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La Veta will consider AllTel lease

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- On a 5-2 vote, the La Veta Town Board decided to entertain negotiations through the Town Attorney for a proposed lease with Alltel Wireless to install a cell phone panel on one of the Town’s water tanks.  Inviting public input, Mayor Mickey Schmidt said, “We can’t speak specifically to the lease because it hasn’t been drafted in its final form yet.”  At least seven members of the audience voiced their acquiescence to the idea of expanded cell phone service to cover existing gaps in and around the Town.  There were two concerns voiced, one about a Newsweek perspective on the link between cell phone use and brain cancer in children.  Another person asked, “Does every single spot in America need to have cell phone reception?”  The subject of the Verizon-Alltel merger was raised by Trustee Tracy Webb.  Alltel’s representative, Matthew Hall, explained that negotiations are expected to continue through the end of the year, and, if there is a lease at that time, it would be taken over by Verizon.

    On a 4-3 vote, the re-plat application by Joan Sheram and Patrick Lawrence was accepted on the condition that the lot lines be redrawn to make them compliant with the Town’s setback requirements.  The property is located at 300 West 1st Street.

    The Board accepted a bid in the amount of $35,736.06 from Pueblo contractor J. Siegel Inc. to provide labor for the Town sidewalk project.  Trustee Dale Davis said 125-130 yards of concrete will be required for the project, and he expected that cost to be an additional $10,000 to $15,000. 

    The Board adopted ordinance #233, which establishes an intergovernmental agreement among Huerfano County, the City of Walsenburg and the Town of La Veta regarding building code ordinances.  The codes, including the International Building Code, used by the Regional Building Authority will be integrated into the La Veta building code.

    There was a short discussion about the recent Art in the Park event.  Several members of the audience and the Town Board complimented Ryan and Sjani Boggs on the event.  Other comments revolved around food vendors and noisy generators.  Trustee Jim Fowler said, “There was more art and better art than in past years.” 

    The Town has lost its code enforcement officer, and the Board discussed finding a replacement.  In the meantime, the Town Clerk is the first point of contact for code violations.  She will direct law enforcement to get involved as needed. 

    A member of the audience brought up the County’s pending decision on placing a 180-foot cell phone tower near the Town’s water tanks.  According to Trustee Dawn Blanken, although the County would like input from the Town by August 12, the Town has not yet received an application or proposal, although it is said to be “in the mail.”  The Board set a workshop date of August 11 at 6:00 pm to discuss this issue.     

    Regarding the leaking Dyer Ditch, Mayor Schmidt read some comments from the Town’s water attorney regarding water court case 97CW108C and piping the ditch.  At issue are “material changes.”  Although the law does allow repairs to seeping ditches when there is property damage, the receiving stream must be augmented by someone for the loss of the return flow caused by stopping the seep.  The seepage also must be measured, for instance at the two Town borders, and someone would need to pay for that engineering study.  If the seepage is 0.2 cfs, Mayor Schmidt pointed out, no one is going to be anxious to give up 0.2 cfs of their water for that augmentation. 

    The Rotary Club received permission to pull a trailer hauling a large custom barbeque grill next to the pavilion in the park on August 16.  The Rotary will be serving 550 people as part of the Century Ride.  The Board accepted a bid of $750 from Bob’s Painting to clean and oil four decks at Town Hall.

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