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La Veta amends 2020 budget to account for unanticipated flood-mitigation money

by Mark Craddock
LA VETA — La Veta may not have seen disaster-causing monsoonal rains last summer, but the town government did receive an unexpected windfall while working to hedge against a future flood. But even pennies from heaven must be accounted for.

In its first official action of the new year, the La Veta Town Board passed Resolution 1-21, a measure which recalculates the general fund appropriations in the 2020 budget to account for an unanticipated federal and state windfall in funding for Cucharas River channel restoration and flood mitigation.

In 2020, the town budgeted $500,000 for channel restoration and received $857,508.98 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, for a total revenue of $1,357,508.98.

The town subsequently spent $1,142,316.24 on flood-mitigation projects, leaving a balance of $215,192.74. That balance, the resolution says, is for reimbursement of flood-mitigation money spent in 2019 that was not received until 2020.
There was no line item in the 2020 budget to account for this extra money. So, in the interests of keeping bookkeepers and auditors happy, not to mention town trustees out of jail, the resolution amends the town’s 2020 budget as follows:
“Be it resolved by the board of trustees of the town of La Veta that the 2020 appropriation for the general fund is hereby increased from $1,831,636 to $2,689,145 for the following purposes: River Channel Flood Restoration and Mitigation projects due to the Spring Fire.”

In other business
• The town board appointed Trustee Derek Sokoloski as liaison to an advisory committee to make recommendations to Two Peaks Fitness for transformation and use of the Robert Brunelli gymnasium at La Veta High School, once the school moves into its new facility north of town. The school board has asked Two Peaks Fitness to manage the gym as a community recreation center.

• Trustees accepted as substantially complete a commercial redevelopment permit for William and Kelly Sill of the La Veta Country Store to operate a food trailer on the site. Mr. Sill explained that the store is presently preparing food outdoors, which is challenging in the winter months. The food trailer, he said, is a stopgap measure until the store can remodel its indoor kitchen facilities. The matter has been set for a public hearing Jan. 19 at 6:45 p.m.

• Trustees unanimously voted to enter into a nonexclusive revocable fiber optic permit with the technology firm Lumen, which plans to lay underground fiber-optic cable under a portion of Main Street and W. Francisco Street, to power poles that will allow installation of high-bandwidth internet to future customers.

• Trustees voted unanimously to waive liquor license renewals of eligible establishments in the town, in a move encouraged by the state to ease the burden of COVID-19 closures on the businesses. The town estimates a loss of revenues of about $300 this year because of the move.