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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Multiple taxing questions look to be headed to the November ballot

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Representatives of area organizations gathered at Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta for the spring municipal quarterly meeting on April 25.

Delta Police Chief Luke Fedler and Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor discussed the increase in illegal activity which has greatly increased law enforcement response during 2017, 2018, and continuing in 2019. The cases that make their way to the district attorney's office have increased 50 percent during this time.

Delta County and several municipalities -- Delta, Cedaredge, Hotchkiss and Paonia -- are joining together to request a countywide sales tax increase.

The revenue from the sales tax increase would be distributed as follows: Delta County Sheriff's Office, 48 percent; Delta Police Department, 31 percent; Cedaredge Police Department, Hotchkiss Police Department and Paonia Police Department, 7 percent each.

School superintendent Caryn Gibson and assistant superintendent Kurt Clay discussed physical safety needs for the schools, school busses, and the need for counselors.

School safety is the district's primary consideration as the district considers a ballot question requesting a mill levy override.

It will cost $150,000 per school for the physical security needs of changing out locks on the interior and exterior of the school buildings. Safety entrances and safety windows are needed, as are cameras and monitors. Fencing is needed to secure all school campuses.

Gibson said the school district is very much behind the law enforcement sales tax. "We have a good relationship with law enforcement. They are present in our schools and in our other activities."

Director Lea Hart gave a presentation about the library district, which recently completed a survey revealing that the library is widely used. The library district is also considering a tax question (see separate press release).

Highlights from other agencies included:

• Delta County Commissioner Don Suppes said everyone is coordinating their flood concerns with each other and will get together the third week in May to consider plans.

There will be a free landfill day on May 11.

• Mayor Ken Volgamore said Orchard City is repairing a few roads and aging water lines.

• Delta Mayor Ron Austin and city manager David Torgler spoke of CDOT's spring project on Hwy. 50 and Hwy 92 in Delta; ENGAGE establishing a downtown campus in the old Chaco building; and revitalizing downtown with a new pocket park.

• Hotchkiss Mayor Larry Wilkening noted a 100 percent grant for Bridge Street, sheep dog trials on Mother's Day, Rural Philanthropy Days and Ride the Rockies.

• Cedaredge town administrator Greg Brinck spoke of redoing the golf course, closing the back nine holes to redo the front nine, then redoing the back nine. Sales tax is up 15 percent year-to-date. Building permits are coming in, but there are not enough contractors and labor to keep up. Cedaredge received a GOCO grant for a 1.6 mile trail on Main Street.

• Paonia Mayor Charles Stewart and city manager Ken Knight expressed their appreciation for all the help from state and local agencies during Paonia's recent water emergency. DOLA is funding a Tier 1 water study including distribution, raw water storage, and reservoir storage. Paonia has 400 inactive taps, perhaps more, and will do a definitive study to identify each.

• All Points Transit has seen 13percent growth in its ridership in Delta County.

• Region 10 is seeking board members, with two vacancies to fill. The agency has helped connect several people to the Bustang bus service.

• Jason Cleckler, Delta County Memorial Hospital CEO, spoke of DCMH's new clinic to focus on rheumatology; a home health pilot program -- the first in Colorado; and a mental health stabilization program where patients can be transported to Montrose rather than to Denver. The hospital has added an AmeriCorps volunteer to the staff who will focus on opioid matters.

• Stacey Voight, Delta County Economic Development, said DCED has helped two new businesses locate and assisted over a dozen in a wide variety of obstacles. On May 14 DCED will hold a discussion on Opportunity Zones, addressing in-depth technical matters.

• Pattie Snidow, area director for Rural Development USDA, spoke to a subject that had surfaced in most of the presentations -- substance abuse. She said substance abuse is a national epidemic, a national crisis, and said there is additional funding in 17 federal agencies. She said the federal funds can be matched with state DOLA funds.

The next municipal quarterly meeting will be held in Paonia.

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