Monday, October 26, 2009

September Minutes

September 10, 2009

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Town of La Jara was called to order by Mayor Austin Valdez at 7:02pm. The roll was called. Present: Trustees Paula Medina, Tiffanie Polkowske, Henry Schimpf, Larry Zaragoza, Patrick Montoya, Earl Haslett, and Mayor Austin Valdez. Also present: Town Manager Bill Yohey, Maintenance Supervisor Keith Martinez, Chief of Police Richard Pena, Temporary Town Clerk Karol Wilson, Town Attorney Ray Valdez, Sgt. Dan Martinez, Officer Jerry Lujan, and Guests: Cort Nickel, Darlene Buhr, Cassandra Martinez. Those present recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Guests: Cort Nickel of Clear Water Solutions came down to look at the outstanding issue with our sewer system, and how to get us in compliance. The lagoons are 42 years old and it isn’t clear if clay was used to line the bottom, or if it was water-tight. There are numerous artesian wells in the area, and when they are up, the levels in the lagoons rise and want to empty out to seek its’ own level, or flows out too quickly and doesn’t meet the 30 day requirement for treatment. These lagoons were not designed for the modern aerators. The banks could be made higher. Poly liners could be looked into, but lining the lagoons will be very expensive. We could build new lagoons, and line them, but the town doesn’t own any property at this time. Cort is continuing to work on the situation and will be expedient with an answer.

Darlene Buhr asked the Board if they would approve her liquor license transfer so she can reopen South Valley Liquor, which will be named T & D Liquors, at 422 Spruce. She has taken it back from Lance Clark. There was no inventory inside the building. She is cleaning up the outside now, and next week will start on the inside. Ray stated that we don’t need to go through a public hearing, because the store location and license was already approved. It will just be under a new name. He pointed out some areas of concern with the actual application, and suggested the Board make a motion to accept the application and let her open when she is ready. Paula moved that the Board approve the transfer from Lance Clark, pending approval from the state. Larry seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Cassandra Martinez presented our 2008 Audit report. All Board members were given a copy of this report to follow as she read through from back to front. Bottom line: we cannot continue to operate in a deficit. The dates for this year’s budget sessions were set for the evenings of Sept. 15, and 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Board room. Cassandra also discussed the retirement plans. FPPA is tax deferred and is a better plan all the way around. The other plan is not. FPPA is not a qualified plan, as is PERA. It is taxable upon collection at retirement. Social Security is not a “plan”. All employees are subject to Social Security unless there is a government plan like PERA or FPPA. The other employees only had SS and the retirement age is 65, where with FPPA, the retirement age is 55. We can look into a simple, tax free plan. But the town cannot afford to match 3% since we are operating at a deficit. She said we have to start working on a balanced budget. The town is not required to offer any other plan. Officer Lujan stated he feels it still isn’t fair that they weren’t offered another plan besides FPPA. Cassandra said she will crunch numbers and see if we can look at a simple plan.

Town Manager: Bill talked about 2 items that were not in his report. He has been working with Deb Downs from DOLA on the particulars for the grants from DOLA and USDA for the lagoons project. We need to get this completed now. He will discuss this more on Tuesday or Wednesday evening. He said the town needs to look into real estate available in the area of the present lagoons. The town also needs to buy more water. We would be in the 2nd Sub-district. Austin suggested the old lagoons could be used for storm drainage. Dan said he can put us in touch with the National Guard Engineers for construction of new lagoons and all the town would pay for is the materials. There was discussion of finishing the old drainage system before we proceed with street repair. Richard and Bill discussed the fact that there are several elderly residents who may have water leaks in or under their homes that may be collecting bacteria that would contaminate clean water. If anyone knows of anyone needing help or complaining of leaks, etc, please let Bill or Richard know. A motion to accept Bill’s report was made by Henry, seconded by Paula.

Building Inspector: Joe is out of town. Paula moved that his report be accepted, seconded by Tiffanie.

Court: No report since court will be Monday September 14.

Police: There was an attempted robbery at Jack’s Market. The PD has the pickup used. It is from Santa Fe. The robbers didn’t get away with the money. As Officer Sowards was prepared to enter the backdoor, someone inside shut the door, but the money was left there. The Chief has contacted the owner of the pickup. She stated that the pickup was in a repair shop, but she doesn’t know the last name of the mechanic. It must have been taken from the repair shop and used here for the attempted crime. The prints will be sent to Colorado Springs or Denver for id.
Richard’s retirement is coming up and since he has 30 days of vacation time coming he will retire on September 30, 2009. He has contacted FPPA regarding his retirement, but they haven’t sent him any paperwork as of this date. He doesn’t know what he will be receiving and suggested that if the Board approved, he could stay on as a civilian chief. The Board would just have to change his job description. The town wouldn’t have to pay into FPPA, and he would draw social security benefits. Patrick asked if Richard wants the Board to keep him or does he want to retire? Richard has mixed emotions. The Board will think about it. Earl said he wants a letter stating Richard’s decision. Austin said the sooner the better.
Richard reported that the new transmission is working well in the Tahoe. Ray stated that he asked Vicente Gallegos about the Chief telling him to clean the drain in front of his property. Maintenance has to clean that drain, and Danny uses his bobcat to push snow over that drain, where not just snow gets pushed there, but debris also. This clogs up that drain. Dan has also talked with Vicente. Vicente argued that it is only snow, but that town trash just blows and collects there. He was told to come to the town board meeting, but he didn’t show. We will clean that drain one more time, but Danny needs to push the snow somewhere else, like maybe to where the town picks up the plowed snow. Patrick made the motion to accept the report with Paula making a second.

Maintenance: Keith reported that he and Paul spent hours cutting the weeds down at 3 Willow Drive. He included photos with his report. He asked if the police dept. couldn’t try to get the residents to comply sooner, so that the weeds don’t get so tall before cutting. They were lucky to be able to get the tractor into the backyard this time, but that might not always be the case. Karol reported that Assured Title called and asked that an invoice be faxed to them reflecting the charges for time spent cutting down the weeds at 3 Willow Dr. Bill suggested that money received for cutting weeds go to the maintenance department budget. He said we can check with Cass to find out where exactly to put this money. Keith reported that he did not buy the plastic border for Aspen Circle Park because it is too pricey. He asked the Board if he could just put border on the two sides. Someone suggested RR ties, but Keith stated that Jay from CIRSA is very picky and may not approve idea. We need gravel road base and Austin suggested we put it in the budget for next year. Mnt. Dept needs 3 tons.
Keith asked about the cement mixer. This also was a suggested item for next year’s budget. Paul and Keith have been busy with the drain work at Dale Cornum’s. They hauled in 6 loads of potato rock and 3 loads of gravel. Dale seems to happy with the work. Larry made the motion and Tiffanie seconded to accept this report. Earl then asked for an accounting of the maintenance department’s comp time. The board wants all employees to turn in their comp and vacation time for each meeting. But it was not voted on.

Larry – Nothing
Earl- Nothing
Henry- Nothing

Patrick asked about the retirement plan issue, since he was late in arriving to the meeting and missed Cass’s presentation. He was told that Cass will discuss this at the Tuesday budget meeting. He stated he wants a plan for Richard’s retirement. Bill told him that will be brought up in “other business”.

Tiffanie asked about Kendra Baroz needing a sales tax license. She also wanted to know if any one has posted or alerted the homeowners on Joe S. Chavez Dr. to change their address. Ray stated that when he receives the original resolution he will have it recorded with the county clerk, and the town clerk will mail letters informing the residents of whom they need to contact regarding the new street name change. Dan brought up that there are still residents who are not complying with posting street numbers on their homes.
Tiffanie also asked when we were going to replace the broken eagle on the flagpole in the board room, and the pulley for the flagpole outside town hall.
She brought up that at the last meeting there was discussion about moving the speed limit sign on First St., but no motion had been made to do so, so she made the motion and it was seconded by Patrick, to move the speed limit sign from 1st and Walnut to 1st and Broadway. The motion passed. Jan is checking into the prices of trees, but hasn’t had much time to spend on it since they’ve been out of town.
Tiffanie also stated that she isn’t happy with the apology letter from the town. Jan felt disrespected by the letter.
The school had a bid until September 12, 2009 to purchase the fence. Tiffanie asked if the town would float them $6323.50, and the town would get the money back in 21 days. She was informed that the town does not, nor can it make loans. She asked if the easement could be moved back another 10 feet before they set the fence. The board members said they would all go look at that before the next meeting.

Ray made a suggestion for the curfew ordinance to read ½ hour before sunset to ½ hour before sunrise. It was argued that it starts getting dark at 4:30 in the winter and there are students who are out at ball practice, or school events until as late as 9:00 p.m. Discussion followed to not change the time or the age limit but to amend the fines imposed. The amendment should read that “Upon first conviction of violating the curfew, the judge will impose a $25.00 fine, with it doubling for the next 2 offenses."
As far as the Rios building is concerned, there is no ordinance that covers the outward appearance of a vacant building. Danny has done all that can be done. It doesn’t pose a danger to the public, so he is within the State Statutes. Austin suggested sending a letter informing Danny that the town wants to cover the broken bricks with boards and paint them. Bill will write a letter with our intentions and that the board members are volunteering to do the work. Paula will contact the High School Art Department for painters.

Clerks report: Tiffanie motioned to accept, seconded by Paula.Approval of Minutes:
Regular Meeting August 13, 2009 – Motion by Henry, 2nd by Earl.

A motion to accept the minutes of the Special Board meeting was made by Patrick, and seconded by Paula.

Follow-Up of Minutes: None.

Approval of Bills: A motion to pay the bills was made by Larry and seconded by Tiffanie.

Other Business:
Board Retreat: Communication will be the topic. Bill stressed that the Board needs to sit down and really talk. Bill feels he didn’t deserve the abusive language from Leroy and this is one item which he wants to discuss with the Board. He also urged all employees and Board members to come talk to him if they hear of any issues that concern the town. A date for the retreat was not set, but Bill reminded everyone that no town business may be discussed. A facilitator will need to be present. Paula suggested that staff also be at this retreat. She will look into a place for the retreat. Bill reminded everyone of the CML meeting and dinner on Sept. 30 at the Movie Manor in Monte Vista. RSVP’s are due by Sept. 15, and the dinner is $10.00 per each person. Karol will take the RSVP’s and call to make the reservations. Austin told everyone that if they don’t show up, they pay for dinner, but if they call Karol, the town will pay for dinner. Larry asked if it would be appropriate to view the New Trustee tape at the retreat? The answer was absolutely. Someone suggested doing a phone survey for attendance of the retreat. There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:50p.m.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

August Minutes

August 13, 2009

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Town of La Jara was called to order by Mayor Austin Valdez at 7:03pm. The roll was called. Present: Trustees Paula Medina, Tiffanie Polkowske, Henry Schimpf, Larry Zaragoza, Patrick Montoya, Earl Haslett, and Mayor Austin Valdez. Also present: Maintenance Supervisor Keith Martinez, Chief of Police Richard Pena, Temporary Town Clerk Karol Wilson, Building Inspector Joseph Trottner, Town Attorney Ray Valdez and Town Manager Bill Yohey, Sgt. Dan Martinez, and Paul Naranjo of the Maintenance Dept. Guests: Jan and Leroy Polkowske, Ruby Nissley, Brian Crowther and Rick Ivers. Those present recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Guests: Jan Polkowske came in to ask who had given orders to cut their trees completely down and leave unsightly stumps in the yard. The maintenance men cut a special 20 year old Silver Ash, and the want the town to do something about it. They had been in the process of getting the branches trimmed, but Mrs. Polkowske had left town before she finished and maintenance had been told to go cut the trees down in order for the speed limit sign to be visible from 150 feet away. Before the trees were cut, the sign was not even visible from the railroad tracks. Mayor Valdez asked why the speed limit couldn’t be moved. He also apologized on behalf of the board. Everyone agreed there was a real lack of communication. Keith apologized for cutting the Ash tree to the board, but the town doesn’t have the means to trim tree branches that are up high. Tiffanie asked what size/how big a tree could we get to replace this tree. Jan said she would get back to the town board with that information. In the meantime they want the stumps removed. Patrick apologized for the miscommunication.

Ruby Nissley had a complaint about vulgar messages on the playground equipment. She had young people visiting and they saw it. She came and reported it on July 20, and it is still there for all to see. She wants it removed now! Why aren’t we more organized? Bill informed her that it will be taken care of tomorrow if he has to do it himself.

Leroy Polkowske expressed his unhappiness with the tree trimming situation. Again he stated that he wants the stumps removed. He addressed issues he has with the town manager and the town attorney that are of a personal nature.

Brian Crowther and Rick Ivers thanked the community for all the support for the new playground complex. They will be putting in a walking path, and part of that path would extend onto a 10x100 foot section of town property. The path won’t be put in until next summer, but they will be putting in a fence this fall. The PTA had raised money for the fencing project, with plenty of volunteer help. Ray suggested we give them a 30 year variance to run concurrently with the Intergovernmental Agency contract. They will get Reynolds to draw up a description. A motion was made by Earl to grant this variance, with a second by Patrick. Passed unanimously by roll call of all board members.
Robert Middlemist was not able to plow the grounds and Brian would like to flood it in two weeks with hopes of working the ground so they can plant grass seed. Austin offered the hoses and fire trucks to flood the area. They will flood it on Monday and Tuesday.


Town Manager: Bill will be going to Salida on Tuesday, 8/18/09 for the law suit settlement conference. Since Ray will be gone, Larry will go with Bill. Bill stated that the best thing he and Paula got from the trip to Vail was “communication”. Lots and lots of communication. The retreat idea is a good thing in order to discuss issues that aren’t being taken care of. Bill will meet with any one any time. He wants more communication, and he wants everyone to be on the same page. We could have avoided the Polkowske issue. We need to use the cameras more. #1 on Bill’s report…What is being done about the other buildings in town? Henry says he offered Gilbert some curtains for the front to make it look nicer. Patrick asked Ray what could be done legally about Rios’ building. Ray stated he contacted Danny years ago, with no response. What are we going to ask him to do? Discussion followed about nailing up boards on the outside. Austin says boards on the outside looks better that what it looks like now. Painting a mural was suggested. The kind of wood was discussed. Larry suggested the board do it, but Ray says we need Danny’s consent. There was discussion about informing Danny that we are going to fix the building front and send him the bill. Patrick suggested a face to face meeting through a letter from Ray, telling Danny of our proposal. The set a special meeting for September 3, 7:00 p.m.
#2. Glory Days went well. There was a discussion about a new location next year. The carnival people want to come back next year with their full carnival. It was well attended. Austin asked about the land behind the Catholic Church. Dan says he plans on contacting the Bishop about using that property for next year. He will also talk with K Miller about going across his property. Tiffanie suggested the board be involved in Glory Days parade by maybe entering a float. Dan suggested offering a contest like “The Best Lawn”, and have winners on that float, or something along those lines. The 5K run was great, but they could use better markers. The report was accepted upon a motion by Tiffanie and a second by Paula. Motion carried. Building Inspector: He reviewed his written report with the Board. The report was accepted upon a motion by Paula and a second by Larry. Motion carried.

Court: The Board reviewed the Municipal Judge report. The report was accepted as presented upon a motion by Patrick and a second by Earl. Motion carried.

Police: Richard stated that he needs a transmission for patrol car #733. He presented an estimate for a remanufactured and a new one. A new one with a warranty is $2708.90, while the remanufactured one would cost $2913.90. A motion was made by Earl and seconded by Patrick that we put a new transmission in # 733, with Baroz Auto doing the installation. Discussion of dispatch service followed, with Ray stating we need the service, and Dan stating it is an officer safety issue when reception in the area is limited. Homeland Security needs to be contacted regarding funding for our own tower. We have the equipment, but no service. Richard stated that he has been working on contacting residents about their weeds. He sent out a letter to Gallegos’ about the old Standard station, but has not received a response. Ray stated that we don’t want to get into this with the old station because it is a liability issue. Richard has not been able to contact the owner of 3 Willow Drive, nor anyone from the bank. Some of the neighbors have cut some of the weeds. Tiffanie suggested we follow through with Richard’s idea of having the maintenance department cut those weeds and putting alien on the property. A work order will be put in place for maintenance department. Richard was asked if he is the only one making “weed control” contacts. Richard stated that Dan helps also. Patrick asked Richard if there is a time frame to get weeds cut after being contacted. Richard said they have 10 days. The police report was accepted upon a motion by Larry and a second by Paula. Motion carried.
Maintenance: Keith defended his actions regarding the Polkowske trees. He also addressed Ruby Nissley’s complaint. He went to the park that afternoon and did not see any vulgar remarks on the tables, but did not know to look at the slides. He will take care of the clean up on Friday, (8/14/09). A complaint form to be kept at the clerk’s counter was requested, and we will call the resident when a complaint/issue has been taken care of. The playground equipment has been installed at Aspen Circle Park, and Keith asked if he can purchase plastic border and pea gravel to finish. Patrick told him to do what it takes to comply with the grant and with what money is available.
Kelly Kitchen has put his own sewer taps in without contacting us or paying for meters. Earl suggested the county commissioner in charge of the nursing home project be contacted so as not to step on toes, and find out if they are in compliance. Kitchen should be required to remove the taps when construction is done. We can bill an average and back bill him. Water was seen being used from the hydrant without a meter attached. Bill did not give permission for the sewer taps and will go to the county commissioners with this issue.
There was discussion on #9 of the report. Bill had RMS jet out the sewer line behind Ann’s CafĂ©. Priscilla’s apartment and Gilbert Lopez’s. There is only one line there to the city line and these residents have been paying for sewer for many years. RMS put in a tap for Gilbert. Now the question is “who pays for the tap”? Karol will call RMS on Friday morning for a breakdown of services.
Tiffanie came back to the Polkowske tree incident and Keith stated he had made contact with them. The trees had not been trimmed in a timely manner and he was ordered to cut the trees down in order to see the speed limit sign. Bill will send a letter of apology from the town board.
Keith requested a portable cement mixer so they can continue to patch potholes. The maintenance report was accepted upon a motion by Earl, with a second by Patrick. Motion carried.


Larry – Had nothing to report.

Earl- Is grass going to be planted out front of town hall now? Keith stated he is checking on grass seed now.

Henry- asked Karol to let him know about the RMS bill.

Tiffanie – asked about drilling holes for flag poles. Business owners will need to be contacted first before we drill any holes. The board agreed they would be glad to drill the holes if someone gets a cement hammer drill.
She also addressed bicycle lanes, or changing the car parking direction, so that children are safe riding their bicycles in the street. Richard will look into the hiway department regulations on bicycle lanes.

Patrick-Why are we not offering an extra supplemental retirement plan to the police department employees. There was discussion that no one has been offered a plan over the last 15 years. Patrick thinks the town ought to offer a plan and pay employees retroactively. Ray suggested we ask the employees if they would be willing to go prospectively, not retroactively. Austin stated that a workshop would be needed to get all employees involved. Tiffanie moved that this issue be tabled until we can meet with Cassandra.
Patrick stated that the high school has a new wrestling room and Victor wants the town to relocate the manhole so that it will pass state inspection. State inspector has indicated that it can be patched and smoothed out to pass inspection, so we will go and patch around the current manhole and smooth it out, but not relocate it.

Austin –Opened the sealed bids for the 1999 Crown Victoria patrol car. Earl moved, 2nd by Patrick that the bid be awarded to Jacob Ortiz for $1000.00 Richard will call and let him know.

Dan-invited all to the new National Guard Armory open house, Saturday, September 12, from 3-5 p.m. in Alamosa, located next to the detox center.

Attorney-Ray has drawn up a resolution for GOCO-IGA/25 year agreement.

Other resolution: The town board has officially changed west Main to Joe S. Chavez Drive. Motion by Tiffanie, 2nd by Paula, to accept report. Carried. Approval of Minutes:

Regular Meeting June 11, 2009 – Motion by Paula, 2nd by Tiffanie. Motion Carried.

Follow-Up of Minutes: None.

Approval of Bills:Paula moved to accept bills minus $770.00 to RMS until we get a breakdown of work performed. Patrick seconded. Motion Carried.

Other Business: There was discussion for a curfew ordinance for the town parks. The current curfew is at dark. Ray will draw up an ordinance that states ½ hour after sunset. The police department agreed. Patrick made the motion, seconded by Paula. Motion carried.

There being no further business a motion to adjourn was made by Tiffanie. Meeting adjourned at 11.35 pm.