General fund, mill levy, fences and more discussed
by Bob Kennemer
LA VETA — The La Veta Town Board passed its 2018 budget at their regular meeting on December 5, with total general fund expenditures set at $1,920,841, the Francisco Fort Museum was set at $216,056, the Water Fund at $529,891 and the Sewer Fund at 489,993. Mayor Doug Brgoch noted the town has not raised the mill levy since 1974, when the town hall burned to the ground and funds were needed to rebuild. “We have one of the lowest mill levies in the state,” said Brgoch.
Moving to new business, the board heard a presentation by local business owner Sandy Dolak, who was asking the board to approve use of the La Veta town park for the 2018 Huajatolla Heritage Festival to be held on August 3, 4, and 5. Dolak said the 2017 event was a huge success and the Colorado Tourism Board had asked for photographs of the event, noting the important cultural heritage aspects of the festival.
Board members asked if the event was sponsored by a non-profit, as events in the park are mainly held by not for profit organizations.
Dolak responded, “It is sooo non-profit!” She explained she had funded the event this year primarily out of her own pocket along with some donations, but that if need be she could hold the event via a nonprofit organization. Dolak stressed the event brings people to town, which helps local businesses. Dolak agreed to pay for the insurance for the 2018 event as she had done for the 2017 festival. The board approved Dolak’s request and asked she keep them informed as to the event’s progress and stressed that the insurance was a must.
Mark White approached the board with a request for a variance to construct an 8’ to 9’ fence around his property at the west end of Cascade Street, where he is building a home. Only 6’ fences are allowed in La Veta. White claimed that due to the terrain and slopes on his land deer could get stuck within his yard and wanted to keep them out. Trustee Mickey Schmidt and other board members expressed doubt that deer could make the lengthy jump to get over his fence. After some conversation the board agreed to hold a public hearing for the variance on January 2, at 6:30 pm. White was asked to provide more detail on the fence for the hearing.
The board then passed Resolutions #11-17 through #15-17, all pertaining to the 2018 budget. Related to the 2018 budget, the board called for an ordinance to be drafted regarding the continuance of a sales tax funding the Francisco Fort Museum. The question would be placed on the 2018 spring ballot. Previously, La Veta voters strongly supported the half cent sales tax, which goes toward operating and maintaining the museum. That tax sunsets in 2020. This ballot question would ask to continue the existing tax for another 10 years beginning in 2020.
The board then went into executive session to discuss water issues. Coming out of executive session the board moved to create a Memorandum of Understanding with the city of Walsenburg, the Huerfano County Water Conservancy District, and the Cuchara Sanitation and Water District regarding water storage and water rights along the Cuchara River in Huerfano County. This ties into an ongoing effort and proposal to develop increased water storage in the county.