Scholarship program debated at Council meeting

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Central City Council awards scholarship to Gilpin student

By David Josselyn

The Central City Council met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 7:00. All Council members were present. Finance Director Shannon Flowers was absent.

Consent Agenda

The first item of business was approving the consent agenda which included the regular bill lists of September 18, 25 and October 2; and the City Council minutes of September 16. Alderman Gloria Gaines moved to approve the regular bill lists and Council minutes and was seconded by Alderman Bob Spain. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

The Council opened the floor to the public for addressing any issue on the evening’s agenda. No one signed up to address the council.

Even water gets represented

Utilities Superintendent Shawn Griffith introduced Resolution 14-17 which would approve the City of Central to enter into an agreement with Alperstein & Cavell P.C. for legal services as special water counsel. This firm would replace the attorney that has represented the city for many years, but for unrelated reasons, has not been able to continue in this function. Alperstein & Cavell represents many small communities and municipalities. They have no history with Central City so they would come without preconceived notions regarding the town. Alderman Gaines moved to approve Resolution 14-17 and was seconded by Alderman Kathy Heider. Mayor Ron Engels questioned whether it would be appropriate to make a public announcement regarding the change for transparency. City Attorney Marcus McAskin responded by giving a brief history saying the former counsel missed some important deadlines for court filings putting the City in a bad position. When McAskin reached out to the former attorney, the lack of response was concerning. He does not know what is going on; it may be health issues or personal issues. Concerning the City’s water rights, it was time to make a change. Resolution 14-17 passed unanimously.

Promise Program Request

Manager Miera introduced the application from Tyrus Schmalz for the Central City Promise Program scholarship. The request is for $5,000 for continuing education to a Central City resident attending a college or university. Ty’s father, Buddy Schmalz, also addressed the Council on behalf of his son whom he “thinks is busy studying.” Ty is attending Colorado State University and has earned a 4.2 GPA during his second year. The first year at CSU, Ty finished with a 3.9 GPA. Ty is majoring in Health and Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Medicine. Mayor Engels stated that an administrative hold was put on this line item for the 2014 budget year and the Council should talk about the ramifications of continuing to fund the program. Alderman Gaines asked if it were possible that this scholarship program would be dropped from the 2015 budget due to financial constraints the city faces. Manager Miera responded that the scholarship is one of many line items under consideration for the 2015 budget year. Alderman Kathy Heider asked if there is a possibility of postponing this decision until we know what the rest of the year will look like. Mayor Engels responded that since the funding is already in place for 2014, it is not something we can postpone. Alderman Gaines moved to approve the request and was seconded by Alderman Bob Spain. The motion passed unanimously.

Staff Updates and Council Comments

Alderman Gaines thanked City Manager Miera once again for submitting a written report. “It’s nice to see what you’re doing in black and white.” Alderman Heider spoke up saying, “And it appears you’re doing a whole lot!”

Alderman Gaines next addressed Superintendent Griffith saying, “I’m going to whine a little bit.” Gaines asked about the progress on Eureka Street and when they will fill in the trench that has developed on the road. Griffith stated that it is an eight week project and he has filed a verbal complaint to the company. The road should be leveled by the end of the week. The end result which is part of the deal, is that Eureka will be repaved.

Alderman Shirley Voorhies said to Manager Miera, “Thank you for Channel 20!” It has been a four year struggle to get that back running.

Public Forum

The Council opened up the floor to the public for comment on any issues. Citizen Jack Hidahl signed up to speak to Council. Hidahl stated he was very pleased to hear discussion from the Council in taking a field trip to the water intakes. “It is very important to understand where and how the water gets to the City.” Hidahl also spoke to the candidates for Council and Mayor in the room encouraging them to reconsider the format of the Candidate Meet & Greet this coming Saturday, October 11. Hidahl requested a more formal question and answer session to better inform the public.

Executive Director of the Business Improvement District Joe Behm took this opportunity to address the Council. Joe first congratulated Dostal Alley for their Silver Medal win for their Shaft House Stout in the Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout category during the Denver Beer Fest this past weekend. There were 84 brands competing in this category from across the United States.

Behm next informed the council that the BID considered hosting a candidates forum, but didn’t; however, he also encouraged the candidates to hold a formal question and answer forum this Saturday.

Candidate for Central City Council, Judy Laratta, addressed the Council in response to the calls for a formal question and answer session. Laratta stated that no one prior to today has shown any interest in a formal question and answer forum for the candidates. Even the local paper did not set anything up or request bios from the candidates. Laratta went on to say that “I don’t believe we were given enough time” for a formal Q & A this Saturday. The candidates pulled this together themselves because no one else showed interest. “I don’t believe there will be many people there anyway; just look at the Council meeting turnout.” Publisher’s Note: Our policy is for candidates to submit press releases with photo to the Weekly Register-Call stating why they think they should be elected. We do not have the resources to contact and interview all the city, county, and state political candidates who are running for office and want to be published in the newspaper.

Next Meeting

The meeting adjourned at 7:42. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 21, for the next regular Council meeting.

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