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Town Thinking About Orton Planning Support-Five Trustee Positions Up for Election

February 1st, 2012 by Thomas Wills

Filed under Featured, Hotchkiss

Hotchkiss Town Council
January 12, 2012

Present: Mayor Wendell Koontz, Lindee Cantrell, Dustyn Foster, Jane Wills, Marlin McCracken and Carrie Wingfield. Absent: Sheila Maki

Get Involved in Local Government
Five of the six Trustee positions on the Hotchkiss Town Council are up for election in the April 2012 municipal election. Of the five, Sheila Maki is term-limited and Jane Wills is choosing not to run for a second term so the Town will need at least two citizens to step up and fill the vacancies.

Nominating petitions may be picked up beginning February 13 from the Town Clerk’s office. Prospective candidates then have two weeks to gather about a dozen signatures of registered Hotchkiss voters and return the completed forms.

Hotchkiss has not held an election since 2002 due to a lack of candidates interested in serving. The Town Council meets once a month on the second Thursday evening, for about two hours plus an occasional work session. Trustees are paid $50 per month regardless of how much time is involved.

Town Supportive of Orton Foundation Process
Although the Town of Hotchkiss has not yet committed to financially supporting the Orton Foundation “Heart and Soul of Community” planning process, the Trustees did appoint trustee Dustyn Foster to serve on the initiative’s advisory board. Town Attorney, Jim Briscoe will review a partnership agreement presented by Elaine Brett and the council will consider whether or not to sign it in February. There will also be consideration of a proposed monetary donation to the effort. The Town had previously agreed to some in-kind donations such as free use of meeting space.

Brett, who had been the leader of the North Fork Vision 2020 group that wrote the Orton Grant explained again that the award amount was $100,000 over two years, and must be fully matched by the community. At least $25,000 of the match must be in cash while the remaining $75,000 may be in in-kind services.

Brett told the council that she had commitments so far for about $20,000 of the $25,000. She said that the Orton Foundation representative would visit the Valley on January 24 and would like the board and partners such as the Towns and Chambers to sign on to a partnership agreement by February 15th.

Orton would also like a project coordinator on board by late February when three local people (including the coordinator) will travel to Chicago for process training.

High School Group Wants to Fix Tennis Courts
Sarah Marshal from Hotchkiss High School asked the trustees if the Town would be willing to sponsor the School District for a Great Outdoors Colorado (GoCo) lottery funds grant to replace the surface on the tennis courts at the school. The School District is ineligible to apply for the grant on its own.

Mayor Koontz said that there might be a conflict since the Town would like to apply for a GoCo grant of its own to develop the park at the intersection of Highways 133 and 92 near City Market. The tennis court grant would be for 70 percent of total costs $66,500 with a minimum 10 percent cash match for the remaining 30 percent. Marshal said that school groups would do fundraising to achieve the match.

Previously the North Fork Pool Park and Recreation District sponsored grants for a playground at the North Fork Montessori School and for a new running track at the High School.

The Town will consider the request and address it at a later date.

Town Donates to Library
Despite having a current policy that discourages donations from Town coffers to other tax collecting entities, the Trustees approved a $500 dollar donation to the Hotchkiss Public Library to buy books or cover kids’ program costs. The HPL is a branch of the Delta County Library District, which is funded by a property tax levy. Librarian Rhonda Duclo had requested a donation of $750 to $1,000.

Other Discussion and Actions
Town engineer Joanne Fagan announced that Sapphire Construction has essentially completed the High School pipeline projects and the line is now pressurized and in use. The Trustees approved a final change order to the contract amount of $26,245.45 to cover unanticipated site conditions resulting in extra expenses.

The approximate final cost of the project is $429,265.20 or about $41,000 higher than the original bid amount, but that bid was considerably lower than the engineer’s estimate.

It was announced that the Town’s building inspector, Tim Hinz of Orchard City has submitted his resignation and the Town will be hiring a new inspector.

The Trustees expressed support for a request by Sundee Brezonick of the Kappa Pi sorority to move the start of Hotchkiss Sheepdog Trials Fun Run on May 12 from the High School to Hotchkiss Avenue near the firehouse. The new course would then go west to Cedar Street (3400 Road) and south to the end of the pavement and back. Brezonick indicated the goal is to make the race more visible and increase participation. The race will raise scholarship funds for a Hotchkiss or Paonia girl majoring in math or science.

The Trustees approved the writing of a generic letter of support for the Creamery Arts Center that will be used by that organization when writing grants. CAC board president Dr. John Willett said that one major need was for a grant to help purchase the building from the current owners, the Tullis family as Art Futures, Inc. Since the building is currently privately owned, it is assessed on County rules as a commercial property resulting in over $19,000 per year of property taxes.

A Town logoed t-shirt was presented and examined by the council. There is a plan to print some and have them for sale at Town Hall and perhaps other businesses in town.

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