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Town Board slogs through minutes, begins search for new clerk

by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- The La Veta Town Board labored over seven sets of meeting minutes during the October 18 meeting. Trustee Laurie Erwin recorded minutes of the proceedings, and according to the proceedings of an October 10 special meeting, Christal Copley is no longer serving as Town Clerk. Copley, who was on probation, was paid $1,000 in severance pay on a unanimous vote according to the meeting minutes. Mayor Don Keairns publicly thanked Trustees Erwin and Webb for getting the minutes ready to be voted on at the meeting. The Mayor said the Town has advertised locally for a new Town Clerk, but Trustee Fitzgerald suggested also advertising with the Colorado Municipal League in order to possibly find someone with municipal experience.
Mary Jean Fowler presented a letter from the Historic Preservation Committee urging the Board not to sell the train depot, currently serving as Town Hall, because of its historic significance. “It cannot be replaced in any way,” she said. The letter from the HPC elaborated, “The Town is a steward of history; for a short time the Town is responsible for protecting this bit of history, insuring it remains for future generations.”
Fowler also submitted her resignation from the HPC effective 12/31/11. She said she has served 7 ½ or 8 years, adding, “I can’t remember.” Fowler said, “The present committee is composed of very qualified and dedicated people,” and she listed the accomplishments in recent years. She asked that an ad be placed in the paper to find people interested in serving on the committee. Mayor Keairns told her, “Thank you Mary Jean for your service.” And Trustee Tracy Webb added, “Thanks for all the hours, time and loving kindness [you] put into this committee.” Fowler received a standing ovation from the Board and the audience.
The Fire Department will soon be conducting its annual fire hose testing, hopefully “before the snow,” as Mark Brunner put it. The testing is required by insurance companies that rate the Town on its public protection classification. The plan is to do the test in Town Park, and the department requested that the water restrictions be waived for the test, which is anticipated to use about 500 gallons of water. The Mayor told the board that the Town is probably in good enough shape, since 300,000 gallons of water are coming in daily, and the town is only using about 150,000 gallons. The board agreed to the testing and a waiver of the water restrictions.
Lynn Barnes, from Huerfano Weed Control LLC in Walsenburg, introduced his new company and said, “We are the only licensed herbicide applicator in the county.” Barnes requested, “As funds are available, I’d like to make sure we are in the loop to at least put in a bid to spray weeds in the cracks at the airport.” He said that the airstrip is 5,798 feet long and 60 feet wide. “The airport needs a little TLC,” he added.
The board discussed a request by Tim Crisler to put water bills in the name of tenants instead of property owners. Mayor Pro-tem Larry Klinke referred to the town’s ordinance: “The ordinance reads that the bills will be kept in the name of the owner of the property … and the owner is responsible for the fees.” Klinke pointed out that the only way to change that would be to change the ordinance, which the board opted not to do.
Chris DiPersio has requested that he be issued credit for three months that the water was turned off to one of the taps on his property at 203 East Field Street. DiPersio wants to abandon one tap so he is not billed for water and sewer fees. However, Trustee Dale Davis assured that the tap has to actually be removed to accomplish that. DiPersio has three meters on his property, and one belongs to his neighbor. The board did vote to reverse the late fees on the account, and someone will contact DiPersio about having the taps/meters removed.
Alan Wehe, with the Blanca Telephone Company, was on hand, but the paperwork that the board expected to discuss with him was not available. Apparently a final redline draft was only sent to Trustee Erwin and not the rest of the Board or Wehe. Erwin apologized, saying, “We’ve had some changes at Town Hall.” Wehe made sure to point out, “We have to have the same documentation that Century Link has since we’re both public utilities.”
Trustee Jim Fowler told the board that the inside of a water storage tank needs to be rehabilitated by draining, sandblasting and repainting with epoxy paint. Fowler said the work may cost $100,000.
The board set a budget workshop for November 2 at 6:00 pm.

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