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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Crawford trustees learn about Public Safety Initiative

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The Crawford Town Council trustees began their monthly work session on Feb. 20 by informing the audience of about 12 about the successful ongoing efforts to install two new swamp coolers for the community room. Bruce Bair, the Public Works director, stated that the society was collecting bids for the job.

The council continued the discussion about property owners shutting off water valves at the town meter pit, or calling on public works to shut off private valves, both problematic solutions to pipe breaks. The council debated its previously proposed draft of establishing a penalty and fee for water shutoffs. The council wondered about initiating an informational effort via a mailing or public posting of a new policy, once that policy is adopted by the council. Public works director Bruce Bair is reviewing the council's list of recommendations.

Delta County Sheriff, Mark Taylor presented the department's new Public Safety Initiative. Despite threats from rising levels of drug, felony and criminal activity in Delta and adjacent counties, Taylor noted that at this time only three deputies cover 1,140 square miles daily. Taylor cited a 50 percent increase of felony filings in the county.

He described the effects that a one percent addition to the county sales would have on local law enforcement needs. The increase in sales tax revenue would garner an estimated $2.9 million a year. This would provide funding for more patrol deputies, more detention and dispatch staff and would support an aggressive effort to go after growing "criminal strongholds." The proposal will go to the vote of county residents on the November ballot.

Sergeant Gates Shaklee took the floor to describe the Citizens' Police Academy. The academy will be held at the Technical College of the Rockies in Delta every Thursday in March, April and the first Thursday in May from 6 to 9 p.m., depending on the topic. Topics include: gun safety, patrol, investigations, K-9, SWAT, dispatch and traffic enforcement. The classes present simulations and offer a ride-along to each Citizen Cadet. There is a link to the application on the website: www.deltacounty.com/679/Citizens-Police-Academy. Interested parties can also call Sergeant Shaklee at 970-874-2000 for information.

There were several other items of new business, each prompting extended discussion, and they will be reviewed in future meetings.

The council discussed the need for the implementation of guidelines for mobile homes moving into Crawford. The council considered issues of public safety, code compliance, inspection options and enforcement capabilities. The trustees agreed to revisit the question.

A fence ordinance was also considered, with differing opinions on the particulars of drafting a town ruling regarding the height, aesthetics, placement and enforcement of fencing. The council agreed to consider the question and to revisit it after further research.

Personnel policy was also addressed, specifically as regards to the public works department, which finds itself understaffed and overextended, especially in light of the challenges of this heavy snow winter. The trustees acknowledged that the town seems to be in need of a consistent and workable policy that manages sick leave, comp time and overtime for its employees.

The session closed with an update on bidding progress for the concrete going into new sidewalks for Crawford. Bair also mentioned that he had offered free water to Paonia in view of the town's water crisis.

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