Trustees Special Meeting: December 3, 2018

by Pitkin News december 5, 2018

A December 3 meeting scheduled for a 2019 budget hearing and a Board of Health meeting also provided the opportunity for the Town Council to receive a preliminary report from a special committee created to develop a snow removal policy statement for future years.  Due to anticipated budget challenges related to snow removal costs the committee was asked to propose a policy that will assist the Town Council in managing snow removal activities in a cost effective manner. The committee report provided an outline of the points that will be included in the draft policy which is to be submitted in January for Council consideration. The key points of the proposed policy will assure that all winter residents will receive snow removal services on a street or alley adjacent to their property. The policy will define winter residency and provide that snow removal routes may go “inactive” if properties served are determined to no longer be in use during the winter season. As in past years, property owners who are not winter residents may provide access to their property at their expense and any winter resident wanting an “inactive” route re-opened will be responsible for the cost of re-opening the route so it can be added to the regular plow routes. The proposed policy will also address no parking rules during snow removal activities, prohibit placing snow from private property into plowed streets, and require review of building permit applications to assure reasonable access to snow plow routes. Committee members are Steve Pinkston, Pete Olson, and Brad Wick.

The 2019 budget hearing included a review of anticipated revenues and expenses and indicated that a small surplus of funds will remain at the end of 2019. During the hearing Trustees considered proposals to fund directional signs to local businesses and the possibility of developing an enforcement program that would include appointment of a municipal court judge. After it was pointed out that standard budget procedures provide that a draft budget cannot be increased after notice of hearing is published the Council agreed to defer further discussion of those topics until early next year when they may decide to amend the budget to address additional expenses. As for review of the proposed budget expenditures, it was agreed to reduce the proposed snow removal budget amount with the understanding that the Street Fund has a sufficient fund balance to cover higher expenses if they occur. The Council discussed lowering the budget amount designated for the Pitkin Historical and Community Association. The funds budgeted for PHCA have typically been used to defray heating costs incurred when the Town Council uses the Newcomb Community Center for town meetings and other town endorsed activities during the winter. Council members discussed the fact that over the past several years a significant amount of local and grant funding has been dedicated to improvements to Town Hall and therefore perhaps the facility should once again become the center of local government activity.  Although no specific funding level for PHCA was determined it is expected the final amount approved will be reduced.  After further discussion of the PHCA matter and other budget items the Council agreed to continue the budget hearing until December 10 at which time final decisions on proposed expenses will be made.

A Board of Health meeting was convened with discussion centering on the need to review and update the existing Onsite Wastewater Treatment System ordinance originally adopted in 2015 and then amended in early 2018.  There is concern among Council members and the attending public that the OWTS ordinance contains several requirements which were added locally but which are not necessarily required by the State of Colorado rules, typically referred to as Regulation 43. There is also concern that the definition of duties of appointed positions related to implementation of the ordinance need to be simplified and clarified. The Board of Health (Town Council) agreed to appoint a committee of individuals knowledgeable about and experienced in working with septic systems to review the existing OWTS ordinance and submit recommended changes for consideration by the Town Council. The Board of Health also discussed the status of several recently installed OWTS projects which are in various stages of completion as it relates to compliance with documentation required by Regulation 43 and the OWTS ordinance.

It should be noted that during the Board of Health meeting Council discussion wandered off-topic briefly as the Mayor attempted to clarify her understanding of the direction of future discussions on the short term rental issue.  The Mayor indicated that representatives from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs could be called upon to facilitate a “Town Hall” type meeting. However, the Council reaffirmed the consensus it developed at a November 26 meeting that it is the intention of the Council to hold a public discussion meeting in January with the understanding the ground rules for the public meeting will be established by the Council at its December 10 meeting.

After further discussion the Board of Health meeting was adjourned without any formal action being taken but with the understanding that future meetings will be held to continue the process of updating the OWTS ordinance.

You may listen to the audio recording of this meeting by following this Link.