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Orchard City hears from new DCED director

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The Town of Orchard City board of trustees met on Valentines Day, Feb. 14.

After dealing with routine matters of approval of the minutes and disbursements, Jayden Miller was recognized as Orchard City's February Student of the Month. Jayden is a senior at Cedaredge High School.

Stacey Voigt, the new executive director of Delta County Economic Development, introduced herself and spoke of DCED's plans for the future. Voigt grew up in a small town in Washington state. Her professional experience includes working with several Native American communities around the country and, most recently, the Loveland Downtown Business Association. Her family -- husband Travis, and two boys, age 11 and 7 ­-- are looking for property in Delta County.

Stacey sees a great foundation for economic development and support in the county. She looks forward to building a team effort and partnerships in the initial phases of the DCED. Plans include entrepreneurial and eco systems, being involved in the Delta River Front Project, helping to initiate Elevate, and helping with branding and marketing. She is a firm believer in a diverse business community.

She can be reached at the DCED office, 540 Main Street (PO Box 627), Delta, stacey@deltacountyed.org and through www.deltacountyed.org.

Elyse Casselberry was also on hand to update the trustees on the Delta County Master Plan, which was last updated in 1997. Over the last 15 years, work has been done to change it, but it has not kept up with the ongoing changes in the county.

The goal is to get as many people as possible involved in the process. Plans to evaluate land use policies and regulations, neighbor-related issues vs. property rights, and public input are being established. So far input has been positive. Various work sessions and public meetings are planned in the near future.

During constituent time, Jack Ditlove spoke about the board work session the week before. He was shocked and embarrassed by the bullying by a trustee's comments at the meeting. He expressed First Amendment rights were being ignored by the board and that the board of trustees has little tolerance for opinions other than their own.

Later, during trustee comments, trustee Tom Huerkamp responded, stating that, by law, the board of trustees is required to uphold the state constitution, and his comments at a previous meeting were made to stress that point.

Mary Ditlove spoke of Article 2 Section 1 of the Colorado Constitution which expresses 'certain inalienable rights' of the citizens. These rights include discussions on the ballot questions that will be up for consideration in the April election. She observed that the regular meeting of the board of trustees this night was nearly empty of constituents. She admonished that the board needs to encourage participation through proper notice of all meetings held by the town.

Doug Keller addressed the board about its fiduciary responsibility to the public. He felt the trustees take umbrage if there is a 'nay' vote on issues presented and that the Board of Trustees have a lot to learn about the public and citizens of Orchard City.

Under new business, trustee Bob Eckels reported that the town has an opportunity to purchase additional decreed domestic water from Leon Lake at a cost of $5,000. Currently, there is $41,000 in the water fund that has not been tapped since 2010. This would be a permanent allocation of water which could be beneficial in the event of severe drought. Trustee Craig Fuller moved to buy the water and the board approved the purchase.

Trustee Eckels also reported that several maintenance projects have been scheduled in March, April, May and August. The town's Drought Plan Ordinance is also scheduled for review. A discussion followed on the possibility of water rationing. Historically, this has not been required in previous drought years.

Trustee Tollefson reported that two major road projects are scheduled for the Austin Road and bids are being solicited. Traffic counts on arterial roads will continue. There are 19 road intersections in Orchard City that cross or terminate at Highway 65. Any work on these areas will need to be scheduled with CDOT.

A trail in the town park needs repair. Currently the trail consists of a shale base and is located in a high water area, causing mud issues. Plans are to replace the problem areas with a granite base.

Town administrator Melissa Oelke reported that the new computers have arrived. The town is also checking into the possibility of obtaining grants for disaster relief. Mayor Ken Volgamore commented that town staff is doing well with various projects.

Trustee Fuller noted that the Town of Hotchkiss has recently installed radar equipped speed limit signs, showing the speed of vehicles passing by. The board is interested in a similar, affordable system for the busy sections of Highway 65. He also mentioned that the soccer program is doing well, with additional teams being added this year. There is a possibility that a new field may be needed.

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