Backyard Chickens: Complying with Municipal Requirements for Suburban Poultry

In recent years, growing popularity for keeping chickens in urban and suburban areas has caused many municipalities to adopt ordinances governing backyard chicken operations. While homegrown eggs delight many, the noise and smell of poultry can be a nuisance to nearby neighbors.

Did you know that many municipalities in Colorado require a permit or license for a resident to keep chickens in their backyard? Without one, you could be subject to fines and other penalties. Some municipalities don’t allow backyard chickens at all.

In Greeley, a resident must have a minimum lot size to have chickens, and many residential lots do not meet this requirement. Fort Collins, however, allows up to eight chickens on lots smaller than ½ an acre, but requires the Humane Society to issue a permit before the resident can have any chickens. Fort Collins does not allow roosters, which likely makes those who like to sleep in on the weekends grateful. The City of Loveland has much less restrictive requirements, does not limit the number of chickens a resident can own, and does not require a permit or license. Windsor allows up to six hens per lot, requires that the chicken coop be at the back of the lot, and requires chickens to be locked in the coop from dusk to dawn.

The differences in chicken ordinances vary greatly in Weld and Larimer Counties. Before starting a backyard chicken operation, check with your local municipality to make sure you comply with all ordinances concerning poultry. Most towns and cities have their code available online. If you live in a neighborhood, you should also check the county property records to see if there are any restrictive covenants concerning chickens. By properly consulting your municipality, you’ll make sure your backyard chicken operation is positively egg-cellent.

Lia Szasz
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
1812 56th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80634

Payroll & Workforce Services

Avoid Year-End Payroll Surprises

Employers were required to have their 2018 W2s mailed or distributed to employees and submitted, as well, to the Social Security Administration no later than January 31, 2019. The IRS fines based on lateness of these forms are $50 per form within 30 days of the due date.  Over time, the penalty will rise to $100 per form if filed before August 1st.  The maximum fine is $260 per form if filed after August 1st.

Colorado increased the minimum wage for 2019 to $11.10 for non-tipped employees. To be in compliance with labor laws, be sure you have an updated state and federal labor poster hanging at your job site in an area where employees frequent.  Failure to hang updated posters at your workplace results in costly penalties, fines and possible lawsuits.

Employees​ may be surprised to find that they owe money with their 2018 personal tax return or that their​ refund will not be as large as they expected.  Because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 passed, many employees saw a bump in their net paycheck; however, this may translate to taxes due in April if they didn’t plan appropriately.  With Payroll Vault payroll services, it’s easy for an employee to change their withholding allowances online at any time with their online login or app on their smart device. A good tool for employees to use for figuring their W4 withholdings is the IRS payroll calculator:

Payroll Vault is a Colorado company with local expertise. Partner with Payroll Vault to streamline your payroll process and make the next year transition smooth and penalty free.

Zane Glover I  Payroll Consultant
325 Cherry Street, Suite 110
Fort Collins, Colorado 80521
970-691-8346 (ph) 


How To Differentiate Between IT Service Providers

Like people, IT service providers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Unfortunately for the typical client, what the provider says they do and what the client will ultimately experience can be two different things. I have had numerous business owners tell me that it is nearly impossible to decipher the differences between managed service providers. Here are several basic questions that should be helpful in sorting through the claims a provider makes:

• Process is everything – ask the provider to discuss and show you how they manage your IT environment. Ask to see their checklists and process flow documents. For example; ask how trouble tickets are prioritized and escalated. How does the provider monitor and manage backups? Can you be assured that your data is safe, secure and recoverable? How do they help you recover from an email breach? An operationally mature provider should easily be able to provide that information and more for you.

• Documentation is critical to success – without excellent documentation of your network, a provider will struggle to understand detailed issues, therefore resolving issues will become more difficult and time consuming. Ask the provider to show you a copy of their documentation and how the documentation is laid out.

• Metrics will drive success in a client environment – ask your provider what success looks like in supporting your IT environment. An operationally mature provider should have succinct and meaningful metrics to share with you. The metrics should provide you a keen understanding of your IT plus drive the provider support team to higher levels of competency.

• IT Planning creates stability and reliable expenditures – does your managed service provider regularly strategize with you on IT direction. They should understand your company goals and should also be prepared with well thought out ideas for improvement for your company. Your planning sessions should result in a written planning document plus a budget. Ask to see the provider’s written planning document. Is the document thorough? Does it cover all technology areas of need?

Although many providers “say” good things in the sales process, it is important for businesses to evaluate the depth of the claims that are made. With probing questions, such as those listed above, a company can make an informed decision when choosing a managed IT service provider. Connecting Point provides all the items listed above and more. Let us help you optimize your IT environment. 

Ted Warner
President, Connecting Point
2401 17th Street
Greeley, CO 80634

Health Care

New Mercer Commons Memory Care Offers Respite

New Mercer Commons is now offering short term respite stays in assisted memory care. Respite stays benefit both residents and caregivers alike.  Perhaps your loved one would benefit from more oversight in a small setting, social stimulation, or a secure living environment?  As a caregiver, maybe you need time to catch up on your own life, get away, or simply take a break. Regardless of your reason, a respite stay in New Mercer’s memory care may be the answer!

Our memory care provides a supportive and safe environment where residents are encouraged to continue to participate in life.  We offer both formal and informal activities.  Informal activities are everyday interactions which create personal meaning, a sense of community, choices, and fun.  Staff is trained to help residents engage in these spontaneous moments, which can include setting the table or putting up holiday decorations.   

The formal activities we provide are specifically designed to engage those living with dementia.   Residents are able to choose from a variety of brain, body, and spiritual activities.   We also offer therapeutic activities which include pet and music therapy.  Some of our resident favorite activities are table ball, painting on the patio, and music melodies.

In addition to our regular programs, we provide residents on memory care the opportunity to interact with the local community by bringing in outside resources and coordinating excursions. We offer a variety of entertainment from talented performers in the area. And residents are invited on our activity bus for scenic van drives.

Our memory care offers opportunities for residents to continue to engage. With a respite stay, caregivers can focus on their personal needs or take off on vacation with peace of mind knowing their loved one is receiving the specialized care they need and deserve in an enriching environment.

Molly Spight
Admissions Director
New Mercer Commons
900 Centre Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80525