After a 2-2 tie vote for mayor pro-tem two weeks ago, council members voted unanimously to name Christopher Ryan to the office on May 1.
Council was unable to break the tie at the April 17 meeting due to the absence of the fifth council member, Nathan Clay. But it turns out his vote didn't carry as much weight as it initially appeared it would.
Council quickly moved on to the remainder of the agenda, which included approval of funding for the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce. The council had previously budgeted $3,000 to market Downtown DeltaFest, Deltarado Days and the Kickoff to Christmas/Parade of Lights the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Darnell Place-Wise, the chamber's executive director, provided a breakdown of last year's expenses. She pointed out that most of the chamber-sponsored events are downtown, or within walking distance of downtown, which supports businesses in the heart of Delta and generates sales tax for the city.
Council voted unanimously to release the budgeted funds, then expressed appreciation to Place-Wise for her leadership. Her last day as chamber director is May 15.
Council approved a system impact study of the city's electrical system, with the goal of developing a new power source to serve growing demand, as well as to provide redundancy in the case of a major power outage. In a memo to city council members, Betsy Suerth, utilities/public works director, said the city has been contacted by several large companies that are interested in locating new facilities in Delta, all of which will have significant power demands. The cost of the system impact study is estimated at $30,000.
Suerth also brought to council a recommendation to waive a $5,450 sewer improvement fee for a property owner who plans to build a home at 253 King Street. Suerth said the property owner, Lon Brouse, is partnering with the city to improve the city sewer system at the same time he builds a home on his lot. The improvements will benefit several adjacent property owners.
Suerth said the city is working with Brouse to share that cost of the public infrastructure improvement by supplying some materials and labor to the project. It is expected that Brouse's share of the cost will be just under $20,000. The city will contribute about $7,300, along with some costs associated with inspection and assuring the existing services are reconnected to the new line.
Council unanimously approved Suerth's recommendation and thanked Lon Brouse, who was in the audience, for partnering with the city on public system improvements.
Suerth also discussed the "mystery hole" just east of McDonald's. Suerth said the initial problem was a high pressure water line that broke loose. Additional challenges have been encountered, but the repairs are nearly complete, she said. Some work has taken place at night, to avoid shutting off water to McDonald's during operating hours.
During a preliminary hearing in Delta District Court on Tuesday, Jan. 15, Judge Steven Schultz found probable cause for second degree murder charges against Heather Jones.
Jones previously faced three counts in the shooting of Ryan Redifer in Paonia on Jan. 12, 2018 -- assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree and violation of a protection order.