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Crawford council discusses variety of topics

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At the April meeting of the Crawford Town Council, the trustees heard that investigation of plumbing troubles by a local resident led to an interesting discovery. The public works department was unable to immediately locate the cause of the problem at the home on I Street. Bruce Bair suggested running a root cutter down the sewer main. Instead, they opted to send a camera down the line between manholes, which revealed a TDS phone line running through two bore holes in the pipe and causing the obstruction.

"I'm glad we didn't run a root cutter through it," said Bair.

Bair said TDS worked with the town in excavating and repairing the problem. TDS has offered to pay for the repair. Bair said he provided his time to help with the repair. "We work with TDS," said Bair. "They've been pretty good to us." Bair said he's hit their lines on occasion "and they haven't tried to nail me to the wall. I'm trying to do what's fair" and keep the relationship on good terms.

Friends of Crawford Town Hall members Susan Ayers, Susan Hansen, Shirley Cotten and Cathy Cheatham made a brief appearance before council. Historically, said Hansen, FCTH president, when the friends have come before council, "it's because we are asking for something. We are here to publicly thank mayor Susie Steckel and town council for your support and partnership in this project to renovate Town Hall. It could not have been done without this partnership."

The town was the first entity to pledge toward the project. That $150,000 pledge, said Hansen, was significant in getting the project started. "It was pretty hard for DOLA, state historical fund, and community and other organizations to not acknowledge that a town this size would contribute that kind of money to this effort," said Hansen.

Hansen recalled how in 2008 the town held a public meeting to ask citizens what they wanted to do with the former Crawford School. They wanted to preserve it, said Hansen, and the town honored that request.

Cotten, who graduated from Crawford High School in 1954, recently celebrated her birthday in the Community Room. "It worked beautifully for an 80th birthday party," said Cotten. "I'm going to do it again next year."

The final phase of the $1 million project, completion of the commercial kitchen, has been plagued with delays but is nearing completion, said Steckel.

The building is seeing a lot of use, said town clerk Cally Gallegos. Space is rented out at least once a week. The building will likely get more use once the kitchen is complete.

Council also addressed the details of the draft Town Hall rental contract. They didn't formally approve the contract following discussion of the town's liability when alcohol is served at events. The draft contract requires a damage deposit of $250 for any event where alcohol is present. Discussion was had over whether $250 was a sufficient deposit.

The town also received an application for a water and sewer tap for a new construction on Elm Street adjacent to Crawford Cemetery. Trustees estimated that the last water and sewer tap sold in town was about nine years ago.

One of the first issues the new council will address is a possible 50 cent per month increase on both water and sewer tap accounts. Steckel suggested council consider small annual increases in the future. "I think it's a little easier to raise it 50 cents a year," than to enact a big increase all at once. This would give the town funds to put away for emergencies and future capital improvement projects.

Trustees said they are in favor of the idea. "I do think that a dollar increase right now would be a good idea, because we're just covering costs," and not putting funds away, said Bair. He suggested that as with everything else, the town look at the water and sewer budgets on an annual basis. If costs are rising and the town is unable to meet current demands, then it should consider increases. "If we're doing okay I don't see any reason to tax the customer more than is needed."

Trustees unanimously approved putting the 50 cent increases on an upcoming agenda.

In some of her final comments as mayor, Steckel said that after leaving office she would like to lead efforts to repair the wall between the playground and parking lot at Town Hall and have a local artist paint a mural depicting the time from when the Native Americans left the valley to the present. She will seek grants and other funding to pay for the project. Steckel said the project will tie in nicely with the newly remodeled Town Hall building.

Gofforth also announced that the Delta County Housing Authority recently completed two rehabilitation projects in Crawford. In her four years serving on council, Gofforth said these are the first projects completed in the town.

Improvements on one project include window replacements, door replacement, mold mitigation, bathroom tub and floor replacement, and repairing of skirting at a total cost of $9,500. Home-

owners make monthly payments on the projects, and the town gives the housing authority $250 toward for each completed project.

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