Hotchkiss council hears library, building code updates

By Robbie Winne


The Hotchkiss Town Council's May agenda was crowded, and about 18 people attended. Many were there in relation to items on that agenda or for events coming up in Hotchkiss.

During the public input portion of the meeting, Tracy Ihnot, outreach director for the Delta County Libraries, presented an update on the libraries' challenges in terms of funding. She reported that a mill levy question is coming before the voters in November to address curtailed facility hours due to those challenges. She noted impressive upswings in digital usage, circulation and participation in the summer reading program. She also talked about the library's adult literacy programs and tech assistance available through the library.

Ihnot presented figures on the student e-card program. The program has issued 1,847 student e-cards in 2018-2019, has provided 22 hours of trainings and presentations on library resources and is responsible for a 41 percent increase in primary academic database usage. The summer reading program is not only available to school-age readers, but to adults as well. Registration for the program starts Monday, May 21. For more information interested parties can visit their libraries or register online at www.deltalibraries.org.

Sue Whittlesey informed the trustees about the senior balance class she has organized with the help of the ambulance district and Delta County Memorial Hospital. The first class attracted 19 seniors. The class takes place Monday mornings at 9 at Memorial Hall. Anyone interested in participating needs to contact Brian at 872-1118 for a pre-class screening.

Dan Reardon, with Colorado Code Consulting, was on the agenda under old business. The town has been discussing revamping the town's building code, which dates back to 2006, introducing more rigorous building specifications for energy conservation and safety. Hotchkiss has the opportunity to partner with other nearby municipalities to lessen the costs of updating the codes under the direction of Reardon's consulting company. There is a June 28 deadline to join the initiative. Council proposed an executive work session to focus on this update.

Dan Bolton came before the board to ask for a no impact subdivision for his property on Barrow Mesa into two R1 lots. Trustee Esther Koontz recused herself from the discussion. The council agreed to Bolton's request and to that of James and Georgia Hopper, who requested an internal boundary adjustment to their two adjoining properties on Duke Hill.

The new business brought before the trustees concerned a list of requests:

• A special events liquor license for Ride the Rockies beer garden on June 13 (passed).

• Liquor license renewal for Langes' Taco Hut (passed).

• A letter of support for the Delta Housing Authority for its grant to apply for single family, owner-occupied rehab housing (passed).

• A request for sign placement for a private business on town property (denied).

• Donation request for town T-shirts to the Hotchkiss K-8 continuation ceremony (passed).

• Water tap changes for the Hanson Mesa Domestic Water Users Association (one change passed, one tap change requiring more information).

• Sign placement request on town property for the Rural Philanthropy Days (passed).

• Donation request for refreshments by North Fork Pool and Recreation District for Rural Philanthropy Days tour of facilities (RPD offered to provide out of its budget).

Trustee Mary Hockenbery gave a brief outline of the salient points from the Community Builders Workshop held in Hotchkiss April 23. The half-day conference presented ideas to revitalize communities to create more revenue and meet the needs of changing demographics in the state. Since Hotchkiss was awarded $3,500 for hosting the event, Hockenbery presented some ideas that came out of a brainstorming session with Hotchkiss businesses and residents, including new benches in town, repainting the street signs and buying banners for Bridge Street.