In an attempt to finalize the ongoing issue of legality in changing village ordinances, the council voted 4-2 to pass a motion presented by Denise Dean, Village councilor. Her motion states: “I move that staff always presents an ordinance when revising or amending an ordinance no matter the content and resolutions are used as a formal declaration of the governing body concerning a certain subject and not intended to have penalties or force of law.”
Three forms of changes exist: motions, resolutions and ordinances. The agenda item presented to council was intended to inform council members of the differences in the three, according to Debi Lee, Village manager.
Jim Stoddard, village councilor, along with Councilor Rifle Salas opposed the motion by Dean. Ordinances require more than a month’s time in presenting issues for public hearing and timing requests. “We’ve discussed this, kicked it around and beat it to death. We have three legal opinions. This has got to come to an end. We have people who have wasted time and money on this,” said Ray Alborn, mayor.
“Circumstances will make me come to you and ask you how to handle things. There is a 45 day lead time to schedule public hearing notices,” said Dan Bryant, village attorney. Council discussed whether each item presented would need to be agenda items. “I think what you’re talking about is unrealistic,” said Lee, but assured the council that the village would continue to bring to council items which needed their action.
Councilors Stoddard and Salas voted no, while Dean, Sayers, Crawford, and Eby voted yes to support the motion.
Utilities budget adjustments
Because of residual issues with surface waters after the Little Bear Fire, projects previously funded no longer take priority. “We’ve canceled the pilot project on Alto Dam because of the water quality coming off the mountain. We’re not taking water into Grindstone reservoir because we don’t want to contaminate the water that is good.” Randall Camp, utilities director for the village said he’s sent back equipment slated to be used on the Alto Dam project and is in the process of restructuring the budget to take care of imminent issues relating to water needs.
“Our goal is to take the village to 100 percent ground water until the surface water improves. We’re in the process of putting the (budgeted) Alto Dam money into (village) well refurbishing and installing pressure valves. It’s immediate relief, and some projects will take longer time and require more budget realignment,” Camp said. “Our first priority is to provide water to this town.”
Camp indicated he’s in the process of working with FEMA for short term and long term options. Lee suggested adding a timeline for priorities to be set, to add to the village’s sustainability.
The motion for budget realignment passed unanimously.
New equipment for solid waste disposal
Four village half-ton vehicles used to pick up solid waste have more than 150,000 miles and significant wear and tear to warrant replacement, according to Jeff Kaplan, Solid Waste director for the village.
Stoddard indicated his concern in buying four new vehicles at once, and inquired about the feasibility of vehicle purchasing in a rotation by the village.
“I tried to put this (purchase) into rotation but haven’t been able to do so,” said Kaplan who continued his concerns relating to the purchase of needed dumpsters, and an upcoming replacement of a grapple truck next year. “If we don’t get (the new trucks) now we may not be able to get them at all. We have the money now. I wouldn’t be coming to you without the need. How the cost is spread is up to you.”
With more than 3,700 dumpsters in this town and 85 new ones currently budgeted, Kaplan said he would like to stagger large purchases. “We have held the line in budget and have been able to pay off debt and keep the line on our maintenance but when I’m spending money on maintenance and repairs (on the current vehicles) I have concerns,” said Kaplan.
Stoddard who co-chairs the Forestry Working Committee indicated the solid waste demands will increase due to dead forest product from bark beetle infestation, and asked for Lee’s opinion.
“You have the money in the budget, certainly purchase two now, maybe purchase two later. What’s happened at the village is we’ve put off buying equipment – we’ve bought used stuff. (Acting Fire Chief) Harlan (Vincent) has been working with less than best at the fire department. We have some serious needs when it comes to equipment,” answered Lee.
Stoddard made a motion to give authority to the village to purchase up to four vehicles, with Crawford offering the second. The motion passed unanimously.