Trustees Approve Funding and Award Contract for New Buena Vista Police Station – by Landon James

On June 14, 2022, the Buena Vista City Board of Directors (BOT) met to discuss the future of several ongoing projects the city oversees. Top of the agenda was an update on the approval of funding for the construction of the new police station and the awarding of the construction contract.

The BOT was asked if it should approve the passage of Ordinance No. 21, Series 2022, entitled “An ordinance of the city of Buena Vista, Colorado authorizing the execution and delivery of a site lease and a lease-purchase agreement

Buena Vista City Hall. Photo by Henry DeKam

In line with the BOT’s recommendation to continue to seek funding for the new police station, BV City staff partnered with Collegiate Peaks Bank, Stifel Finance, Hoffman, Parker, Wilson and Carberry, and Butler Snow Bond Attorneys to reach a lease-purchase agreement. Alan Matlosz, managing director of Stifel’s Colorado Public Finance Group, spoke to the BOT via Zoom with details of the site lease agreement and funding for the new police station.

Matlosz explained that Order No. 21 is for the approval of $3,100,000 lease financing with Collegiate Peaks Bank in Buena Vista. After a thorough and competitive search for the best financing options, Collegiate Peaks Bank won the bid and provided a 15-year lease at a fixed interest rate of 3.25%. The funding presented to the BOT was for a lease-to-own agreement “whereby the city agrees to lease the building to Collegiate Peaks Bank, receive $3.1 million in proceeds to renovate the building, and then lease the building to the bank for 15 years,” according to a note from Stifel Public Finance.

Law firm Butler Snow has prepared several financing documents for the BOT to review, including the order, site lease, and rental agreement. These three documents contain all the parameters and financial guidelines for the lease of the new police station. Of particular note is that in the lease for the site it is stated that Collegiate Peaks Bank will hold the lease on the property for 25 years, a decade longer than the lease agreement, in order to give the bank more time to recover the loan amount in the “slight chance that the city decides not to appropriate the rent. Once the site lease is paid, the site lease disappears,” according to the Stifel memo.

Trustees said they were pleased with the opportunity to use a local BV bank to support the community in another way through this project and the ordinance was unanimously approved.

Next on the agenda was Resolution No. 45, Series 2022, which approved an agreement with MW Golden Constructors for construction work on the new police station.

Buena Vista City Planning Director Joseph Teipel took the stage to explain the details of the resolution. Teipel explained that the city is awaiting a response from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) regarding the acceptance of a $600,000 grant to help fund construction. As of Tuesday evening, the City had not received confirmation or refusal of receipt of the grant.

Meanwhile, Teipel explained, building material prices continue to rise at an exponential rate. In Resolution #45, 2022 Series, Teipel outlines two distinct options for the BOT to consider and implement. The first: a “term contract” with MW Golden Constructors to ensure the acquisition of “long-term materials” so that construction can start as planned on the new police station pending a decision from DOLA.

The second scenario proposes a full contract with MW Golden Constructors in case the DOLA grant is not awarded to the city. Teipel explained that if the $600,000 DOLA grant is awarded to the city, the money would be allowed to “pay expenses that were incurred, or under contract, prior to the date a full grant contract is executed at the times by the city and the state”. In order to operate most efficiently, the new police station must be at least 8,400 square feet in size to operate safely and in compliance; however, Teipel and the city hope build a 10,000 square foot expansion eventually Teipel said the goals of this building plan are to provide a “forever home” for the Buena Vista Police Department.

If administrators approve either construction option, the proposed start date would be July 11, 2022, with a nine-month “construction window” and expected completion in April 2023. However, Teipel notes , the construction window could be significantly reduced if critical materials can be acquired faster than expected.

Moving forward, Teipel presented two scenarios for the BOT to consider. Scenario 1 (Exhibits A2 and B of the futures contract) would require approval of $961,673, allowing essential workers, subcontractors and construction to start on schedule and continue until that DOLA received word, in which case the contract with MW Golden Constructors would still be within parameters to satisfy DOLA grant requirements. If no word was heard from DOLA, Scenario 2 (exhibits A1 and B of the full contract) would authorize a full construction contract with MW Golden Constructors for the sum of $4,070,238. A proposal was also made to amend the current budget from $4,460.00 to $5,787,158.

A motion was made to pass Resolution #45 with Scenario 1 Forward Contract Exhibit A2 & B which the directors unanimously passed in an effort to meet the construction schedule and avoid, as much as possible, pay higher costs for building materials in the future while awaiting word on the DOLA price.

Shining Mountains Montessori School Update

Lisa Lamb, homeroom teacher and principal of The Shining Mountains Montessori School, took to the podium to update the BOT on the progress of her newly opened school located in the historic chapel at 343 US 24 South. After extensive renovations and upgrades to the 140-year-old building, including a new water heater and welcome sign, Lamb thanked the support of the City of BV for helping turn a decaying chapel into a center of brilliant learning.

“It’s become a beautiful little Montessori school,” beamed Lamb.

Phillip Puckett called the collaboration with The Shining Mountains Montessori and the City of BV a “tremendous partnership” and was proud to see Lamb take to heart the historical significance of one of BV’s oldest surviving buildings. The Shining Mountains Montessori School currently provides employment for over 30 families and plans to have its official ribbon cutting at the school next Wednesday, June 22. Lamb said the event is open to the public and encouraged everyone to join in the celebration.

Liquor license fees apply

Next on the agenda was a public hearing for the acquisition of a hotel and liquor license for Miana BV, an LLC doing business as Bread + Salt BV. A stop work order had been issued by the city because Michael Ulelha, owner of Bread + Salt, had failed to pay the proper fees to the city and county of Chaffee when his application for a hotel and restaurant license was submitted.

Ulelha appeared before the BOT and pleaded for forgiveness and pardon, claiming the failure to comply was his ignorance of the process, and fell solely on his shoulders. The BOT explained that once the appropriate fees and applications are submitted, it can take two to five weeks to receive approval.

Upon further inspection, it was found that Ulelha owned several other restaurants in Frisco and Breckenridge. But when asked if he was unaware of the proper procedures for applying for a hotel and liquor license, and if he had encountered these issues before with his other restaurants, Ulelha said he t was the first time he had struggled to acquire these licenses. As of June 14, the day of the trustees’ meeting, Ulelha had paid the required municipal fee, but still had not paid the Chaffee County liquor license fee. Until the fees are paid and the proper procedures are followed, the city will not and cannot issue the hotel and liquor license.

Other items of note at the BOT meeting included the proposed renaming of several roads leading to the Buena Vista airport to reflect a more aeronautical theme and updates on fundraising efforts for the new facility for boys and girls. During personnel updates, City Administrator Phillip Puckett informed the BOT of the ongoing job search for his replacement as he transitions to City Treasurer. At the time of the meeting, nine candidates had thrown their hats into the ring with the June 15 application deadline fast approaching. Puckett explained that the list of nominees would remain secret until the finalists were approved.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28.

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