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La Veta discusses water issues

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA– At its July 6 meeting, the La Veta Town Board again faced the dilemma of a municipal customer complaining about being charged for excess water leaked during a period of time when the meters were not being read. Sherry Leap and Quentin Engelman brought the complaint after they were billed $472 for 102,000 gallons in May, the first time their meter had been read since October.             Leap and Engelman have two houses at their property and are allotted 12,000 gallons per month. Mayor Pro-tem Larry Klinke said, “When we don’t read the meters for six, seven, eight months, we as a Town are negligent.” He added, “We should read the meters more often.” Klinke proposed to forgive about 63% of the bill, but no one else on the Board supported that idea. Trustee Dawn Blanken said, “People have always been responsible for the water that goes through their meter. You’re asking the people of this town to subsidize the water leaks.”

    Shannon Shrout was on hand to explain that the meter pits are not opened during very cold weather because that allows cold air in, which could result in frozen water lines. Shrout said an automatic meter reading system could cost the Town $200,000 to $250,000. After a debate

that included the audience, the Board and the customer, it was finally agreed to charge the customer on the overage, in the words of Trustee Tracy Webb, “. . . at the cost of producing the water.” As Blanken put it, “At least the Town can recover the cost of delivering the water to the customer.” The Town has been paying Gage Vecellio $200 per month to read the water meters and voted to continue that month to month arrangement.

    Two street pan bids were opened. The first, from Rock Solid, was in the amount of $28,926. The second and lower bid was from Joe Siegel, Inc. for $19,456. The pans will be located at

Cherry & Mayfield; Virginia & Garland; and Grand St. & Main. Klinke told the Board, “I’d like to see all of these get done.” The Board voted to approve the work on all three pans and warned the public that the streets will be barricaded and closed during the work.

The Board approved paying Chapparal Construction $1,000 to remove willows at the Town Lakes and also at the wastewater treatment ponds. The State dam inspector is requiring the removal so personnel can tell if there is any leakage on the west bank. Trustee Dale Davis felt the removal should be done in the fall and voted against the motion.

    On behalf of the La Veta Fire Protection District, Mark Brunner showed elevations of the new fire station, slated to begin construction in about a year. The station will have three drive-through bays for fire trucks. Brunner requested that the Board permanently designate an alley from Ryus to Moore, next to the station, so the larger trucks will always have room to turn the corner leaving the station. Brunner said the new station will be an energy efficient “green building,” and the LVFPD will have assistance from the Governor’s office during construction.

La Veta Regional Library notified the Town of a pending project involving library building repairs and energy saving enhancements under a USDA Rural Development loan/grant program.

    Sandy Hackbarth said the total project will be $133,819; the federal funds portion will be $101,319. “There is a pot of money that is fed through Rural Development that is specifically for libraries,” she said. The project will include fixing the roof and placing solar panels across the south roofs. Hackbarth said the Library hopes to sell excess electricity to San Isabel Electric under “net metering.”

    The beer and wine liquor license application for Edward Donovan, Deer Print Wine, was approved. The establishment will be at 106 E Francisco.

    Davis reported on the pending broadband service in La Veta. According to Davis, there was an issue with the electricity at the airport – circuit breakers were broken during the work to remove the fuel tanks. Davis said Matt LaGow is working on the repairs.