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OC finalizes wording for three ballot questions

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The first meeting of the Orchard City Board of Trustees in 2018 was held on Jan. 10, focusing primarily on the upcoming municipal election slated for April 3. All members except Gynee Thomassen, who was excused due to a prior commitment, attended. The agenda was approved, as were the minutes of the December board meeting, with slight modifications.

The January High School Student of the Month, Tatum Gilmore, was recognized by Mayor Ken Volagmore. Tatum is a Delta High School student.

During constituent time, Dave Stueck asked for clarification on the number and locations of the six bridges owned by Orchard City. There are five crossing Surface Creek and one on Tongue Creek. Stueck suggested that two bridges crossing Surface Creek are non-essential and there could be alternatives regarding repair or replacement of the two bridges. With $5 million in town assets, he also suggested that alternatives and saving money should be strongly considered.

Stueck also wondered why his request to visit water sites in the town were denied, citing terrorist activities as the reason for denial. Trustee Eckels said it was determined the request was a health and safety issue. Stueck said he would still like to visit the site if it could be worked out.

Mary Ditlove requested that the board pull the municipal ballot questions regarding marijuana tax.

Doug Keller asked what steps the board had in place for a possible drought. Trustee Huerkamp said there has been a plan since 2005 with a possibility of having a DOLA representative confer with the town and the use of general fund, if necessary.

Keller also asked what action had been taken on his August 2017 letter to the town. The question of "robust and public debates" and when they might occur was readdressed, as Keller asked when these would be scheduled. Mayor Volgamore stated that public meetings were not the place for debate unless scheduled prior to the meeting. The mayor did encourage all constituents to suggest ideas to the board.

Keller asked when public debates would be scheduled. The town hall meeting scheduled for Jan. 17 was mentioned as a possible suggestion. All scheduled town events with three or more trustees attending are posted at the town hall. Meetings between two members are not required to be posted. Information on public meetings are sent out with town water bills, published in the Delta County Independent and are posted at the Town Hall.

Resolution 2018-01, Property Tax Ballot Question was approved.

Resolution 2018-02, Marijuana Tax Ballot Question was approved after discussion. Trustee Tollefson had concerns that the cost of marijuana has gone down with more communities opting to legalize the sales, and that could cut into the town's tax revenues. He questioned if it was too late to pursue the issue. Trustee Kirkpatrick said it gives the citizens an opportunity to decide and to voice their opinions. Trustee Huerkamp added that the ballot allows the people a say on the issue. Trustee Fuller cast a "nay" vote.

The first readings of Ordinance 2018-01 Sales Tax Ballot Questions and 2018-02, Flood Plan Regulations were read. These will be addressed at the town hall meeting on Jan. 17.

Trustee Eckels reported that the Water Committee would soon be reviewing the project checklist. There will be a water valve audit to address discrepancies. The town meter has a dial and also sends a signal, which is not always compatible. A professional will be called in to calibrate the meter and the calibration will also give a more accurate measure on low flows.

The roads and parks committeesowill meet in February. No reports were stated for housing or Surface Creek Area Planning. Trustee Huerkamp said the new executive director for DCED is being introduced to the area, and that the organization will be representing Delta County at the Denver Outdoor Recreation and Manufacturing Expo.

The meeting closed with comments by the trustees. Trustee Huerkamp hopes the citizens will attend the town hall meeting on Jan. 17. There will be a discussion of the ballot issues and explanations on how they came to be on the ballot.

Trustee Fuller is looking forward to robust conversations at the town hall meeting and urges voters to pick up information packets. He said his "nay" vote on the marijuana tax ballot question was because he believes it is a dead issue. Trustee Eckels said that not placing the tax issues on the ballot would deny citizens their voice.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Orchard City Town Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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