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Water issues big and small for La Veta

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- At the October 5 La Veta Town Board meeting, Mayor Don Keairns asked if the Board wants to authorize the engineers to start designing the structures that are required for use of the new Mexican Ditch water right.  Mayor Pro-tem Larry Klinke responded, “We need to know our return flows . . . I think we have to return flow below the City of Walsenburg.” He then expressed his opinion that this could be a big financial problem for the Town.  However, from the audience former Mayor Mickey Schmidt clarified: “If there is not downstream storage, it will just limit the times of year and conditions under which the water can be exchanged.  You will need two measuring devices on Marvin Davis’s property.  There doesn’t need to be some big expense down at Walsenburg to make this water right work.” After the meeting Schmidt told the World-Journal, “The measuring devices might cost a few thousand dollars, but it won’t be a huge project.”

    Trustee Dawn Blanken informed the Board that Wachob & Wachob has offered to furnish the Town with existing information to formulate a legal description of the railroad parcel so it can be zoned.  According to Blanken, the need for the zoning has been discussed for a long time.  Although a survey was estimated at $2500-$3000, Dan Wachob offered the information for $250.  Klinke mentioned that four members of the Board had not seen the correspondence, and he did not personally want to discuss it.  A motion by Trustee Dale Davis and seconded by Trustee Jim Fowler to pay for the information passed 5-1.

    The Board discussed the continuing EQR debate with Ralph Jones.  Keairns said, “This is a business situation, so the Board can reduce the number of EQRs if they wish.”  Klinke moved to reduce the EQRs for the Jones Riverview #1 trailer park from 3 to 1, adding, “As he adds structures or mobile homes we will increase it proportionately to what he adds.”  The motion died for the lack of a second.  Referring to the EQR workshop held recently, Klinke told the Board, “I would like to remind everyone on the Board, that meeting was taped.  And when Don went around the table and asked if anyone had a problem with reducing EQRs, a majority were in favor of it.”

    The Town’s small dump truck is not DOT certified.  The Board approved the estimate of $1,200-$1,500 to fix it and get it certified by La Veta Oil.  

    The Streets and Alleys Committee hopes to have the culvert at Field and Locust Streets finished this week.  The second stage involves widening Field Street between Birch and Locust, at the old football field.  The Town will pull up the posts, remove the wire and leave everything in an orderly fashion on the school property.

    Fowler announced that a tank at the water plant is leaking, and the crew is trying to decide the best way to repair it, perhaps putting it off until November, when water usage will drop below the current 300,000 gallons a day.  

    Keairns told the Board that the Town’s head gate needs to be dug out, a process that Fowler referred to as “just normal maintenance.”

    The Board approved selling 6,000 gallons of water to the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad for its steam engine on November 6 for $100, prepaid.  The Fire Department will oversee and facilitate the filling.

    Jessie Yarbrough informed the Board by letter that she will be leaving the Fort Francisco Museum Board.  Mayor Keairns publicly thanked Ms. Yarbrough for her time and efforts on the Museum Board.  The Historic Preservation Board is also looking for volunteer Board members.

    The Board approved the hiring of Rick Dunn as the regular building inspector.  On a 5-1 vote, the Board approved a secondary employment opportunity for Marshal Harold Willburn, for 10-15 hours per week.  Keairns said he just found out, through a complaint, that a person who was working off “community service time” was recently reading the La Veta water meters.  Apparently none of the Trustees was aware of nor had approved this.  

    The changes to the Town Code Title 13 which were suggested by Blanken at the September 21 meeting were read again and approved.

    The Board received the preliminary 2011 budget from Town Clerk Nancy Culbreath and set the first budget meeting for October 12 at 6:30 pm at Town Hall.

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