Last week's regular meeting of the Town of Cedaredge board of trustees got off to a spirited start when constituent John Steighner -- a frequent critic of the board -- outlined a series of complaints. In his remarks, Steighner declared that he suspects the town of operating a "shell game" by imposing "excruciating" water rates on citizens, providing conflicting information regarding the percentage of water reserves needed to guard against future water shortages, making a monetary profit in the name of water conservation, and "killing the golf course" in the process. Following trustee remarks defending the town's actions, Mayor Gene Welch indicated that town staff will be in touch with Steighner to address his concerns.
As the meeting continued, trustee Al Smith read a statement honoring the work of Ronn Brewer who recently retired after serving several years on the town's Historic Preservation Board. Smith presented Brewer with a plaque commemorating his service noting that, in addition to his tireless dedication to researching and documenting town history, the honoree also served as town mayor from 1980-84.
Addressing the trustees, Mitchell Gronenthal, president of the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce, reported that preparations for Applefest are well underway. Two-hundred and forty booths have been reserved so far. The giant town celebration will take place Oct. 4-7. Gronenthal also previewed upcoming chamber events: the downtown Trick-or-Treat Trail in late October, a small business event in November, and the annual Parade of Lights celebration in December. Concluding his report, Gronenthal reported that the chamber is partnering with Cedaredge's Pioneer Town to establish a charging station for electric cars on the grounds of the historic village. The partners are hoping for grant funds to help with the cost.
Trustee and board treasurer, Patti Michael, reported that town sales tax collections are up by 5.96 percent over the previous year-to-date.
Public works co-director Scott Lock reported that the town's waterline project is progressing with work entering the process of disinfecting and pressure-testing new lines. Parking lines along Main Street and SW 2nd Street have been painted and re-painted and town staff completed the sealing of aggregate downtown sidewalks in preparation for Applefest traffic. All historical preservation plaques have been installed on historic buildings. Potholes are being resurfaced as the need for filling is reported to town hall by the public.
Lock joined with Greg Brinck, town administrator, to provide an update on the town's drought response. Thanks to conservation efforts on the part of citizens, the town anticipates that it will be able to carry sufficient minimum reserves forward in order to insure future drinking water will be available in case the region has another dry winter. The reserves consist of what remains in town reservoirs as of Nov. 1. Between that date and March 31 snowfall will hopefully recharge the reservoirs and springs with winter fill. By April 2019 the town will have an idea of how much water will be available for municipal use.
In a written report, Erik Hansen, golf clubhouse operations director, reported that gross revenues for the golf course are currently at 85 percent of 2017 revenues. Drought response measures have stressed the grounds and Hansen is considering the possibility of establishing set closing and opening dates. A proposed closing date of Dec. 1 and opening date of Feb. 1 (weather permitting) will, Hansen hopes, better prepare the course for winter months and reduce traffic to protect the grounds.
Police chief Dan Sanders reported that the department's K-9 is now available for public demonstrations and visits sponsored by service groups. Anyone interested in scheduling a K-9 visit should contact the Cedaredge Police Department at 140 NW 2nd Street or call 970-856-4301. On Nov. 17 the department will sponsor a 5k "Back to Blue" run, a fundraiser to support local police. The fire department's chili cook-off on Oct. 4 will similarly raise funds to support local firefighters. The local school district and Cedaredge PD have been teaming up to provide school safety presentations.
Requests by citizens for exceptions to town animal ordinances were discussed and approved by the trustees. Karen Rivard will be allowed to keep a rooster within the town limits and Karen Barwick will be allowed to keep four dogs. In granting these exceptions, the trustees reminded the citizens that their animals would still be subject to the town's noise and dog ordinances and enforceable violations would lead to the revocation of exceptions.
An ordinance allowing the town clerk to approve routine applications for special events liquor licenses and liquor license renewals was approved by the trustees with the stipulation that the board receive a report of all such actions. Trustees will continue to review and approve new liquor license applications.
Following a public hearing and operating under existing ordinances, the trustees approved a request by the Grand Mesa Arts & Events Center (GMAEC) for special event liquor licenses for upcoming activities. GMAEC is reportedly considering applying for a regular liquor license to avoid the need to have special licenses approved on a case-by-case basis.
In other business, requests for lease agreements requested by townspeople desiring easements to construct fences were granted by the trustees as part of their consent agenda.