Surprise, shock and anger. Those are just some of the words that describe the reactions of Arnold City Council members when they learned the city was short nearly $1 million for a road development project adjacent to the CVS planned near Highway 141 and Jeffco Boulevard.
In October 2011, the council approved an estimated budget for the project of $2.9 million, City Attorney Bob Sweeney said. At the last council meeting, David Glarner, the project's developer, informed the council that Matt Unrein, former city administrator, had approved a revised budget of nearly $3.9 million in August 2012.
However, city council members and finance officials say they were never notified of the new budget. Some council members blamed Glarner for not letting the council know about the difference. But Glarner said he was instructed to work only with the city administrator.
"It's not his (Glarner's) fault," Ward 2 Councilwoman Michelle Hohmeier said. "The person he was communicating with wasn't communicating with us."
Stay up-to-date on business news by liking Arnold Patch on Facebook.
Other council members wanted to bring in Unrein and question him about the issue.
"Bringing in Mr. Unrein and raking him over the coals isn't going to change the fact that we still owe $1 million," Ward 3 Councilman Phil Amato said.
Police Chief Robert Shockey, who also is working as acting city administrator, told council members he had some ideas on how to find the money needed for the project, and that he would share the ideas in closed session.
Patch was unable to reach Shockey by phone or email.
Background on the Project
The project is the first leg of a larger plan to create a road that runs from Michigan Avenue to Highway 141, Finance Director Debbie Lewis explained in an interview with Patch. The road, which would alleviate traffic congestion on Jeffco Boulevard, has been in the city's comprehensive plan for many years.
Part of the project will be funded by tax revenue from the city's existing Transportation Development District (TDD), which includes the Arnold Commons, Arnold Crossroads and Watertower Place shopping districts, Lewis said. The rest of the project will be funded by the city.
A TDD is a retail development area in which patrons pay an extra sales tax, which goes to the district or local city for the development and maintence of roads within the district. The tax can range from 1/8 of a cent up to 1 cent. The tax rate in the current Arnold retail corridor is 1 percent.
The city is trying to form a new TDD for CVS and Applebee's, Lewis added. That would also help pay for the first part of the road.
Lewis said the project is by far the most expensive piece of the long-term road plan because of the solid rock wall that was on Jeffco Boulevard between QuikTrip and Applebee's. Additionally, she said the project includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in acquisitions from neighboring businesses.
See other business stories on Arnold Patch: