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La Veta Town Board discusses water meter reading

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- The topic of reading the water meters in La Veta came up again at the Town Board Meeting on July 20.  The Trustees voted to have the existing staff read the meters in August, rather than contracting out the work.  “We need to be reading the meters when possible,” Trustee Larry Klinke said.  “There’s no reason to not read the meters when the weather permits.” Shannon Shrout, part-time Town maintenance employee, told the Board, “We need more help in the Town of La Veta.  Two guys can’t do all the work.”

    The main rub with the meter reading is that when the temperatures are freezing, the meter pits are not opened for several consecutive months.  In the past winter that lull was between October and May.  If, during that time, a homeowner has a water leak, they usually do not discover it until the meter is read and an exorbitant water bill arrives.  Rob Saint-Peter, the Town’s water operator, questioned the need to read meters monthly.  Regarding the leaks, he asked, “Why are we as a Town taking responsibility for that?” Mayor Don Keairns explained, “We’re trying to come to grips as to how we can best serve the community.  We’re trying to respond to a community concern.”

    Saint-Peter said the communities in the surrounding area do not lift meter lids anymore and cited several that have remote meter reading systems.  He also pointed out, “The (La Veta) meters are currently over 30 years old.  It’s just a mechanical device, and they wear out.”  Blanken reported that the remote-read meters, which cost about $250 each, can be installed one at a time, rather than as a complete system.

    On the heels of this discussion, the Board referred to committee a letter from Ralph Jones about an “extraordinary June water bill” at River View Mobile Home Village at 308 Oak St.

    The Board received a few complaints from people who got tickets for parking in “no parking” zones during Art in the Park.  Apparently, at the end of Town Park near Vein Skate Park the road was nearly blocked to cars, and would not have been accessible to emergency vehicles.  Marshal Willburn told the Board, “We did work with the vendors” when unloading.  However, he said if they remained too long in a no-parking zone, for instance an hour or more, they were then ticketed.

    Klinke reported on pricing to improve some roads in town with rolled roadbed.  The roadbed estimates were about $10 per ton, and 560 tons would be required per block.  Spreading and rolling one block at 4” deep would cost $6,291.50.  Klinke admitted, “I had no idea what that kind of stuff costs.”

    Work on the street pans on Virginia Street is planned to begin July 22.  Unless the work is postponed, Virginia will be closed between Main and Poplar from July 22 to Aug 22.  Birch will be closed from Virginia to Garland during the same time.

    The Marshal’s office will begin issuing tickets for dogs that are not on a leash.  Klinke said, “If we’re going to have a leash law, I’d like to see us start giving tickets.”  Willburn confirmed that they have been impounding dogs – and one was actually heard howling during the meeting.  People then have to pay to get their dogs back.  Blanken cautioned that people need to keep their dogs under control around fawns, lest one get injured and the dog owner face action by the Division of Wildlife.

    Because of the recent vandalism, the recycle bins are filling up faster.   Keairns asked the public to please not leave recyclables on the ground around the bins.  “Everyone’s cooperation would be greatly appreciated,” he said.

    The Board approved contracting with the Bug Man for a full year of spraying service, primarily to control Western box elder beetles and wasps at Town Hall and the Community Center.