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 Lyons Board of Trustees (BOT) put a public hearing and resolution for the adoption of the Town’s 2013 budget on Monday night’s agenda, practically guaranteeing there would be nobody in the audience. It almost worked! A lone resident showed up for the meeting, however he never got a chance to comment on the budget because the Trustees were so
dissatisfied and confused by the presented document that they sent Finance Director Jody McClurkin back to the drawing board with instructions to deliver a “clean document” to them by the end of the week (Friday). The pubic hearing for the 2013 budget was continued until a specially called meeting (Monday, December 10, at 5:30 p.m.).
With the State mandated December 15 deadline for accepting an approved 2013 budget looming, the entire Board seemed confused and frustrated by the presented document.
None more so than Mayor Julie Van Domelen and Trustee Sandy Banta. Van Domelen stated that several changes that the Board had gone over and requested during previous budget workshops had not been incorporated, and she was particularly confused as to how “actual” numbers for 2013 revenues could be listed when they haven’t yet come in. Banta peppered Staff with questions about what she felt were discrepancies in numerous charts, graphs, numbers, and wording for the various enterprise funds (water, electric, wastewater, parks & rec.) as well as the general fund as the Trustees went over the document page by page. McClurkin asked the Board to consider the deadlines she was under, and noted that some of the final figures and calculations she needed wouldn’t be available until after December 15 date. She also defended many of the charts, graphs, and figures she included in the budget document stating they were “for comparison purposes” and she chastised the Board saying they had to “realize the limitations of the tables and charts,” and use the “appropriate tables” to glean the numbers they wanted. Banta eventually threw up her hands and decried, “I just want it to be like a check book! I want to be able to look at the numbers (revenues and expenditures) and see how each fund balance is doing so we don’t get any surprises. I want the bottom line, to be the bottom line!” Administrator Victoria Simonsen apologized to the Board for the presentation’s shortcomings, and McClurkin assured the Trustees she would make the necessary changes, and have the document they desired by Friday so they could peruse it over the weekend and hopefully approve it on Monday.
The rest of the meeting, considering there was an agenda item about Amendment 64 and recreational marijuana, was rather mundane. Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Kevin Parker opined that judging by the past experience with the medical marijuana issue, this one would also be “a muddy mess.” He added that because of certain ambiguities (number of people one person can grow for) marijuana grow complaints would now be at the “bottom of our call priorities.” Town Attorney Tim Cox indicated the State following its medical marijuana template, would likely let local governments manage the time, place, and manner of retail recreational marijuana sales within municipalities, and he and Parker suggested now was the time to start getting a framework of rules and regulations in place. In order to avoid the confusion of having people apply for business licenses before regulations are in place, and thus being “grandfathered in,” Cox suggested the Board consider a thirty day moratorium after the State issues its guidelines, which are supposed to be in place by a July 1, 2013 deadline. The veterans of the medical marijuana issue on the Board (Van Domelen, Banta, and Trustees Kirk Udovich and LaVern Johnson) felt that between noticing first and second readings, public hearings, and the mandatory thirty day waiting period for an ordinance to become law, that perhaps a ninety day moratorium after the July 1 deadline would be more logical. Udovich made a motion to that end, and it passed in a 6 to 0 vote (Trustee Connie Sullivan was out of town on a business trip).
The Trustees passed the consent agenda, consisting of the November 26 BOT meeting minutes and the December 2012 accounts payable. After a short discussion, they also unanimously passed a resolution approving an intergovernmental service agreement between the Town of Lyons and Boulder County Health for a Youth Specialist contract and a resolution adopting pay for performance policy and procedures for Town Staff.
As the hour was getting late, and the Board and Staff had been there since 5 p.m. (for a workshop on the Commercial Eastern Corridor zoning regulations), the Mayor asked for “brief” Trustee and Staff reports. Simonsen requested the Board approve the payment of the water “overage” charges (approximately $212,000) to the city of Longmont, to avoid any added interest fees.