Breck considers raise for Berry |

Breck considers raise for Berry

BRECKENRIDGE – The Breckenridge Town Council recently approved its annual contract with attorney Tim Berry, which includes a $5 an hour raise for various work his firm does on behalf of the town.The town has, over the 17 years Berry has worked for the town, agreed to increase his fees every three years. The last increase was in 2002.Berry proposes to increase his nonlitigation hourly rate to $130, his litigation rate to $130 an hour and his pass-through rate – those issues that can be passed on to third parties such as real estate developers – to $215 an hour.Berry’s associate, Seth Murphy, who handles the town’s municipal court prosecutions, would receive a pay increase of $5, to $95 an hour.The raises range in percentage from 2.4 percent to 4 percent.Town council members agree he’s worth every penny.”First, Tim is a first-rate attorney. Secondly, he’s a pleasure to deal with, unlike other first-rate attorney’s I’ve dealt with,” said Mayor Ernie Blake. “He deals well with pressure, he has lots of experience, and he’s one heck of a nice guy. We are very fortunate to have him and his caliber available to us.””Tim has done an incredible job over these many years he’s served us,” said Councilmember Larry Crispell, who has served on the council for almost 10 years. “The way I look at it, he doesn’t cost the town money, he saves the town money through his very judicious advice, which is extremely sound.”In the past three years, Berry has worked on numerous agreements, including negotiations between the town and ski resort regarding development approvals on Peaks 7 and 8, deed restrictions on affordable housing and working with numerous state and federal agencies to craft the B&B Mines land acquisition.Additionally, he has worked on contentious liquor license issues, defended the town in various lawsuits and worked on purchase agreements for numerous open space parcels.Berry is one of three people who work for the town council. The others are town manager Tim Gagen and Municipal Judge Buck Allen.Berry said he spends about 80 percent of his time working on town issues, primarily with the staff.”What I like best is working with what I think is a wonderful staff,” he said. “The councils are wonderful, but I don’t get to work with them on a day-to-day basis. It’s an odd sort of legal niche, but I do enjoy it.”Berry cites the Block 11 litigation among his biggest recent accomplishments. That involved five years worth of litigation between various business entities owned by Win Lockwood and the town and school district that was trying to obtain the land on which Upper Blue Elementary School now sits.”That was very difficult litigation,” Berry said. “I’m pleased with the outcome, but sorry it had to come down to condemning the property.”It’s those tough cases and the daily work with town staff that makes council members believe Berry’s worth his fee, Gagen said.In Frisco, Thad Renoux of Gorsuch Kirgis of Denver makes a flat-rate fee of $150 an hour. The town spent $176,000 for his services in 2003 and has $150,000 budgeted for both 2004 and 2005, said Linda Lichtendahl, public relations director for the town. Additionally, the town pays his firm a $1,240 monthly retainer to have Renoux attend town council meetings.Silverthorne retains Jerry Dahl, also of Gorsuch Kirgis, for $150 an hour, and Dillon pays Mark Shapiro of Boulder $150 an hour. He generally works an average of 15 hours a month for the town.Gagen applauded Berry’s expertise in municipal government, which he said is among the best in Colorado. He also noted that Berry is extremely knowledgeable about the town’s planning code, a unique and highly complex document that often is difficult to interpret.”I don’t think the town could have ever found a more suitable counsel for us,” Crispell said. “His rates are very reasonable and competitive in the legal market. The town of Breckenridge is served well by the counsel of Tim Berry – no doubt about it.”

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