by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- The first order of business at the April 20 La Veta Town Board meeting was the appointment of a new Trustee to the Board’s vacant seat. Trustee Dale Davis made a motion that, as the trustee candidate with the next highest number of votes in the recent election, Tracy Webb be appointed. As part of the discussion, Trustee Laurie Irwin asked, “If Tracy was not the next highest vote getter, and it was Mac McAnally or someone else, would the Board still feel the same?” From the audience, Robin Richards came forward to present Mayor Don Keairns with a petition of 64 signatures, which she described, “as further evidence of how the voters and citizens of La Veta feel about having Tracy Webb appointed.” Trustees Irwin, Davis, Jim Fowler and Dawn Blanken voted yes to appointing Webb; Trustee Larry Klinke and Mayor Keairns voted no. The appointment was approved to lengthy applause and a partial standing ovation. Webb was seated immediately. She will participate in the committees for Personnel; Museum Improvements; and Police, Building & Code Enforcement. The Board also appointed Nancy Culbreath as Town Clerk for two years.
Trustee Davis gave an update on the removal of the underground fuel storage tanks at the airport. He said, “We were told the tanks were drained within an inch. But there’s approximately eight inches of fuel left in the tanks plus the sludge.” Davis said the residual liquid/sludge is a hazardous material. He then recommended that CGRS Environmental Services take care of removing the tanks. “They go in and they do the whole thing,” he said. “It will be a clean bill of health for the Town. They do all the reporting. They’ll take care of everything.” CGRS provided a quote to the Town on March 29, 2010 of $20,000 to handle the tank removal. “We got a stay of execution until April 30,” Davis said. “By mid-May we should be cleaned up and done.” Trustee Klinke supported Davis’ recommendation and added, “As long as the liability to the Town is absolved by this company.” The Board accepted the CGRS proposal pending reaffirmation of the quote by CGRS.
Peggy & Jim Hoobler requested a permit to burn a brush pile. Mr. Hoobler also recommended a brush clean-up program around Town. “We’d kind of like to coordinate this . . . helping people clean up the Town,” Hoobler said. “We’ve got a dump truck. We’ll take our truck and leave it and you can load it up. But we need a place to dump it.” Trustee Davis told Hoobler he could dump brush and limbs at the Town Lakes property. He also suggested, “Get with the Tree Board. They have things going on that you could really help with.” La Veta Fire District President Mark Brunner said, “We don’t issue burn permits within Town, but we do issue burn permits with special conditions in the County.” The Board and Brunner discussed whether an exception could be made for Hoobler to burn his existing brush pile, with the understanding that all further tree debris will be taken to the Town Lakes property.
The Board set May 14-15 as the first Community Clean-up event of the season. A roll-off dumpster will be brought in for collection of garbage. Several trustees and members said they would rather see voluntary participation, rather than ticketing violators of the Town Code. There was also discussion about getting students to help clean up around the homes of elderly residents. The specifics of the Town Code are on the Town’s web site under the Health & Safety – Nuisances section.
Brian Orr, publisher of the Huerfano World Journal, offered to publish La Veta’s legal ads in a stand-apart section and “considerably cheaper” than the Town is currently paying. Orr’s letter said the HWJ publishes legals for the County, the City of Walsenburg and the majority of private legal ads in the area. The Board agreed to have both local papers bid on a standard legal ad, and consider the bids at the next Board meeting.
The Town will advertise for someone to do park maintenance through the summer and will consider applications on May 4. Former Mayor Mickey Schmidt reminded the Board that Rocky Mountain SER will be funding six student employees to help the Town this summer, two of whom could help with park maintenance. The student positions will work 40 hours per week for six weeks.
Bob Kennemer strongly encouraged the Board members to attend the Colorado Municipal League class for newly elected officials. He referred to it as “Trustee 101.” Kennemer also reviewed information prepared in 2006 for then-Mayor Glen de St. Jean which estimated impacts to the Town if the Grandote subdivision was annexed. The estimates were up to $759,000 in water treatment and sewage treatment facility upgrade costs. Kennemer said he didn’t want to have to foot the bill of adding the development to the Town, and he believed there are others in the Town that feel the same way. Mayor Keairns responded, “The Board hasn’t had a chance to discuss this matter.”
The Board granted a variance to the Fine Arts Gallery for its awning overhang at 220 S. Main Street, which is six inches lower than the required seven foot height. Edna Schmidt, Peggy Arnold Hoobler and Jesse Yarbrough were all appointed to the Museum Board. An executive session was scheduled for April 26 at 11:00 am for a phone conference with the Town’s attorney to discuss matters pursuant to the May 6 mediation hearing. Trustee Klinke set a two-hour committee meeting to review a list of pending projects with Chris Knowles of Town Maintenance. Trustee Irwin said the Personnel committee will meet personally with all Town employees to hear any concerns, issues and ideas.
Barb Kowalik reported that the Tree Board has 20 new trees to plant, flower beds to tend, three box elder trees to remove, suckers to remove from box elder trees, and a lot of storm damage to tend to.