By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.The recent combination of extremely high temperatures and little or no rain has meant an increase in the usage of both water and power by Lyons residents, according to Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen. At Monday night’s Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting Simonsen explained to the Trustees that the Town has, in the last week, reached the daily cap levels for water usage put in place by the contract between the Town of Lyons and the City of Longmont (the water supplier). There are daily, weekly, and monthly averages in place that if exceeded, cause an increase in the water rate that the Town pays Longmont. Simonsen told the Board it was the first time she was aware that the cap has been exceeded.
As a result, she suggested that the residents be informed that there are already watering and irrigation rules on the books (though rarely enforced up to this point) that only allow for watering of lawns and gardens (if using Town water) from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m., on alternating days (if you have an even numbered street address, you can water on even numbered days, and visa versa for odd numbered street addresses). These rules do not apply for people who irrigate with “ditch company” water. Simonsen also noted that since the current drought cycle is predicted to be a “three-year cycle,” it might be prudent for the Board to come up with some emergency contingency plans for restricted water use down the line. FYI, the fine for watering during the day, or on the wrong day is $25 for the first offense, and $50 for the second (one has to presume it goes up from there)!
Simonsen also explained to the Trustees that the high temperatures have increased the demand for air conditioning, which has put a strain on the electrical infrastructure, particularly in the “old town” section of Lyons. Apparently, several transformers have been knocked out because of the overloads. Fortunately, the Board approved the purchase of reserve transformers last year, and Public Works and the power company have been able to replace them without too much problem.
Simonsen also gave the Trustees a heads up that an electric rate increase might be coming in the near future. It seems a representative for MEAN (Municipal Energy Association of Nebraska, what an ironic acronym), which supplies the Town with power, will be coming before the Board in the coming weeks. The last time they paid a visit (2008) suggesting a rate increase was at the beginning of the current economic down turn, and the BOT didn’t approve said increase. Simonsen told the Board that there hasn’t been a rate increase since 2005, and predicted that since costs for production and delivery of power have gone up since then, to expect a rate increase, too (dang, there goes the savings we just got on the water rate decrease).
Lyons Substation Supervisor, Sgt. Kevin Parker, reported to the Board that things went relatively well during the Good Old Days celebration. He said there was only one incident, a fist fight between two teenage boys over an unpaid debt, and that it had nothing to do with either Good Old Days or the beer tent. He also informed the Trustees that he has stepped up the enforcement of dogs off leash, after the recent incidents (two people have been bitten in Bohn Park), and that three citations have been issued (all three to locals). He also reported that a Boulder County fire ban citation ($500!) had been issued to a local resident who had a fire in a backyard fire pit.
Just a reminder to everyone, for obvious reasons, there is a fire ban for Boulder County (including Lyons). No open fires (charcoal cooking included) anywhere! Also, this Includes a ban on all fireworks (ground displays, aerials, and even sparklers). Parker said that what is happening around the state is a real wake up call, and asked that all residents please use common sense, and obey the fire ban.
During audience business, Christine Berg, the Community Outreach Manager for Congressman Jared Polis, informed the Board that her boss (Polis) would be holding a “town hall meeting” for questions and answers here in Lyons at Town Hall (naturally) on Thursday, August 16. Mark your calendars.
There were two public hearings and second readings for a couple of ordinances. The first was to amend the Lyons municipal code concerning the licensing of medical marijuana businesses (basically to impose a relocation fee), and the second concerned the two-hour parking limits (on Main Street, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays, from May 1 to September 30). Both were passed 5 – 0 (Trustees LaVern Johnson and Dawn Weller were not present) with no comment from the public (no one was present) and little discussion form the Board. Mayor Julie Van Domelen noted, “What a difference a year makes. I never thought I’d see the day when a public hearing concerning medical marijuana was held in Lyons and nobody showed up!”
The consent agenda, consisting of the June accounts payable, and the June 22 BOT meeting minutes were approved. There was some issues with the wording of the June 18 BOT meeting’s minutes, so they were tabled until the next meeting, and staff was instructed to review the tape, and make necessary corrections. During general business, Finance Director
Jody McClurkin went over the Town’s financials and fund balances year to date. She answered questions and provided information about sales tax and property taxes revenues. At this point things seem to be about where projected. She also laid out a schedule for upcoming budget workshops for the BOT and staff. It looks like everyone will be pretty busy between now and October. The Trustees also unanimously gave approval to staff to pursue becoming a “pilot town” for DRCOG’s Boomer Bond program.
Reports were given by the Trustees and staff, and then the room was cleared (the lone person in the audience was asked to leave) so Board could go into executive sessions to discuss strategies for a possible real estate transaction (the decommissioned water treatment plant east of town). Upon reconvening, the meeting was adjourned.