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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

OC trustees debate water rates, paid holidays

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Trustee Craig Fuller started the Orchard City Board of Trustees work session by suggesting the town recognize the foreign exchange students at a meeting twice a year. They all agreed and town administrator Melissa Oelke thought it would be good to place each exchange student's flag around the walls of the community room as a way to see what countries have visited Orchard City.

Next the trustees discussed amending the personnel policy holiday schedule. Currently Orchard City does not observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. "Am I the only person who doesn't see the reason to add another holiday?" said trustee Jan Gage. Currently there are 10.5 paid holidays.

Trustees decided to take it to a vote next week.

Trustees then resumed the discussion on drought policy recommendations. Some confusion seemed to exist with what to amend/adopt. Two items, such as being vigilant about acquiring water when available, the town already does. Trustees Gage and Doug Keller want it included to simply have it in writing.

Oelke ultimately asked the board what they want this report to become -- an ordinance, policy or just recommendations. She suggested simplifying the report and adopting the phases of drought mitigation as a policy. The report would provide guidance when to implement the three phases.

Another element they're thinking of eliminating is the special rate/break given for businesses like the nursing home during droughts. Essentially everyone would pay the same rate, regardless.

Last summer those who could show historical data of high usage qualified for the special rate. One difficulty Oelke pointed out with different rates is that if someone could not show historical data, such as those who usually keep their cattle on the Mesa but couldn't last year, they couldn't qualify for the special rate.

Mayor Ken Volgamore disagreed since several high water users cannot adjust their usage in a bad year. Oelke urged the trustees to decide what to do with commercial rates before the policies are finalized.

They will also look at seeing how to show users their past water usage on the bill for educational purposes.

Next on the agenda was looking at an application for limited RV use for construction purposes. Essentially this would grant an exception to the 90-day RV policy for one citizen to live in an RV while building his home. Oelke plans to approve the application for 12 months and if needed the citizen can come speak to the board.

Lastly, the trustees reviewed the Delta County Noel Road project and moved two public hearings on ordinances to next month, April. Delta County may be paving Noel Road this year. If it does, Orchard City is asking if the county will pave the 1,500 feet Orchard City owns, at the town's expense. Doing so would save the town some money even though it isn't currently high priority for road projects.

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