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2023 budget, district attorney report top busy agenda for Loveland City Council – Loveland Reporter-Herald & More News

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At its Oct. 4 regular meeting,  Loveland City Council voted unanimously to adopt the staff-recommended 2023 city budget, with a few notable adjustments. At Tuesday’s regular meeting, both the budget and one of those adjustments will be back for a second vote.

But first, council will be hearing from the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s office, with its annual report on prosecutions for 2022.

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Mayor Jacki Marsh and Councilor Jon Mallo also will introduce new business items, on citywide staffing shortages and “homeless campers on wheels,” respectively.

Finally, Loveland Parks and Recreation will ask City Council to vote on annexing 79 acres south of First Street to create the Willow Bend park and natural area, the region’s first adaptive recreation site.

Larimer Humane Society

Among the items that didn’t make it into the version of the 2023 budget that council voted on two weeks ago was funding for the Larimer Humane Society, a topic that has come under increasing scrutiny from Loveland City Council over the past year.

In fact, council voted 5-3 on an ordinance to remove funding for the agency from the 2023 budget, after several members balked at the requested amount of $779,815, a 40% increase over 2022.

On Tuesday, the ordinance is returning for a second vote as an item on the regular agenda, meaning it will be subject to public comment and council discussion.

Loveland’s funding for the nonprofit Humane Society first drew a skeptical eye from City Council during last year’s budget process, after the agency’s contract proposal rose sharply, the result of a new formula for calculating estimated annual costs.

According to Humane Society Chief Executive Officer Judy Calhoun, the agency performed a financial audit a few years ago, and determined that it had been undercharging its three largest jurisdictions (Loveland, the city of Fort Collins, and Larimer County) for contracted services.

Calhoun said that the agency held off asking for the higher amounts during the pandemic, but went forward with the new requests last year, ultimately securing agreements with Fort Collins and the county.

However, behind objections from Councilor Steve Olson, Loveland City Council agreed only to fund a portion of the increase in 2022, and asked for more discussion of the matter before taking a vote on the 2023 amount.

Olson contends that the Humane Society is inflating the amount of its cost increases and has pointed to data in its annual reports that show a decline in the average number of daily calls, animal pick-ups, and other services between 2018 and 2021.

He has also said that the city shouldn’t be paying the nonprofit for services beyond what it has contracted for.

Willow Bend Addition

In 2016, the city of Loveland purchased a 79-acre parcel of land between First Street and the Big Thompson River, with the intention of turning it into a park and natural area.

In the years since, the parks and recreation department has secured nearly $3 million in grants to develop the area, and plans are underway to create an adaptive recreation site, with an outdoor education center, sports fields, trails and a fishing pier.

However, Willow Bend currently lies outside formal city boundaries, so Parks and Recreation is asking City Council to annex the property and change its zoning from light industrial to public parks.

The request also includes a zoning change to public parks for a one-acre parcel on the north side of First Street that was donated by developers of the Millennium SW First subdivision.

How to participate

The council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at the Municipal Building, 500 E. Third St.

Comments from members of the public will be accepted in person as well as over Zoom.

Those wishing to join by Zoom can use the ID 975 3779 6504 with a passcode of 829866, according to the meeting agenda.

The meeting will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 16/880, Pulse TV channel 16 and streamed through the city’s website at lovgov.org/tv.

Tuesday’s agenda packet can be found through the Loveland City Council’s website at lovgov.org.

2023 budget, district attorney report top busy agenda for Loveland City Council – Loveland Reporter-Herald

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