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Crawford okays late fee update

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The Sept. 1 meeting of the Crawford town council opened with the mayor reminding residents that school is back in session, so please watch for children and drive carefully.

On the agenda for old business was a franchise tax agreement with TDS Telecom and an update to the water and sewage shutoff ordinance 3-2018.

The franchise tax ordinance allows TDS Telecom to provide telecommunications services within the town of Crawford. The ordinance has been open to public comment online for a month, and received only one resident response, which was in support. The terms of service stipulate a period of 10 years wherein TDS will be responsible for providing service, as well as maintaining all necessary transmission infrastructure.

The update to ordinance 3-2018 was simply in regard to timing of delinquency notices. Water and sewage bills will be due on the 20th of each month, and will be marked delinquent if unpaid by the 30th and be charged a $5 late fee for each service. If service is disconnected, the bill total must be paid in full with an additional $50 re-connection fee before service will be restored.

Representatives from The North Fork Park and Recreation District also presented an update. Thanks to several major grants, small donations, and in-kind efforts totaling almost one million dollars construction on the ball field complex at Crossroads Park adjacent to Hotchkiss High School is set to begin in the fall.

The district is responsible for more than just the pool at Hotchkiss. It also administers the tennis/pickle-ball courts, the Paonia skate park, soccer fields, and the bike trails at Crossroads Park. Unfortunately, due to declining revenue from residential property tax the district has lost almost $15,000 in funding in the last five years. That, combined with increasing wage and equipment costs, has started to put a pinch on the district budget. In November voters in the district will be asked to increase the mill levy, proposing to increase it from .893 to 2.5.

The difference for the average homeowner would be less than a tank of gas over the course of the year, but would ensure that the North Fork Pool can continue to operate and provide vital services to the youth and our community.

The Crawford trustees also discussed concerns over the current drainage system. Flash floods, rains, and increasing development have strained the decades old system. The last survey was conducted in 1983 and suggested that an overhaul would cost nearly a million dollars. Most grants available to the town require at least a 25 percent match by the community. Counsel members are looking into securing federal and state aid funding, though it's unlikely the project will go through any time soon.

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