By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
It’s October, and that means budget time. The Board of Trustees (BOT) have been meeting (prior to their regularly scheduled meetings) in workshops with Department
Heads to go over their proposed budget requests for the 2012 budget cycle. Monday evening they spoke with Financial Officer Jody McGurkin about the enterprise funds (electric, water, and sewer) and according to Mayor Julie Van Domelen, “Things are looking pretty good.” She reported that, “each of the funds are now operating in a positive cash flow direction” (meaning the generated revenues are more than the annual expenses), and “each fund has a good surplus,” which will allow the Board and Staff to begin prioritizing and making capital improvements to existing infra-structure (i.e. water and utility line upkeep, etc.). But, with the national economy still in a precarious state, Lyons isn’t out of the woods yet, as St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) Board Member (and Lyons resident) Rick Hammons later drove home with his power point presentation during the regular meeting.
Speaking of the regular meeting, Lyons Substation Commander Sgt. Kevin Parker informed the Board that Boulder County Open Space would be (weather permitting) beginning a “prescribed burn” on the Hall Ranch open space just west of Lyons on Wednesday, October 5. Van Domelen, citing concerns she had heard during a recent Mountain Mayors Meeting, questioned why they would burn at this time of year? Parker admitted, “I’m no expert, but they tell me it’s because it gives the growth a chance to get started in spring after the snows melt.” Trustee LaVern Johnson voiced her hopes that someone would be there to watch it till it’s out. Parker assured her he felt that would be the case.
During audience business, Cam’s Cable employee, Robert Jones, told the Trustees that the company had filed for bankruptcy. He added, “We are looking at different options, but none of them are good.” When Johnson queried whether that meant an end to cable service for Lyons, Jones said, “It looks like it.” The consent agenda, consisting of the September 19 BOT meeting minutes and the September accounts payable, was passed without too much discussion.
Under general business, the first reading for an ordinance to approve the annexation of the Madhava property into the Town of Lyons was approved in a 7 to 0 vote. An audio equipment design company, called Grace Design (owned by Lyons residents Eben and Michael Grace) currently located in Boulder, is seeking to buy the property, and move their business to Lyons. The company has been in business since 1994 and employs 13 people (they hope to increase that number to 15 to 20 after expansion). The property is approximately 1.4 acres, and the approval of the annexation is one of the provisions of the sale of the property. The second reading and public hearing will be scheduled for the next BOT meeting (October 17).
The next agenda item was the aforementioned presentation by School Board Member Rick Hammons. It was quite sobering. Due to cuts in funding (over 300 million dollars) by the State to K through 12, and public secondary institutions, schools systems throughout the state are scrambling to make ends meet. Hammons explained that thanks to the first and only mill levy override for SVVSD, that was approved by local voters in 2008, the District hasn’t been hit as hard as some others (he cited Jefferson County, with over 200 teacher/staff lay-offs). Hammons told the audience of the necessity to pass Prop 103 (on this November’s mail-in ballot), which would allow a small increase in sales/use tax (from 2.9% to 3%) and state income tax (from 4.6% to 5%) for the next few years. Hammons noted that the tax increases would amount to an impact of about $2.75 per week for a household earning $50,000 per year. He added, “We are not asking for more, just to stop the bleeding (funding cuts),” and he said, “This is not a band-aid, as some of our opponents have stated, it is a tourniquet!” Hammons also pointed out that contrary to what some believe, the SVVSD has the lowest genralized administrative cost percentages (approximately 1.3%) when compared to other Denver Metro Districts (approximately 5% for Denver and/or Jefferson Counties), which means more money goes to the teachers, students, and programs. A complete 15 minute presentation, with all the numbers can be seen by going to http://grassrootsstvrain.wordpress.com, and clicking on “learn,” then clicking on the presentation. Your mail-in ballots will start to arrive in about a week, so it’s time to get informed.
Mary Chase, the Chair of the Parks & Rec. Commission gave the Board a presentation outlining their past accomplishments and future goals. Some of the things they are working on are: construction of a new multi-use ball field, automating the irrigation system in Bohn Park, the purchase of a ten acre parcel at the south end of Bohn Park, refurbishing of the tennis/basketball court in Bohn Park, and pursuing a grant for the creation of a Lyons Valley River Park Plan. The Mayor, along with the rest of the Board, grilled Parks & Rec. Supervisor Dave Cosgrove about the plans to relocate the park host in Bohn Park. They want to have viable options presented to them before next spring, and completion of said relocation before next summer.
The Trustees also acknowledged the receipt of the 2012 draft budget, and reviewed the final Intergovernmental Agreement between Boulder County and the Town of Lyons. Van Domelen will present it to the Planning and Community Development Commission for their comments and recommendations at their next meeting (October 10). The Trustees and Staff gave their reports; nothing earth shattering, and at a little after ten o’clock, the meeting was adjourned.