Paonia Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve both the 2020 Budget and Mill Levy Resolutions during its regular meeting on Dec. 10. The total budget for 2020 is $3.8 million with the mill levy set at 8.322.

Corinne Ferguson, town interim administrator, said no changes were made to the budget since prior to the public hearing. She did highlight two changes from last year’s budget, combining the town clerk and town administrator position and contracting with an engineering firm to be placed on retainer primarily for water and sewer issues.

According to last year’s budget, the town administrator’s salary was $101,655 and the town clerk’s salary was $61,191. The combined town administrator/town clerk salary for 2020 is $73,840. The savings will go in part to convert the VISTA intern to the town administrator’s assistant with a salary of $32,760. With the shuffling of positions and a decrease in some salaries the town will save $42,318 in office staff salaries in 2020.

Mayor Charles Stewart appointed Dave Knutson to the Finance and Personnel Committee; Mary Bachran and Bill Bear to public works, facilities and utilities and Michelle Pattison and Chelsea Bookout to governmental affairs and public safety. Trustees appointed Bruce Joss as interim municipal judge.

A final decision on street lights will be put off until the first of the year as the board continues to look for other alternatives from the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA). Three citizens spoke during the public comment section of the meeting and over 100 have responded via email or on the online town survey. Citizens had an opportunity to view three examples of different street lights located on Fourth Street.

Mayor Stewart was given board approval to sign the DOLA grant agreement to provide 50% of the town’s infrastructure analysis. The total project is slated to cost $28,000 with the town contributing $14,000. Ferguson said the DOLA grant is seperate from the asset inventory; however, information from the analysis will be used in conjunction with the inventory.

The board voted to allow Delta County clerk and recorder to accept ballots in the upcoming Special Election-Water Moratorium that meet the requirements of Title I overriding Municipal Election rules that require voters to fill out the address portion of the envelope.

“If they (voters) neglect the address portion of the envelope, but their signature and their registration is valid, their ballot will be counted,” Ferguson said.

With Paonia’s municipal election only months away, the board voted to extend the town interim administrator’s contract until the last day of May. Ferguson said the current board wanted to give the new board the opportunity to decide how it wants to proceed given the time it takes to complete the hiring process.

This spring Paonia could see a number of new faces on the board with the mayor’s seat and five trustee positions up for grabs. Two of the trustee positions are four year terms and three are two year terms. The mayor serves a four year term.

Town offices will close at noon on Christmas Eve and reopen on Monday, Dec. 30 at the regular time. The regular board meeting for Dec. 24 was cancelled due to the holidays. In addition, the board approved to close the town offices on Dec. 27 as requested by staff.

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