Audit, grant, recycling and more for Council

The City of Yuma has received a clean audit for the 2021 fiscal year.
Matthew Miller of McMahan and Associates, LLC, presented the 2021 audit via Zoom during the Yuma City Council’s rescheduled regular meeting, Monday night in the Council Chambers. He explained how the audit compares years, confirms financials with the banks, and a lot of time is spent on inventory and payroll.

Miller said it was a clean audit and went how it was supposed to go, adding that most audits do not. He said there were no problems with the financial management and there are no concerns to report.

Main St. spruce up
The Yuma Chamber of Commerce is applying for a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to further spruce up Main St. The project officially is called The Historic Yuma Main Street Revitalization Project.
The Chamber’s Wendy Lynch was at Monday’s meeting.
City Manager Scott Moore explained to the council it has been looked at since the Main St. Project was done in 2016.
The project calls for planters, lights strung across Main St., bicycle parking stations, and a wall for a “pocket park” in downtown Yuma.
The grant is for $132,300. The Chamber is applying for the grant, but the city would have a 10-percent match of $13,230. Y.U.M.A. also has pledged $3,500. Moore recommended the city’s match come from the Council Contingency Fund.
Lynch said the deadline for the CDOT grants is the last Wednesday each month, and the hope was to get it submitted by Wednesday of this week, July 29. Lynch said there is a two-week turnaround for approval.
If approved, the hope is to have the projected completed by next May. It also was noted the planters can be removed during the winter so as not to interfere with snow removal.
The council debated on how to go about paying the city’s 10-percent match.
Marylu Smith-Dischner asked if the CARES Act money the city has could be used, or the Conservation Trust Fund, which comes from lottery funds. Moore said the CARES funds would qualify, but not the lottery funds. Smith-Dischner asked if the wall and pocket park at least would qualify for the lottery funds. Moore said he would be hesitant to use it for that because it is not recreation per se.
Terri Frame brought up the city is working on a form for those to fill out seeking funds from the city. She suggested that in order to be consistent, the council should wait for that form to be put in place.
Marc Shay said it is matching funds, not a donation, and Moore said the city staff looks at it as a match rather than a donation.
Mayor Ron Swehla noted the project benefits the whole community, and thought it would be better to use Council Contingency money because it is for all of Yuma. Tim McClung said he agreed it should come out of Council Contingency.
The council unanimously approved the motion to pay the $13,230 out of the Council Contingency Fund for the grant’s 10-percent match.

City to stop paying fee
Ever since COVID-19 hit in the spring of 2020, the city has waived the fee for utility customers paying their bill electronically. The city has paid more than $34,000 during that time in covering the fees. The fee charged to the city for credit or debit card payments is 2.9 percent, and 1 percent on electronic checks.
However, it was explained to the council that a direct pay option does not involve any fees. Council members expressed their support of the direct pay option. They voted 6-0 to stop paying the fees for the customers as of August 31. In the meantime, the city will promote the direct pay option in hopes of getting customers to sign up for that prior to August 31.

Recycling issues
The introduction of the new recycling bins at the city’s recycling center has proven to be a big hit.
It has been so popular that the bins for aluminum and paper/chipboard were filled up right away.
However, the company that provides the recycling service, SE&EC out of Las Animas, had a truck break down so it has not been able to provide its regular pick up service. Moore told the council the bins will not be cleared out again until at least after July 5.
It is starting to get cluttered at the recycling center as people are leaving their recyclables even with some of the bins full. There was discussion about possibly purchasing more bins if the current ones continue to get filled up so quickly. Moore said that has been looked into, and the bins cost about $1,500. He added that Wray also is having the same issue because of the truck breakdown.

More meeting
• The council approved the special events permit for the Knights of Columbus, who will be operating a beer garden at the Yuma County Fair in August. The beer garden will be open at different times and in different locations on the fairgrounds August 5-8.
• The second reading of an ordinance amending the municipal code in regards to harassment, to bring the city’s code in line with state statutes, was approved 6-0.
• An ordinance dealing with animal impoundment procedures was approved on second reading. It provides for an impounding hearing in municipal court.
• The council passed a resolution opting out the city from participation in the State of Colorado Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, which was approved by voters in 2020. Employees can still opt in if they choose, but then must stay in it for a least three years. Had the city chosen to opt in, then all employees would have been in the program whether or not they wanted to be.
Prior to the vote, Smith-Dischner said she is in favor of family and medical leave for employees, but feels this program is not the way to do it. Other council members agreed.
• The council approved spending $58,276 for two reclosure switches. It is a budgeted expenditure.
• Moore said the water tower project on the north tower should be completed in about three weeks.