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Third time is not the charm

 LA VETA—The third draft of Ordinance #277, setting forth regulations for marijuana establishments in La Veta, was mired in the mud of indecision Tuesday night during the town board meeting. Calling this draft a consensus version, Mayor Jerry Fitzgerald said, “We’re moving forward with regulations to make it legal in the town of La Veta.” There are still portions of the fee schedule that the board members have not agreed on, and there is substantial public sentiment against allowing marijuana establishments within the historic district. When the mayor said he would like to move ahead with a vote, Trustee Dale Davis asked, “Why is it so important that we do this at this meeting?” The mayor replied, “If there is no vote tonight, then the new board can do whatever they want. The two of us that are not going to be here in the future would like to take a vote to make sure the historic district is protected.” Trustee Shane Clouse said, “The number one thing we’ve been hearing is keeping it off Main Street.” From the audience, Chip Kraynyk posed the question, “What is

accomplished by keeping it off Main Street or out of the historic district?” Trustee Logan Taggart replied, “The majority of public input has been to keep it out of the historic district.” Finally Trustee Bill Stark made a motion, which was seconded by Taggart, to advance the ordinance to a public hearing. But that motion failed, with trustees Taggart, Stark and Mayor Fitzgerald voting yes, while Trustees Dave Molyneux, Clouse and Davis voted no. Regarding the fee schedule, Clouse said, “I’d like to have another workshop to get some clarity here.” That motion passed. Fred Rodriguez requested a letter of support from La Veta for the Accelerated Special Action Project (ASAP), which would establish school resource officers for Huerfano schools. “I am here as a grandparent,” Rodriguez said. “There is no place for politics in a matter as important as this is.” Three school resource officers, uniformed and armed, would ensure safety enforcement, law enforcement, problem solving, bullying prevention, and crime prevention and response. Rodriguez guessed the officers would be under the auspices of Huerfano County Sheriff’s department. He said he has letters of support from the City of Walsenburg, School District RE-1, Huerfano County Commissioners and a tentative letter from the La Veta school board. “This is an unpredictable society,” he said. “We need to have a different way of thinking – we need to be proactive instead of reactive.” When asked if there have been any problems in the La Veta schools, he replied, “Not to my knowledge.” Molyneux asked, “Where’s the money come from?” Rodriguez replied that the group would look for grant funding, maybe try for a mill levy or use sales tax revenues. La Veta Schools sent a letter to the town requesting that $35,000 in matching funds be released in anticipation of starting the Garland Street project. According to town clerk Laurie Erwin, the matching funds have been appropriated in the town’s budget the past two years. In the letter, Superintendent Bree Lessar referenced a joint meeting between herself, Gaye Davis, Engineer Rob Leverington, and trustees Davis, Molyneux and Clouse. Mayor Fitzgerald questioned that the three trustees had met and asked if there was an agreement with the school district. No one could remember seeing an agreement. Since public notice was not given for the meeting, Fitzgerald said, “This must have been an illegal meeting.” While this ruffled some feathers, the board did vote to release the matching funds, with Stark voting no. On behalf of the police committee, Taggart reported that a salary range of $33,000-$40,000 has been set for a new Marshal and $26,000-$31,000 for a deputy. The qualifications include: Colorado POST (Peace Officer Standards & Training) Certificate, plus psychological and physical exams, a physical test, and a background test. It was decided that, after the election, the new police committee can put together the job descriptions. The board voted to proceed with advertising for both positions, with Davis and Molyneux voting no. The town will also need to advertise for a municipal judge. Cheryle Johnston gave notice that she will complete her term, which ends April 1, but she is not seeking reappointment. Stark suggested that the town send Johnston a letter thanking her for the service she has given to the town. The board was surprised by an invoice for clarifier media material for the water plant. Mayor Fitzgerald said, “It should have lasted much longer, but it did not.” According to Taggart, the media was expected to last 15-20 years, but only lasted 12. The cost will be about $35,000. “We have to pay it because the water depends on it,” Fitzgerald said. The board renewed a grazing lease with Brgoch Ranch on 160 acres at Town Lakes. The lease is for $1,800 and runs from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015. The board also approved a maximum $1,000 contract with Mickey Villella to assist in revising a lease with AT&T.