Fort Collins City Council discusses disposable bag ordinance


Collegian | Ryan Schmidt

Fort Collins City Council in session Sept. 21, 2021. The city council heard from community members and moved forward with a variety of ordinances impacting Poudre School District, local marijuana codes, infrastructure and other aspects of the City.

CTV News: Kenneth Frederick

Austria Cohn, News Reporter

The Fort Collins City Council passed the first reading of changes made to the disposable bag ordinance, which included lowering the cost per bag.

The City Council met Feb. 15 to discuss temporary housing for Marshall and Boulder County fire victims, the disposable bag ordinance, the finalists for the city manager and the City code.


“I felt very convicted at that point that that was something that we as a council needed to move forward on, which we did.”-Councilmember Susan Gutowsky, District 1

Disposable bag ordinance 

The amendments to this ordinance passed unanimously, 6-0, and the plastic bag ban will be in effect May 1.

Changes to the ordinance include:

  • Lower fee for paper bags from 12 cents to 10 cents
  • 60% of the paper bag revenue will go to the City and 40% will go to the grocers, rather than the 50-50 split Fort Collins voters approved
  • Allow for further exemptions through administrative rule if the council is given notice before they become effective

“Maintaining a broad definition allows for exemption for participants of federal, state, county and local income-qualified programs to have the greatest equity impact,” said Katy McLaren, lead climate specialist for the City.

Councilmember Kelly Ohlson, District 5, thanked council members Susan Gutowsky, District 1; Julie Pignataro, District 2; and Emily Francis, Mayor Pro Tem, District 6 because they were previously on the council that got this ordinance originally passed.

“I just want to thank you for your insight and courage,” Ohlson said. “Some may say it’s kind of small — it’s one thing, but it also can lead to other things.”

“I felt very convicted at that point that that was something that we as a council needed to move forward on, which we did,” Gutowsky said. “It is a very, very good feeling to be voting on that and to know that in May, we’re actually going to see it come to fruition.”

McLaren said the City has done engagement and outreach for members of the community including large grocers.

“Over the last several months, we had the opportunity to engage all the large grocers that provide bags, as well as several disproportionately impacted stakeholder groups, including seniors, low and moderate-income households and community members with disabilities,” McLaren said.

Temporary Fort Collins housing for Boulder County Marshall Fire victims

This ordinance allows Fort Collins residents to apply for permits to request relief from the Occupancy Ordinance Land Use Code and host people impacted by the Marshall Fire in Boulder County.


This was passed unanimously, excluding Pignataro from the vote. Pignataro participated virtually and, due to the current rules of the council, was unable to vote but was able to contribute to the discussion.

Council members also released the six city manager finalists who will be part of the candidate forum on March 7, according to the Fort Collins City website.

The city manager finalists include:

  • Kelly DiMartino, current interim city manager for Fort Collins
  • Tobin Follenweider
  • Marianna Marysheva
  • Jennifer Phillips
  • Charles “Chip” Place
  • Jim Thompson

There is more information about each candidate on the city manager recruitment page.

The council also voted on the first reading of the 2021 International Building Codes, the Colorado Plumbing Code, and local amendments. There were nine individual ordinances that passed unanimously. The second reading will take place March 1.

The full video and voting results are on the Fort Collins City webpage.

Reach Austria Cohn at or on Twitter @AustriaCohn.