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Sales tax increase will be put to public vote

LA VETA- After taking public comment Tuesday night on a proposed increase in La Veta’s sales tax, the town board adopted ordinance 275, which will put the ballot question to the voters in the April 1, 2014 election. The one-half-percent increase in sales tax is primarily for funding Francisco Fort Museum expenses (maintaining, constructing, restoring and operating) up to $50,000. Any revenues collected in excess of that would be applied to improvements for streets and sidewalks. If approved, the sales tax increase would be in effect from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2020. The funding would also be exempt from TABOR revenue and spending limitations. In a two-page letter to the board, Kerrie Meyler and Stan Liebowitz stated, “The fort should demonstrate its value to the town if it is to get any funding.” The museum leadership provided the town with a new three-year plan “for the growth and sustainability of the historic fort, property and collection.” The plan provides budgets and describes projects for the buildings and grounds, educational programs and workshops, the gift shop, staff and volunteers, and exhibits and collections. Trustee Dale Davis brought up the subject of the lease with the La Veta Fire Department. “It hasn’t been looked at since 1984,” he said. Davis said the town is paying about $6,000 worth of utilities a year on behalf of LVFPD because the lease agreement makes the town responsible for the cost of electricity at the firehouse. Davis said, “I think we need to get with the fire department and rehash the lease agreement.” Mayor Jerry Fitzgerald agreed and pointed out, “In 1984 electricity may not have cost very much, but it sure costs a lot today.” Trustee Dave Molyneux had a question on a warranty deed that is part of the lease agreement, and Davis explained, “The fire department at that time gave the old fire house to the town.” The owners of Charlie’s Market submitted a request to put benches and hitching rails around the trees in front of the store. Trustee Bill Stark explained, “It’s an attempt to have people stay on Main Street for a few more minutes.” Stark felt the board should also grant a variance from the code restriction on “all obstructions” since the term is nebulous and might be construed as applying to benches. Trustee Shane Clouse tried to size up the available sidewalk space in front of Charlie’s and said, “That’s probably the worst place to restrict traffic.” Then Trustee Davis commented, “That’s a handicap parking zone right there.” Molyneux said, “I don’t see anything wrong with the benches.” Davis asked, “How will people get out of their cars with dogs tied there?” The Board voted 5-1 to approve the bench project, with Davis voting no. Jay Davis, architect and construction cost estimator, was approved to sit on the Historic Preservation Committee, taking the place of Clyde Schroeder. The board accepted Schroeder’s resignation and publicly thanked him for his time and diligence. Mayor Fitzgerald said, “He made a contribution.” The board set a “community marijuana meeting” for January 28 at 6:00 pm at the La Veta Community Center. Rachel Allen, from the Colorado Municipal League, will be on hand to answer questions about the new marijuana licensing legislation. The board approved a liquor license renewal for Sammie’s. When queried, Marshal Younger told the board, “We’ve had problems down there, but not with the bar itself.” A resolution was passed that set two locations for public notices: Town Hall and the Marshal’s office. The board adopted ordinance 276, which puts the town in line with national flood insurance program requirements.