Sarah Sauter, executive director for the Western Slope Conservation Center, brought good news on May 14 when she visited the Paonia Town Council.
Several months ago she came to the council asking them to write a letter of support to accompany her grant application for trail planning with the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
"We were successful with that and have received $45,000," she said. This grant will fund trail planning and engineering at the Paonia River Park. The Conservation Center is looking forward to working with the Town of Paonia and providing updates on the project. "Thanks so much for being such a wonderful partner," Sauter concluded.
Under old business, the council discussed and voted upon a donation request from the North Fork Mosquito Abatement District (NFMAD). NFMAD is a special district that taxes those within its boundaries. Trustee Larry Wissbeck said the district "cannot raise taxes quickly enough" to be able to afford some necessities. Wissbeck said the budget was reviewed and he believes that $500 could be extracted from the monies to decommission the old sewer ponds. That leaves $65,000 in the fund and Wissbeck suggested taking $500 from that fund. The money had been earmarked to pay for the engineering to put in the first stages of an RV park at the old sewer site. That would leave $64,500 for the future RV park.
Trustee Brian Ayers suggested loaning the district the $500 since it is a taxing entity.
Amber Kleinman, who seconded the motion, disagreed, stating that it was a small amount to donate toward a potential health danger. She views the district's request as a "pressing need."
Ayers was willing to give the district much more money as a loan.
Kleinman said the voters had turned down their request for a tax increase.
Tom Wills, NFMAD secretary, said they need a donation, not a loan. The district already has purchased equipment, but they need to recoup the cost so they don't run short of funds during the mosquito season. They purchased equipment to have a rapid assessment of whether mosquitoes that have been trapped are carriers of the West Nile virus. They can have the answer in just 90 minutes. In past years, they received federal funding for the testing which actually takes much longer to receive the results. That funding is no longer available.
The trustees voted to approve the $500 donation with only Ayers voting against the motion. The Town of Hotchkiss had earlier voted to give NFMAD $500.blog comments powered by Disqus