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.