by Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
Considering what a light agenda the Board of Trustees (BOT) had on Monday night (November 7) it’s hard to figure out exactly why it took two and a half hours to finish their business. The roll call went
off without a hitch (all present and accounted for), the reflective moment of silence was short and sweet, and Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Kevin Parker of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office didn’t have much to report (“A bigger and better, nerve wracking, yet quiet Halloween Parade.”). He did inform the Trustees and Mayor that “the posse earlier in the evening at Diamond Shamrock was because of a bunch of young adults with very realistic looking B-B guns that caused a stir out at Hall’s Ranch. The desperados were apprehended and dealt with sternly in the convenience store parking lot. Nobody was present to participate in audience business, and the consent agenda, consisting of the October 17 BOT meeting minutes and the October accounts payable, sailed through in a 6-0 and 7-0 vote, once it was determined that Trustee Kirk Udovich could recuse himself from voting on the minutes since he wasn’t at the October 17 meeting. It was 7:15 and we were smokin’ right along.
Under general business, a request by School/Town Youth Specialist Paula Randazzo for a two hundred dollar donation to supply Thanksgiving Baskets with the necessary items (turkey, pies, veggies, fruit, etc.) was passed unanimously after a short discussion. As was a license agreement between the Town of Lyons and John Tweatt for the maintenance of a fence on Town property (once it was determined that this would not cost the Town any money, and the Town was not relinquishing their right of way).
Things did start to bog down a little with the discussion and approval of the installation of an automated sprinkler system for Bohn Park. Parks & Rec. Supervisor Dave Cosgrove explained to the Board that this would make a more efficient use of water, and man-hours and has been in the planning for a few years. Cosgrove told the Trustees that the project could be finished by the end of November or the beginning of December. The gang of seven approved the project, with the caveat that it not exceed thirty-nine thousand dollars. Still making pretty good time!
A report by Chief Financial Officer Jody McClerkin on the July, August, and September 2011 financials went pretty smoothly (the Trustees had just finished a one and a half hour budget workshop prior to the meeting, so every one was well versed). Things were looking pretty good on most fronts. When Administrator Victoria Simonsen turned the discussion to possible franchise fees (which Mayor Julie Van
Domelen asked to have added to the agenda just prior to the beginning of the meeting) for the enterprise funds, i.e. water, electric, and sewer, it was then that things became tangled in a morass of nomenclature and endless discussion that went round and round, without finding a definitive solution that anyone felt really good about.
In a very small (and probably not completely precise) nutshell, the Staff and BOT are looking for ways to “stabilize” the General Fund revenues (currently funded primarily by sales tax and building starts), and when Simonsen learned that other municipalities charge themselves franchise fees for use of right of ways, and property for such things as electric lines, and water pipes, etc., and since the Town of
Lyons runs these utilities, it would be kosher to essentially charge themselves (in this case the enterprise funds) a franchise fee, which would go into the General Fund. Are you still with me? It’s kind of like taking from Peter to pay Paul. The big sticking point among the Trustees was that they are trying to get the base user rates to go down, and weren’t wild about these fees raising customers’ bills. A noble sentiment, especially with elections coming up in April of 2012. The end result was that nothing was decided, except to continue looking into the possibility.
The Trustees and Staff gave their reports, and speaking of the April 2012 elections, Town Clerk Deb Anthony let everyone know that the wheels have begun turning for a petition, by a citizens group, for the repeal of the medical marijuana ordinance that was passed earlier this summer. There are several deadlines along the way that need to be met, but Anthony said that if a petition were submitted within the next couple of weeks, the issue of whether or not to ban medical marijuana businesses in Lyons would be on the April ballot. If not, then a special election would be needed sometime later in the year, depending on when a petition is officially submitted. Stay tuned.