Hotchkiss voters overwhelmingly approved the sale of the town shop in the Nov. 6 election, 82 to 18 percent. The next morning, deputy town clerk Ginger Redden said she received three inquiries from potential buyers.
A discussion about how to move forward with the sale will be the topic of a special meeting Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m. Also on the agenda is consideration of a special events liquor license for a Delta County Livestock Association banquet to be held Dec. 8 at Heritage Hall. The completed application was presented at the Nov. 8 meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council, but could not be approved due to posting requirements. The council's December meeting falls after the date of the banquet, so a special meeting is required. The planning commission will meet following the special meeting.
During their regular November meeting, trustees appointed Patrick Webb to fill the vacancy created by the death of Jim Roberts. One other resident met the application deadline of Oct. 5, and a third indicated interest after that date. Mayor Larry Wilkening asked whether that third letter of interest should be considered. Only trustee Esther Koontz thought that would be an option. "Because we delayed a decision [from our October meeting], we may have given the impression we were open to additional letters of interest," she said. The other trustees voted to stick with the original deadline.
Matthew Kottenstette, one of the two original applicants, was not present at the meeting. Webb was, and he was asked to share his background. Based on his continued level of interest, trustees approved his appointment and he was sworn into office.
Marsy Moore and Lynda Cannon, co-organizers of the Farm to Fiddle Festival, thanked the town, the Creamery, event sponsors and volunteers for the past three years of support, but said it's time for an organization and nonprofit to step up and run the event. It is bringing more people downtown during the Delta County Fair, as intended, but they said it's more than two people and a few volunteers can handle.
Moving into public hearings, the trustees considered a zoning use review from Roya Beklik and a request for a variance to graze livestock in town limits from mid-November to mid-December. Both were approved.
Liquor licenses were renewed for the Hotchkiss Elks Lodge, Hotchkiss City Market and Creamery Arts Center. In addition, a special events liquor license was granted to the Hotchkiss Elks Lodge, which would like to open its Charity Ball to the community. The lodge hopes to attract a few new members while raising funds for worthy causes. The event will be held Dec. 8.
At the request of Nancy Hovde, community development director for HopeWest, November was declared Hospice and Palliative Care Month.
A number of donations were approved, including two budgeted for 2018. The town will donate $500 to the community Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and $200 for sponsoring four kids at the North Fork Children's Christmas Party.
Not in the budget but receiving favorable consideration is sponsorship of the Western Slope Rural Philanthropy Days. This donation would be included in the 2019 budget, to assist with the cost of putting together this conference next summer. Sheila Maki said the conference will draw about 300 visitors to the North Fork Valley. The event will expose North Fork nonprofits to statewide funding opportunities and build networks and relationships that will benefit Hotchkiss and the North Fork Valley.
As the DMEA subsidiary Elevate rolls out TV streaming services to its fiber customers, it is developing franchise agreements with area municipalities. Like neighboring communities, Hotchkiss is considering a 3 percent franchise fee. A memorandum of understanding is already in place that allows consumers to access TV streaming service and the town to collect the revenue prior to finalization of the franchise agreement.
In his closing comments, Larry Wilkening said he is pleased an individual has been hired by the county to focus on marketing the fairgrounds, viewed as an underutilized asset. "I'm glad to see that happen," he said.