Trustees Work Session: November 19, 2018

by Pitkin News November 19, 2018

COUNTY PROCEDURAL ERRORS CAST DOUBT ON STR ADISORY ELECTION RESULTS, TOWN COUNCIL MAKES PROGRESS ON 2019 BUDGET, SNOW REMOVAL SET FOR THIS WINTER

ELECTION

Following what the Pitkin Town Council hoped would be an election to assist them in determining future zoning restrictions on short term rentals, it was learned at a special meeting on November 15 that the results of the November general election may be inconclusive as they relate to a Pitkin ballot issue. Voters were asked to vote for or against the idea of amending the zoning code to prohibit short term rental operations in the residential zoned areas of Pitkin. The final tally indicated that 34 voters favor the amendment while 33 oppose. Gunnison County election officials attended the November 15 special meeting of the Town Council to explain that procedural errors have put the validity of the results on the short term rental issue in question. It turns out that three of the votes included in the tally were cast by individuals who do not reside in Pitkin but were erroneously given ballots that included the Pitkin ballot questions. Election officials acknowledged that the error was unique in their experience an offered three options to resolve the predicament. The options are to let the results stand, have Gunnison County, at the County's expense, conduct another election on the short term rental question only, or Pitkin can sponsor an election at another time at the Town's expense. Election officials explained that they administered thirty-four different ballots that were required in order to assure that residents in numerous special districts and different communities throughout Gunnison County had the opportunity to vote on national and state ballot issues as well as issues specific to their primary residence location. It was further explained that the Town Council needs to decide how to proceed no later than November 27 as provided by state election laws and that if another County sponsored election is desired the matter will first need to be reviewed in Gunnison County District Court to determine any special procedures or timing requirements. After noting that the election was advisory in nature and that no further action is necessarily required, the Town Council decided to schedule a special meeting on November 26 to attempt to resolve the problem. Election officials noted that the results of the Pitkin ballot issue concerning a proposed sales tax increase are not affected as the proposal was defeated by a vote of 49 opposed and 18 in favor.

SNOW REMOVAL

The Town Council approved two actions related to snow removal at the November 12 meeting. The first approved an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Gunnison County so that Gunnison County Public Works will provide some snow removal services to Pitkin for this winter. Gunnison County will plow Main, State, and River Streets and a couple cross-streets. The Council approved the IGA with the understanding that a memorandum of understanding will be drafted to clarify how the annual IGA agreement can be renewed and to clarify how payment for services to Gunnison County will be determined. With the Gunnison County Public Works snow plow services determined, the Council then reviewed and approved a bid for snow removal services of other areas of town that was submitted by Quartz Creek Company. The Quartz Creek Company bid proposal identified hourly costs for equipment used and indicated that backup equipment is available to assure minimal service interruptions. Total costs will depend on winter snowfall and it is hoped that a normal winter snowfall will provide the Town Council with a better understanding of budget demands for future years. It has become necessary for the Town Council to contract for additional snow removal services since Gunnison County has reduced the level of service it provides. A map of snow plow routes will be posted at the Post Office and any questions may be referred to the Street Commissioner.

OTHER BUSINESS

At the November 12 regular Town Council meeting the following additional items were discussed:

*The Town Clerk, at the request of the Town Council, will begin having regular office hours at Town Hall on Tuesdays from 10:00AM to noon. Depending on use of the service by the public the Council may also make arrangements for Internet service to Town Hall to be used by the Town Clerk.

*Plans are underway to establish an email notification system for town residents to provide informationon emergencies, utility disruptions, town meetings and events, and Council meeting information. Participation in the email notification system will be voluntary and no user information will be shared with others.

*After discussing whether or not to appoint a new Interim Environmental Health Agent the Councila greed to defer action until the OWTS ordinance can be reviewed and possibly amended to clarify duties of the position.

*The following meetings were scheduled:

November 26 Special Meeting to discuss election results.

December 3 Special Meeting for Board of Health review of OWTS Ordinance and 2019 Budget Hearing.

December 4 Town Meeting to continue discussion of SWOT planning activity.

December 10 Regular Town Council Meeting.

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