Editor's Note: I would like to sincerely thank Mark Browning who agreed to cover the Board of Trustees' meeting on December 19, when I was out of town on vacation. He then, on a moment's notice, stepped into the breech yet again on January 3, when I was stuck in Charles De Gaulle Airport with a canceled flight. No one knows better than I how much of a sacrifice he made in giving up those two evenings he will never get back in order to keep the Lyons community informed about the goings on down at Town Hall. Thank-you.
Joseph Lekarczyk – Editor
In the continuing effort of enhancing community engagement Mayor Connie Sullivan introduced Lyons High School student Georgia Barone, an officer in the school's Leo Club, to the gathering at Tuesday night's Board of Trustees' (BOT) meeting, after which Ms. Barone led the Pledge of Allegiance. Then it was on to the business at hand.
Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Bill Crist of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office reported that a house fire in Lyons is still under investigation, but all indications are that the cause was accidental in nature. The report then turned to traffic calming solutions for neighborhood streets, which see increased volume (and speeds) during the busy summer months when motorists are trying to circumvent backed up traffic along Main Street, often stretching all the way past the Rte. 36/66 intersection east of town. Sgt. Crist said he was looking into the cost of “portable speed bumps” that could be moved to different neighborhoods as needed, and removed after the busy summer season. A big concern was that more permanent measures might impede fire protection equipment access. Another suggestion was “Local Traffic Only” signs that might dissuade some of the volume. There was a difference of opinion about how effective these might be.
During staff reports, Flood Recovery Project Manager Joe Kubala reported that south side of the Fourth Avenue pedestrian bridge could be in the floodway, and further design and location options will be needed to ensure that FEMA's “no rise” stipulations are followed. Finance Director Tony Cavalier gave the Trustees an update on the measures he and his staff are following to help ensure a timely flow of federal and state reimbursement money for the continuing flood recovery projects. Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen notified the Trustees that discussions with the City of Longmont concerning the sale of the decommissioned water treatment plant east of town were “on going,” and she would supply more details in the scheduled executive session. She also told the Board that the money coming to Lyons in Round 3 of the CDBG-DR funding would only be about $350K (considerably less than in Rounds 1 and 2). But she added that the $6.6 million in grant money the Town has received so far, has been leveraged to provide $35 million in recovery projects. Trustee Juli Waugh then instigated a discussion about the feasibility of creating a volunteer work group to prepare Bohn Park land and then build a new ball field (similar to what was done back in the day with the Vasquez Field). Although there was across the board support for such a suggestion, Parks & Rec. Director Dave Cosgrove cautioned that due to regulations attached to some of the grant money, there could be some problems down the line when the Town applies for reimbursement. He also cited the challenges with tying in electric/irrigation/grading, etc., with the final park plan. Sullivan indicated she too was leery of the possibility that well-intentioned efforts could ultimately slow down the recovery process. The matter will continue to be looked into.
During audience business, former Mayor Julie Van Domelen eloquently spoke to the importance of supporting the local newspaper by continuing to designate it as the “paper of record” for Town of Lyons legal notices. She cited the troubling times that the country is now encountering with attacks by elected official on the media, and the important role that “local” newspapers play in the tapestry of a community (she is such an intelligent woman). Staff from the paper also spoke in favor of maintaining the Lyons Recorder as the “paper of record.” Editor's Note: In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the former Mayor.
A brief report about the current efforts by the Economic Development Commission (EDC) was given, and then Mayor Sullivan appointed several people to various boards and commissions: Debbie Anderson – EDC; Robert Breckenridge – Water Shed Board; Matt Manley – Lyons Arts & Humanities Commission; and Molly Grigsby – Lyons Aging Commission).
Acting as the Lyons Liquor Authority, the Board approved special events permits for the upcoming Old Man Winter fund raising event for CAN'd Aid, and for several art show at Town Hall sponsored by the LAHC. They also approved a premise modification for the Axe & Oar Restaurant.
Back as the BOT, after either continuing to the February 6 meeting, or removing eleven out of the thirteen items on the consent agenda, the Trustees approved both remaining items; a resolution granting a revocable encroachment license to construct and maintain a fence on Town property, and the January accounts payable. After a short discussion a second resolution granting a revocable encroachment license for another fence on Town owned property was approved, as was one of the seven resolutions determining that services between the Town of Lyons and various entities were “reasonable and necessary.” These resolutions stem from issues that arose from contracts for debris removal, etc., with local businesses that were issued for flood recovery projects during the weeks and months immediately following the 2013 flood. Sullivan wanted Staff to “add a little more meat (details) to the resolutions” as to what and why these contracts were deemed “reasonable and necessary” to guard against future challenges from federal and state grantors. Simonsen said it would be done, and indicated that there were approximately seventy-three more of these “reasonable and necessary” resolutions coming down the line. It was suggested that several be included in each BOT meeting so that they can be discussed and thus avoid the appearance of “rubber stamping.” The one “reasonable and necessary” resolution that was approved Tuesday evening was the one that pertained to JLB, Inc., a firm owned by Town Engineer Jim Blankenship, who hitched a ride into town with the National Guard the day after the flood, and whose presence, and knowledge of various utilities and infrastructure was invaluable to the recovery efforts in those first critical days.
Under general business, the Board approved a professional services agreement ($264K) with JVC for design services for a sewer line, lift station, and connections to water lines for properties in the eastern corridor. The Mayor quipped, “I hope you hold off on the installation until after we finalize a purchase agreement with Longmont so that the improvements don't increase the appraisal of the water treatment plant property!”
A second resolution with Smith Environmental & Engineering Inc., to “fill in the blanks for environmental impacts” for eastern corridor was approved. The Trustees also passed a resolution not to expend funds beyond the unrestricted general fund reserves for disaster recovery projects, and another for a re-design of the Second Avenue Bridge. The “30% design” was not approved by FEMA, so a new design, this time as a single span bridge (no pylons or supports in the river), so as prevent possible debris dams during future flooding events. And finally, after a thumbs up from Town Clerk Deb Anthony (she's an intelligent woman too), citing the multitude of extras the staff at the Lyons Recorder provides to the Town at no cost, the Board approved designating the Lyons Recorder as the “paper of record.”
The Trustees then gave their reports, a summary of action items was given to staff, and then called an executive session to discuss the possible purchase, acquisition, or transfer of real property (the decommissioned water plant), determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategies, instructing negotiators, and receiving legal advice regarding such properties.
In the wee small hours of the night, after the Trustees came out of the executive session, the meeting was adjourned.