By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
Nothing like a budget discussion item on the agenda to clear out a room! There were only five members of the public in attendance at Monday night’s Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, and none of them stuck around to take in the presentation and discussion of the December 2012 financial statement. Too bad, because in addition to there being a new sheriff in town, there is now officially a new Finance Director too, and from the timber of
the discussion, it sounds like the Trustees will now be getting the information, in an understandable and timely manner, that they have been asking for.
The position of Finance Director has been vacant since mid-December of 2012. Betty Simpson, a retired Assistant Finance Director for the City of Longmont for thirty years has been filling in a couple of days per week to keep things in Lyons moving along, and Monday night she officially handed the reins over to Tony Cavalier who was sworn in and introduced to the BOT during Monday’s meeting. Cavalier has been an accountant working with budget and payroll for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office for the last five and a half years. Prior to that, he worked in the banking industry, and his family has been in the wheat farming business (which lead to a humorous moment when members of the BOT misheard “wheat” for “weed”) in the Boulder/Longmont area since 1904 (which naturally raised his status several notches with Trustee LaVern Johnson; now if he only square dances).
Monday was Cavalier’s first day on the job, and the members of the Board stressed that they want frequent, easy to understand (bottom line: how much are we taking in, how much are we spending, how much do we have left) updates and reckonings throughout the fiscal year, so they don’t get caught short come November and December. Cavalier was more than willing, and said that this was what is was used to doing at his last job. He told the Trustees that he would be talking to Departments on a monthly basis to ensure that budgetary spending was on track. As Mayor Julie Van Domelen quipped, “You’re preaching to the choir,” so it sounds as if everyone is now on the same page. Cavalier will travel to Salt Lake City next week for three or four days to get training on the accounting software that the Town uses.
During his report to the Board, Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Nick Goldberger notified the Trustees that “similar” break-ins at the St. Vrain Pharmacy had occurred in other jurisdictions, and that his office was in contact with those other agencies to sift out possible leads on suspects. He also reported that there had been a break in at the Lyons Community Church, were someone had eaten some of the food in the food bank, broken a glass, but nothing else seemed to be missing. He stressed the importance of not only reporting this kind of incident, but leaving the “crime scene” as is (don’t clean up) until after the authorities have investigated.
During audience business, residents Dick and Sharon Jones spoke to the Board about a water bill that they have received for a leaking exterior water tap at their rental property. The bill is for a little over $3,700 and the couple felt as if there were extenuating circumstances that might come into play. Van Domelen advised that no action could be taken on items that come up during audience business, and wanted guidance from Staff as to whether this was something that the BOT traditionally dealt with, or if the Trustees would be opening a can of worms. Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen said that she would discuss it with Town Attorney Tim Cox, but felt that by ordinance property owners are responsible for the “upkeep and maintenance of the laterals on their property.” She did say that she had been in contact with the Joneses about spreading the payment out over a couple of years. Sharon Jones asked that this be put on a future agenda as a general business item.
Former Trustee Kathy Carroll and her husband Jim were on hand for the public hearing for an ordinance concerning the “use by right” as opposed to “conditional use” of bed and breakfast establishments in the estate zone.
There are two such districts in Lyons; one just south of Bohn Park (where the Carrolls reside), and the other a currently vacant parcel (owned by Craig Ferguson, who was also in attendance but didn’t speak) on upper Fifth Avenue along the cliff overlooking Planet Bluegrass. Carroll addressed the council, and she made the point that the “impact” of a few cars coming and going to her residence would probably be less than “the number of daily trips made by her two teenage girls.” Van Domelen pointed out that a rider concerning “off street parking” was moot for the Carroll parcel because there was no “street” to the property, just a long driveway. And Simonsen added that since the Ferguson property has no structures on it, if a B&B were to be contemplated, the parking issue could be addressed during a “sight plan review.” The ordinance was then quickly approved in a six to zero vote. Mayor Pro Tem Kirk Udovich was out of town on business.
The first readings of two ordinances, one regarding a code amendment for a location and extent review process for public facilities projects (projects conducted by the Town of Lyons such as the proposed wastewater treatment upgrade), and the other regarding the immobilization and impounding of motor vehicles (to boot or tow, that is the question), were continued until the April 15, BOT meeting. The consent agenda, consisting of the March 18, BOT meeting minutes and the April 2013, accounts payable was passed, and so was a resolution to amend the “drug and alcohol” section of the Town’s employee handbook, to forestall any problems with the Federal Government as a result of the change in the State’s constitution with the passing of Amendment 64 last November.
The Trustees and Staff then gave their reports, the Mayor appointed Lyons resident Randy Pollard to the Board of Adjustments, and the meeting was adjourned at 9:55 p.m.