Getting through last Thursday's agenda for the Hotchkiss Town Council took the trustees and mayor under an hour to do. Nary a word of discontent was uttered at the brevity of the evening.
In fact, mayor pro tem Carrie Wingfield was urging Mayor Wendell Koontz to keep up a fast pace.
First up was Chuck Sickles representing the B.P.O.E #1807, otherwise known as the Hotchkiss Elks. The Elks are having a Valentine's Dinner and Candy Auction. Guests will have a pork loin dinner at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14. The lodge will open at 5 p.m. John Cunningham will call the Candy Auction after dinner. Then guests can enjoy dancing to music provided by disc jockey Larry Hill.
The Elks were seeking a special event liquor license for the evening. "It's open to the public. You're all invited," Sickles said. "Come on down. We need your participation."
The council quickly approved the special event liquor license.
Mayor Wendell Koontz said the Town of Hotchkiss would donate a few items for the auction. The items include two adult and three kids' Hotchkiss T-shirts and a Hotchkiss mug filled with candy. The marshal's office is also donating two ride alongs. Now what could be more romantic than an evening's ride in the back of a patrol car? [Reporter's note: When I did my ride along, I got to ride up front next to the shotgun.]
The council approved Resolution 2014-1 which designates the official notice location, town hall, and the official notice newspaper, The Delta County Independent.
Mayor Koontz introduced town engineer Joanne Fagan to share "another twist" in the continuing saga of enhancement trails for Hotchkiss.
First of all, CDOT will have another new person for Fagan to deal with concerning the enhancement trails project. With each new local agency person representing CDOT Enhancement Trails comes the potential for some different rules, perspective or process for the project. When the previous CDOT representative told the town that they would have to follow the Brooke's Act, a federal law requiring the town to accept the bid from the most qualified design consultant regardless of the cost, the board balked and dropped the project with CDOT. This was for Leonard's Trail. Now the trail will be completed for far less money by the public works department over the next three years.
The letter sent to the Department of Local Affairs and to CDOT returning the grant money that the town had been awarded brought another question from CDOT. Was the Town of Hotchkiss just returning funds for the Leonard Trail or was the town wanting to return the money for the pedestrian bridge over the North Fork of the Gunnison River which runs under Highway 92 just outside of town?
At first the mayor and trustees said they believed they were cancelling involvement with CDOT on both projects.
Fagan explained that approximately $329,000 was designated for the Leonard Trail and $458,000 was for the bridge project.
Town clerk Marlene Searle said last month's minutes stated the town was not accepting any DOLA money and returning the CDOT money. The board originally decided to return all funding at the November meeting.
"I wasn't aware we could split this fund. That there were two separate pools of money," Mayor Koontz said.
The Town of Hotchkiss is already projecting a possible $84,000 shortfall in 2014 without having to pay match money for the grant.
"The money for the bridge, I believe, became available July of last year," Fagan said. "So you could sit on it, if you chose to do so. There's a lot of history with the bridge."
Mayor Koontz said he "wouldn't mind sitting on that money because it's still a worthwhile project for us." It would be a long-term project.
Fagan estimated that if the town would proceed, after the town secured the necessary IGA (intergovernmental agreement), the town would have up to 18 months for the project.
"This whole thing with the enhancement money began with the pedestrian bridge," Fagan said. "At the time we started, just doing the bridge was okay. That's what the money was for."
The town was awarded enhancement trails funds for the pedestrian bridge over the river. Then CDOT approved some work to be done in the river which resulted in the town being unable to place abutments for the bridge. The funds were shifted to put in the trial from Hotchkiss K-8 along Highway 133 from Lorah Lane to City Market.
Fagan believes that CDOT would approve leaving the funding for the pedestrian bridge even though the town would complete the Leonard Trail itself.
The council decided to hold on to the bridge money and defer a final decision while the town tries to find a match from a DOLA grant. The town is definitely giving back the money for the Leonard Trail.
The engineer reported the Town of Hotchkiss is paying the final bill to Pall for the water treatment plant.
Fagan said the town submitted a grant application to the state health department for $10,000 to start looking at the old sewer lines. She said old sewer lines are collapsing. Putting a camera through the old clay lines will cost almost all of the $10,000. Fagan said the town will go back to DOLA to seek funding for the study phase of the sewer line project. The $10,000 will be seed money to go through the state's revolving loan program. The loan could be no interest or a low interest loan. An engineering report and an environmental report will also have to be completed. It will take most of 2014 to study the clay sewer lines and the line down Hotchkiss Avenue.
Mayor Koontz encouraged the trustees and the public to attend future meetings to be held by the Bureau of Land Management concerning the revised Resource Management Plan.
The Town of Hotchkiss has asked Delta County designee Bruce Bertram to speak at a work session on Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 6-7:30 p.m. He will speak about oil and gas development and current regulations.
The Hotchkiss Planning Commission will meet on Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at town hall.
The Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce now meets the last Wednesday of every month at 8 a.m. downstairs at the Hotchkiss Library.blog comments powered by Disqus