By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor
Date line: Tuesday, October 15
There wasn’t much on Board of Trustees (BOT) agenda Monday night (October 14). No Boulder County Sheriff’s report, no ordinances, no resolutions, no special events permits, no commission or committee updates, in fact there were no action items at all. The perfect scenario for a budget discussion; especially since October is usually budget season, and the Town Finance Director Tony Cavalier is bound by state law to present the Board with a “draft
budget” during the month. Cavalier and Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen apologized for the extremely “rough draft” nature of the document. Since the Town Staff has been somewhat “otherwise occupied” for the last few weeks, Mayor Julie Van Domelen and the rest of the Trustees were willing to let it slide.
If fact, Van Domelen announced (since crisis budgets, etc. are right up her professional alley) she will be rolling up her sleeves in the coming days to work closely with Cavalier to do some serious budget revamping. She also asked the other Trustees to pick a particular part of the budget that they have an affinity for and go over everything, line by line, to see what can be deemed absolutely critical and essential for the recovery effort, and what will have to be cut. To that end, Trustee Sandy Banta will be looking at utilities and arts and humanities, Trustee Dan Greenberg will be going over the library budget, Trustee LaVern Johnson will be looking into Parks & Rec., Trustee Connie Sullivan will be working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Golden Gang, Trustee Kirk Udovich will be sitting down with the Planning and Community Development Commission, and Trustee Dawn Weller will be scrutinizing the Sustainable Futures projects.
Van Domelen said it was imperative that “we put together a financing plan framework and begin working on cash flow models” that anticipate sales tax revenue shortfalls of ten, twenty-five, and fifty percent for 2014. The Board expressed the need to get a Recovery Manager in place so as to free up Town Staff to handle the day to day chores and deadlines of running a municipality that are still mandated by the State of Colorado. It was also put forth by Weller, and everyone agreed, that perhaps, if only as a symbolic gesture, the Trustees and Mayor forego their monthly stipend (for the third time since the 2009 economic crisis).
During audience business, Economic Development Commission Chair John O’Brien gave an update on various recovery funds that have been set up. The Lyons Community Foundation now has received around $450,000, to their essential needs fund, and has set up a window for individuals who either live, work, or own businesses in the Lyons area to apply for grants. That period runs from October 15, through November 15, and grant applications can be filled out at their website (www.lyonscf.org) or pick up at several spots around town (St. Vrain Market, Temporary Town Hall, and ReRuns). O’Brien also reported that the Oskar Blues Can’d Aid relief fund had accumulated around $179,000 and was in the process of giving grants to Lyons area businesses that have been financially impacted by the flood (applications for this can be obtained either online at www.foundation.oskarblues.com, or at the CHUBway on Rte. 119 in Longmont).
Also during audience business, Mark Browning explained to the Board that if the library district November ballot questions passed, there would be a need to extend the deadline to come up with an intergovernmental agreement between the district and Larimer and Boulder Counties.
During Trustee reports, Banta explained that Eagle Canyon had been “energized” that afternoon (a day ahead of time). Greenberg rued the confusion with FEMA denying no-utility letters issued from the Town, and suggested that a “higher up” from the FEMA team will be present at the Thursday community update meeting at LifeBridge Church to hopefully straighten this and other confusing issues out. He again stressed the importance of “follow up contacts” with FEMA, either online, by phone, or better yet, in person at the Lyons Elementary School gym. The Mayor was also perplexed to learn that Jamestown has three FEMA bigwigs at their Disaster Recovery Center, Longmont has ten, and Lyons only has one! She appealed to Boulder County Commissioner Cindy Domenico, who was present, to see if she could use her influence to get Lyons a little more FEMA upper management presence to handle these confusing dilemmas.
During Staff reports, Simonsen had some very encouraging news; the second bacteria test for Ecoli in the main water transportation lines has come back negative. All in all, very good news. Of course things being what they are, everything could change by this week’s Thursday community update meeting at 7 p.m., at the LifeBridge Church. On that note, the meeting was adjourned.