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Four new trustees, mayor seated in Hotchkiss

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The bids for replacement of the Barrow Mesa water tank were awarded to two firms at the April 12 meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council.

Earlier this spring, the council rejected the only bid submitted for the project. At the recommendation of town engineer Joann Fagan, the project was broken into two separate elements, piping and the tank itself, and re-advertised.

Two firms bid on the tank; four bids were received for piping. Doughty Steel was the low bidder on the tank at $453,704. The bids for piping ranged from $265,367 to $412,849. The project was awarded to the low bidder, Pitt Construction.

With two firms involved in the project, communication is key, Fagan said. A pre-construction meeting is scheduled April 23 to coordinate the piping and the tank.

Under old business, the council also agreed to cover the cost of insurance for the Farm to Fiddle Festival. They previously agreed to a donation of no more than $450, but the insurance quote came in at $522.37 -- up from $238, based on the number of visitors. All trustees voted to increase the donation to $522.37.

Mayor Wendell Koontz opened the meeting with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, which he said he had been saving for his last meeting as mayor:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

After dispensing with old business, including ratification of the town's updated Master Plan, Koontz and trustees Lindee Cantrell and Tom Wills were recognized for their service to the town. Larry Wilkening, the newly-elected mayor, and trustees Pat Medina, Esther Koontz, Mary Hockenbery and Sheila Maki were sworn into office and seated with fellow trustees John Marta and James Roberts.

The council's first official action was to appoint Marlene Searle as town clerk, Bo Nerlin as town attorney, Lynn French as municipal court judge and Mary Hockenbery as mayor pro-tem.

A special events liquor license was approved for a Delta County Democratic Party event at Heritage Hall on April 21.

A street closure was approved for a customer appreciation lunch to be hosted by First State Bank May 11, during the sheep camp dog trials. Other upcoming events include the e-waste recycling event on Saturday, April 21, and cleanup day on Thursday, May 3. At 5 p.m. May 3, a cornerstone ceremony will be held at the Hotchkiss Town Hall, to be followed by a work session to discuss irrigation water, water companies and the town's supply of water.

Elyse Ackerman-Casselbery, the county's community and economic development director, provided an update on the Delta County Master Plan. "We're marching to the end," she said. About a hundred residents participated in three open houses held earlier this month, bringing the number of participants in the conversaton, to date, up to 1,700 over the past year. Although the county is pleased with that number, it's still only about 1 percent of the county population. Written comments can still be submitted through April 25.

Two new employees were introduced. Mathew Holybee joined the public works crew. Eric McArtour, a longtime Hotchkiss resident, is the fourth member of the Hotchkiss Marshal's Office.

A bid for a new effluent line was awarded to Pitt Construction in the amount of $76,779. Town engineer Fagan noted that in 2015 she estimated the project cost at $95,000, so the bid from Pitt Construction "looks like a good deal." A DOLA grant will cover 56 percent of the cost; the town will pick up the remainder.

Trustees approved funding for Kathy Browning to attend a memorial service in Golden on May 4. The name of Constable Robert G. Lewis will be placed on a wall of fallen officers. Lewis was shot to death in 1898 while performing his duties for the town. Browning assisted Marshal Dan Miller with the research that culminated in the constable's long overdue recognition.

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