On a 4-1 vote, the Delta City Council decided Aug. 2 to contract with a legal firm to revitalize the Delta Urban Renewal Authority established in the 1980s.
Councilmember Gerald Roberts cast the dissenting vote, saying he believes the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Torgler recommended the firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farmer Schreck, which has extensive experience with urban renewal authorities. He said the legal firm will provide a "good foundation" for DURA, which is seen as the funding source for economic development opportunities in the City of Delta.
The 12-month contract calls for monthly payments of $6,000, with $30,000 payable in 2016 and $42,000 to be budgeted for 2017. A grant from the Department of Local Affairs will cover 50 percent of the cost, up to $25,000.
Councilmember Bill Raley previously expressed doubts about the two economic development projects that have been identified -- the gateway/hotel project and river corridor improvements. "But if we're going to go through with this, we do need the best legal representation we can get," he said, casting an affirmative vote for the contract.
DURA can issue bonds, seek grants, obtain tax increment financing, and facilitate public-private partnerships to help fund the proposed improvements. After a project plan is developed and funds are secured, DURA can then proceed with land acquisition, infrastructure improvements, river projects, and environmental cleanup as needed along the Gunnison River corridor.
Once funding is in place the city plans to seek reimbursement for the legal expenses incurred on behalf of DURA.