprise fund instead.
Also in his May report, Wright said the city will continue into 2020 with basically the same budget it has used in the past.
The goal in developing the 2019-2020 budget, he said, is to minimize expenses and bring it more in line with city revenue.
No changes were made to the tentative budget between the May and June meetings.
The city council approved an amendment to city zoning regulations that will allow city residents to maintain up to two animals on their property for agricultural purposes within city limits.
Wright explained that the ordinance modification was reviewed by the Monticello Planning Commission, which recommended that the city council make the adjustment.
During discussion on the proposed amendment, Councilman George Rice said that people who want to live without animals in their neighborhood would have their rights infringed upon if the regulation was changed.
He proposed that the council should respect the letter and spirit of the law for what was intended in an R-1 residential zone. He added that if the amendment was approved, an already overburdened city staff would be forced to be respond to more complaints.
Mayor Tim Young pointed out that some residents already maintain agricultural animals on their city property even though it had not been included in the regulation as a permitted use, and permitting animals could cause a bigger problem.
Councilman Blaine Nebeker said the language presented by the Planning Commission was positive, and added that he doesn’t consider lambs and goats a bigger problem than dogs.
He explained that the regulation amendment is narrowed down to a specific purpose and will boost the Junior Livestock program.
The initial proposal allowed for up to four animals on one property, but the city council reduced that number to two and approved the zoning regulation amendment with a two to one vote.
During public comment at the June 18 meeting, Linda Lewis expressed concern about trees that have been removed in front of the Monticello Mercantile. She said the Monticello Parks and Beautification Committee has worked hard to make the city look nice and it is discouraging to have the trees cut down.
Mayor Young said as a business owner, he understands the frustration some of the trees are causing but agreed they are beautiful. Lewis reasoned that there should be a system for approval to remove the trees.
Councilman Rice said there are many other varieties of trees that may not cause the problems that the Honey Locusts caused.
Carol Van Steeter reported on several activities involving the Parks and Beautification Committee, including Main Street flowers are out, awards will be given for landscaping, and there will be a gala fundraiser event on September 7.
She said many trees acquired through the Tree City USA program have died due to a lack of care. Van Steeter said she would like a procedure in place for removing trees.
She also presented an idea for purchasing container trees and showed pictures of the trees displayed on Main Street in Cortez, CO.
City Manager Wright reported that “No Camping” signs for Loyds Lake have been ordered. Several residents have been pointing out heavy camping traffic at the lake in recent weeks.
Wright said a fence that was torn down at the Ball Park has been fixed. In addition, providing free dump vouchers during the annual Spring Cleanup greatly reduced city expense.

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