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Town’s Engineer dialogs with Grandote parties without Board’s knowledge

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- At its June 1 meeting, the La Veta Town Board was informed that GMS Engineers staff members had direct conversations in April with Dr. Charles “Randy” Briggs, owner of Grandote, and Kelly Popejoy, a Grandote employee, even though the Town Board had not been aware of or given its approval for such discussions – and further, there are still pending lawsuits by Briggs against the Town.  The matter was brought to the Board’s attention by Trustee Dawn Blanken, who obtained an itemization of last month’s billing from GMS.  Blanken said the billing showed the discussions were about the potential impact on water and sewer, tap fees and other Grandote annexation-related issues.  GMS reported that the Grandote representatives even suggested GMS use different statistics and reporting involving potential annexation.  The Board voted 5-2 to bill Grandote for the GMS charges of $376, since they were entirely about annexation.  “This should be paid out of annexation fees, not paid by the people of La Veta up front,” said Blanken.  “In this case, this Board didn’t request that information.”  A member of the audience addressed the Board saying, “At the very least this has a severe appearance of impropriety.”  Mayor Don Keairns told the Board, “I guess this is my fault.  I was trying to open up some lines of communication.”    

    The Board agreed to have DD Wireless install a transmission pole at the municipal airport.  Trustee Dale Davis determined that the pole site is on Town property, so the Board voted to approve the contract with DD Wireless, as long as Davis and Trustee Jim Fowler work with the Town’s attorney to review it and deem it acceptable.  As part of the agreement, high speed internet will be installed at no charge at Town Hall, the Marshal’s office, the Water Plant and the Town’s maintenance barn.  For the first year of service, the monthly service fee will be half the regular charge of $50 per month.

    Liz Henson reported on the beautification efforts in La Veta and expressed gratitude at how many people stepped up to help.  “It was truly a community action,” she said.  Donors included Rotary club ($1,000), Petroglyph ($3,000), an anonymous donor ($1,000), businesses and individuals ($1,500) and the sold-out golf benefit at Grandote ($5,500).  On behalf of the beautification effort, Henson presented an award of $500 for the Park and Tree Board to the members who were on hand.

The Board hired Katherine Emsden as museum director from May 24-September 26 at a monthly salary of $1500.  Salary for the gift shop manager was set at $700/month, 20 hours per week until September 26; the position may be job-shared.  Betty Elwell was approved by the trustees as the seventh member on the Museum Board. 

    The Board accepted bids from Shannon Shrout for $535.10 for the Town’s Chevy pickup and $401.10 for the Town’s Jeep Cherokee.  A special use permit was granted to Ben and Evelyn Zellar for Mary’s (now Lucy’s) RV Park at 226 Grand St. for the period of time that the Zellars own it and operate it as an RV park.