by Carol Dunn
LA VETA-At its December 1 meeting, the La Veta Town Board approved its 2010 budget. Mayor Mickey Schmidt read the highlights of the budget and attendant resolutions, and he pointed out that any year end fund balances will be carried over to next year as increased reserves. The mill levy was set at 4.632 mills on an assessment of $9,329,898. The expected 2010 beginning balance is $491,269, and general fund revenues are expected to be $465,806, for a total available general fund of $957,075. Budgeted administrative expenses are $722,376; police and safety, $129,483; maintenance, $100,751; community services, $4,465; and pension fund, $26,116. The water fund budget is $695,172, and the sewer fund is $361,227.
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad representative Arvin VanRy indicated the railroad’s interest in renewing the lease for office space in the Town Hall building. Unfortunately, 90 days notice was not given to the Town about renewal, so the lease will expire 12/31/09. Mayor Schmidt told VanRy that if the Town entertains the idea of a new lease, “We’re going to need to insist that the office be manned” when Town Hall is open. VanRy apologized that this stipulation in the lease didn’t happen consistently in 2009. “We couldn’t find people to work there,” he said. VanRy said the train is expected to run in 2010 from Memorial Day through December 31. He said significant growth is expected over last year, and more concerts will be planned. Trustee Dale Davis asked VanRy to address parking in a new lease proposal, including better signage. VanRy said the railroad plans to build a historic water tower and asked the Board about getting a ¾” to 1” water tap for water to service the engines. Mayor Schmidt replied that the request depends on limitations which might exist in the Town’s water decree.
Tom Johnston brought a difference of opinion before the Board. According to Town Building Inspector Tom Lessar, Johnston received a temporary building permit for a food stand along the railroad property, and that permit has expired. Johnston said he didn’t remember anything temporary about the transaction, although he is using a portable building on the site. Lessar said the building was never inspected, because it was not installed as a permanent structure, only for the train season. Since Johnston has a five year lease from the railroad to use the property, Lessar said a use for that length of time is completely different and should require a commercial development application and a permanent structure on a foundation. The Johnstons agreed to put together their plan for the coming years and decide if they want to apply for a commercial development.
The liquor license for Sammie’s, at 124 N. Main, was renewed. The Board voted to change the special use (home occupation) for 813 Cherry Street from chiropractic to nursing aesthetics for a period of two years.