Presentation to Longmont City Council, May 24, 2011:
They say that the “devil is in the details.” But sometimes the devil is in statements so broad that you can drive a Mack truck through them. Such is the case with the Intergovernmental Agreement between Longmont and Firestone .
I’m not so naïve as to believe that this isn’t already a done deal. After all, staff is recommending it and it is to appear on Firestone’s Agenda two days from today. This is a prime example of the need for much more transparency in negotiations. While there is certainly time for an Open Records Request between now and the Public Hearing, I can’t help but wonder how many staff emails and notes would be declined public access as “work product.” And while I have no knowledge about the final vote count on this, there is no doubt that there are already four pre-determined “yes” votes or the item would not have been advanced to first reading. Guess which four I’m referring to.
Sections 3.0 and 8.0 set forth notification requirements, but lo and behold there’s no substantive penalty for failure. Both state that failure to comply with notice requirements will not invalidate the subject annexations, zoning or subdividing of any parcel of land located within the Union-St. Vrain Planning Area established by this Agreement. And Section 10.0 states that “each Party expressly waives any right to claim against the other Party any damages for any breach or violation of this Agreement.”
Section 6.0: “Firestone and Longmont agree to cooperate with each other to the extent possible (and
with respective special districts) in planning for construction for future utilities, including
but not limited to water and sewer lines, which are reasonably necessary to serve future
development within their own borders…”
Does the public know that within days of LifeBridge withdrawing its Longmont annexation request that a member of the Water Board asked staff to investigate the possibility of selling Longmont water to LifeBridge, fully expecting some kind of development to still occur? It’s in the record.
And then there’s County Road 26. Longmont was all set to give away a portion of the Hernor Open Space to LifeBridge for the realignment of CR26. Better to forfeit open space than require LifeBridge to align the road using some its property. Let Longmont pay. Socialize losses; privatize profits.
Section 4.3: “Firestone and Longmont agree to cooperate on a road alignment and design necessary to accommodate the reservoir expansion and other land uses adjacent to the roadway alignment.”
Translation = the giveaway is at a minimum “back on the table” if not quietly agreed to out of view of the public.
The foregoing is not exhaustive, but it’s more than enough to 1) send staff back to the drawing board or 2) scrap any IGA with Firestone altogether.
The Intergovernmental Agreement between Longmont and Firestone was advanced to Public Hearing and Second Reading on a 5/2 vote with Council Members Hansen and McCoy dissenting.