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La Veta to begin to repair town’s aging dams

by Bill Knowles
LA VETA — The Town of La Veta received notification from the Colorado Water Conservation Board that a loan request in the amount of $372,690 for the repair of the North Lake Dam Rehabilitation Project has been approved. The project is slated to start in the fall of 2012 or spring of 2013.
The plans call for the breaching of the North Lake dam and reconstruction of the outlet works and installation of a toe drain filter system. This will restore the 17 acre feet of water storage lost under a restriction issued by the state engineer’s office in March 2011. The restriction required the lake’s water level to be lowered 2.5 feet below its normal storage elevation, from 86 acre feet to 69 acre feet.
The primary concerns stated at that time by the state engineer were outlet pipe deterioration, seepage on the downstream toe of the dam, lack of access to the intake tower, and inoperable intake valves controlling flow to the outlet works.
After assessing its entire raw water system, La Veta identified three additional projects that would improve its raw water storage system. The town will also have to rehabilitate the South Lake reservoir. South Lake is beginning to show signs of seepage and outlet control issues.
In an effort to avoid a restriction on South Lake, the town wants to repair the North Lake dam as quickly as possible so the restrictions on that lake can be lifted. They can then proceed to work on the problems facing the South Lake before restrictions are placed on that reservoir.
The total project costs are estimated to be about $410,000. The loan total is about $369,000 leaving the town to contribute about $41,000 for the project. This will increase the average customer billing by $3.01 per month or about $36 per year. The loan is for a 30-year term at 3 percent per annum.
In other business, the town board approved town clerk Laurie Erwin on a 5-0 vote as the election official. It will be her job to appoint election judges for the April elections. The mayor’s seat and four town board seats will need to be filled.
Trustee Tracy Webb was appointed as judge and her seat will be open. Webb would have to run for re-election if she wanted to retain her seat. Jim Fowler’s term is up, and Jerry Fitzgerald’s seat will also open up. He was appointed after Dawn Blanken resigned. Also Laurie Erwin’s seat opened after she was hired as the town clerk. The mayor’s seat will also open as it is the end of Mayor Keairns’ term.
Interested parties will be able to pick up their candidate packets at La Veta Town Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 14 and return them no later then Monday, March 5.
More discussions about the creation of a Creative District in La Veta has both Trustee Dale Davis and Steering Committee Chair Mary Jean Fowler wondering what the state hasn’t told them about a grant the proposed district is attempting to secure.
Questions arose while the town board and Fowler were in discussion about proposed resolution 5-12. The resolution is necessary for the grant process. Without the resolution, the grant application will be set aside by the state.
Davis noted that a creative district funded through a state grant may not be necessary. “We can create a creative board, much the same way we created a Historic Preservation Board or a Tree Board. We need to make this resolution an ordinance in order to set it up.”
Fowler agreed that could be done. However she said that if a resolution is approved, the steering committee would know in about two weeks if they have been awarded the grant. But she didn’t know why the state required a resolution to be attached to the grant application. Davis wanted to know what the state wasn’t telling them about the grant that required a resolution.
Fowler said that a resolution would show the town’s support of the arts. “The town already supports its creative community with in-kind support,” Webb noted. “The town owns the theater and the SPACe art gallery is on town-owned property.”
The meeting was adjourned at about 9:30.