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La Veta settles lease question

by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- At its January 17 meeting, the La Veta Town Board addressed the dispute over the length of a lease with Jill Andreatta on a 5.5 acre tract of land on First St. Jill and her family have leased the property for about 25 years. The $175 lease was challenged at the last board meeting by Gary Flanders, who also wants to lease the property. There was a question about whether the board intended it to be a one-year or three-year lease. After the last meeting, Trustee Tracy Webb, Town Clerk Laurie Erwin and others listened to the audio of the meeting where the lease was approved, and it was determined that the intent of the board was a one-year lease. Webb elaborated on the reason, “In the past, we had not followed the rules.” Apparently those rules specify that an ordinance needs to be passed for leases that are longer than one year, whereas only a resolution is required to enter into a one year lease.
Lease ordinances would need to be cancelled when a new lease is signed, a cumbersome process. Flanders, who has offered more money for the lease, stated that his motivation for wanting to lease the pasture was, “So that my horse has access to water at the river.” He has said that he does not have water rights on the river. A resolution to continue the lease with Andreatta through 2012 passed by a vote of 3-2, with Trustee Jerry Fitzgerald and Mayor Don Keairns voting no.
A steering committee is trying to organize a creative district which would encompass the entire town of La Veta. Committee member Fitzgerald told the Board, “I’m really very impressed with what Mary Jean [Fowler] has done on this. I’m more convinced than ever that it is a good idea. I think we need to pursue it. If the artistic community can increase their income . . . it would really get money moving through this entire community.” The application for designation requires governmental buy-in with a letter of support and a list of ways the town supports its creative citizenry. La Veta is trying to qualify for one of two grant levels: “Emerging” at $2,000 or “Potential” at $8,000.
The mayor opened the sealed bids for painting the Marshal’s office. Bob Musolf, with Bob’s Painting, bid $2,800; Toby Roberts, with Elite Painting, bid $2,000. The previous bidder (at $1,100) did not resubmit a bid because he does not have a town business license. Fitzgerald asked what impact the painting would have on the renovation being pursued by the Historic Preservation Committee. Former committee chair Mary Jean Fowler said, “The renovation is exterior only.” The board decided to postpone the painting until it can be determined which budget item will cover the cost.
Jason Meyer with GMS Consulting Engineers reported to the board that a grant in the amount of $10,000 for the sanitary sewer study has been located at the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) Water Quality Control Division. Meyer’s letter stated that the amount “will fall short of the total funds needed for the study.” GMS is anticipating that Energy & Mineral Impact Assistance grant funds will be available in mid-2012. Trustee Jim Fowler spoke in favor of applying for the $10,000 and hoping that the balance needed will come available down the line, adding, “It’s a start.”
The board approved the purchase of an RJM brand Elite SC sewer camera, which is digital, self-leveling, will service 3” pipes, and will negotiate a 90 degree angle. The camera cost is $7,690 delivered. Trustee Fowler commented,“This is something they have been talking about for five years, and we’ve drug our feet on it.”
In a letter from the La Veta Fire Protection District, Mark Brunner told the board that LVFPD will be applying for a grant from CDPHE to fund a paid Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) position. Brunner said the need for another EMT has become critical. The LVFPD emergency service area includes two State highways and traffic of more than 1 million vehicles annually. The board approved writing a letter supporting the grant application.
On behalf of the Streets & Alleys Committee, Trustee Dale Davis reported that a Denver engineer will be looking at the proposed Ryus Street bridge project and providing an analysis at no charge. Davis said the proposed project will “bring those three streets together and make it all safe.” The anticipated finish date for the project is in 2015.
The board went into executive session early in the meeting to discuss personnel matters, joined by Deputy Marshal Patrick Lira. However, no action was taken when the board returned to regular session.
Erwin presented the board with an estimate she obtained from Cornerstone Roofing and Gutter to place gutters on the north side of town hall at a cost of $295. She said she would like to ask the Historic Preservation Committee if gutters would be permitted on the town hall structure. Erwin expressed her concern that the icicles that form above the doorways are a liability issue.
The board has been notified that La Veta schools are seeking grant funding to upgrade the playground and determine a better way to close the street between the two school buildings during the day for the safety of the students.

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