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Mayor asks La Veta residents to limit water use

by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- At the La Veta Town Board meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Don Keairns reported that the Town’s water intake has been reduced by the State Water Commissioner from 275 gallons per minute to 150 gpm. Keairns said that, under the advice of water plant manager Rob Saint Peter, the Town is now under a voluntary plan to reduce water use. His suggestion to the public was, “Don’t do outside watering, and think about conservation right now.” The Cucharas River is dry for most of its length. “We need some rain,” Keairns said. The Town is using water from the North Lake, the level of which has dropped two inches in the past six days.
Regarding repair of one of the Lakes, the board got good news from water engineer Chris Manera, who reported that the geotechnical tests on soils and stability modeling are nearly complete. Manera said that the results appear to meet State design standards, and it’s unlikely the dam will need to be widened, resulting in less work and expense than originally proposed.
Shortly after convening the meeting, the Board went into a half-hour executive session with Marshal Bumgarner. After emerging from the session, the Board voted to approve payment of $6,500 as the “half” portion of time-and-one-half for the Marshal’s overtime work. The motion passed 5-1, with Trustee Dale Davis voting no. The Marshal was already paid $13,000 straight time for the overtime worked.
Dwight Nelson brought up a discrepancy in the minutes of the April 5, 2011 meeting when his request for a setback variance was approved for 210 S Main. According to Mayor Keairns, the wording in the printed minutes was not exactly what was on the audio tape of the meeting. At issue is the phrase “south side” setback rather than “zero.” The Town Clerk was asked to listen to the tape, type up the exact wording of the motion the Board passed, and bring it to the next Board meeting so the minutes can be properly amended.
Mayor Keairns reported that he spoke with Walsenburg Mayor Bruce Quintana about developing a Water Protection Plan for the County in anticipation of Shell Oil Company drilling. Keairns said that, before working on a plan, Quintana wants the Walsenburg City Council to meet with Coleen Williams of the Rural Water Association. As the Board discussed which water to test and whether the Town’s current testing might cover what’s needed, from the audience the Sierra Club’s representative, Gopa Ross, told the group, “My concern would be with groundwater contamination. It may not come down the river; it may come through the ground.” Ross stressed that the fracking chemicals are not something normally tested for, and that’s the reason the baseline studies are so important. “This is a whole new ballgame,” she said.
On a request from Town Clerk Christal Copley, the Board approved up to $1,000 to hire Lynn McCreight as temporary help to get all the financial information since January 1 entered into Quickbooks.
The Board approved a request by Carla Dolce to reserve the Town Park on October 8 from 10 am to 4 pm for renewable energy demonstrations by Two Peaks Transition.