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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

OC trustees debate leaks, drought options

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First on the Jan. 2 work session agenda for the Orchard City Board of Trustees was discussion of the Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for Delta County.

Emergency preparedness coordinator Kris Stewart walked through the improvements made to the plan and what the next five years will entail, such as grant monitoring and check-ins with the planning committee. Areas of focus for Orchard City include wildfire, drought, flooding, severe winter weather and dam failures, scaled from likely to unlikely.

Trustees concluded approving the plan next week will be a "no brainer," considering the only real consequences of implementing this would be not getting funding to help mitigate hazards.

The RV discussion was tabled until results are back from the community survey. Trustees received the draft for the community survey done in-house through deputy clerk Polly Proctor and the planning commission. They will review the draft over the next month.

Options for completing the survey are in-house or through a contractor, which would cost $6,400 to administer the survey and analyze the results. Trustees decided to look at examples from the contractor and think about it.

Trustees then reviewed at length the challenge of changing the point of responsibility on water leaks from the meter back to the main line. The main problem is there are a handful of homes with less than ideal infrastructure from their meter to the main.

Currently the town has responsibility for those lines due to a change in ordinance in 2004.

"Is it fair that the town covers repairs and the citizens collectively pay for it through the water bills than if the homeowner paid for it since it's technically their line?" questioned Trustee Dick Kirkpatrick.

Trustee Doug Keller disagreed.

Town administrator Melissa Oelke pointed out that the lines in question are beginning to fail and costs will snowball. Water rates will need to be raised to compensate if the town maintains responsibility. Trustees plan to look into why the previous board changed responsibility in 2004 and come back to it next month.

Mayor Ken Volgamore picked up the drought task force report discussion next. He questioned the recommendation for having citizens' water bills reflect historical use.

Keller explained that citizens didn't how much to cut down on because they didn't remember past usage figures. Trustee Jan Gage requested costs for updating the billing to include a graph and message.

Other recommendations they discussed included: identifying markers for properties on well/irrigation water versus domestic, education for high users, how to educate citizens on water use and leasing or acquiring water.

Trustees discussed options for educating citizens including timing, flyers, newsletters, tips on water bills, community workshops with gardeners and providing info at the annual picnic.

Next month trustees will again review the report and make yes/no decisions on the recommendations.

OC is also planning, with other municipalities, to adopt 2018 building codes. The town will split the cost, making its responsibility about $2,000. Building inspector Bruce Stanley will be in charge of sifting through what the town would and would not adopt from the code.

"This isn't a bad idea considering we have 2006 codes," said Volgamore.

Once more trustees discussed tiny homes, only this time Keller disagreed with the implementation of the building regulations, though the ordinance is set for public hearing and action at the Jan. 9 meeting.

Keller proposed putting a moratorium on tiny homes until the community survey garners a consensus on whether the citizens even want them allowed.

Trustee Gynee Thomassen clarified that this ordinance simply makes tiny homes safe; trustee Mel Cook agreed that regulations need to be in place.

"It's on the agenda; it'll pass or get voted down," determined Oelke.

Also on the Jan. 9 agenda will be voting on the amendment to subdivision/land improvement regulations.

Before concluding the meeting, Volgamore addressed Keller's appearance at a non-posted meeting and his previous comments on transparency. Keller wishes for all meetings to be posted and open to the public.

Volgamore seemed to disagree, implying that since citizens don't come to those meetings anyway, posting them wouldn't really matter. Plus, since decisions aren't made in committee meetings, the discussion is simply that: discussion.

In the end the trustees seemed to agree that they will move committee meeting times to the events calendar as unofficial postings for convenience.

Read more from:
Surface Creek
drought, Orchard City, water
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