Council covers ground in last meeting of ’21

The Yuma City Council held its last meeting of 2021, last week in the Council Chambers at Yuma City Hall.
All seven members were in attendance — Mayor Ron Swehla, Mayor Pro-tem Marc Shay, and council members Marylu Smith-Dischner, Tim McClung, Dan Baucke, Daniel Ebersole, and Terri Frame.
The council attacked several items during its final gathering of the year. We’ll just go through the agenda as they came up.
Shelby Clark was introduced as the new executive director of the Yuma County Economic Development Corporation. She said she was really excited to meet the council, and about her new role in economic development. When asked about her background to Yuma County, she said her family moved to Wray a few years ago.
“I love Yuma County and these communities, so I am excited to try to help make a difference,” Clark said.
Approving applying for a state grant for the Yuma Ambulance Service came before the council. City Manager Scott Moore told the council he had straightened out the numbers, and the city’s share would be $170,000, and the CDPHE grant would be for $90,000. The actual purchase would be in 2023, but the city would need to move forward with the grant application in 2022. The council voted unanimously to go ahead with the grant application.
The Yuma Police Department sought approval for a Homeland Security Grant. Chief Jerry Thompson told the council the $10,000 grant would be used to purchase a drone. He said safety is the biggest reason for the drone, noting it could be used if someone ran from the police at night. He said it could be used for aerial photographs of an accident scene, could help with rescue in the event of a natural disaster, and even could be used to assist other city departments, such as inspecting power lines. He noted it would have been useful a couple of years ago when a resident walked away from the nursing home at night. He said it would not be used for routine surveillance, though it could be during an active situation.
The council unanimously approved moving forward with the grant application.
A minor subdivision request by Revive Management, LLC for its property located on N. Birch was approved
A minor subdivision request by Nutrien Ag also was approved. Nutrien wants to carve out about one acre of land it owns on W. Hoag Ave. and sell it.
A resolution determining that the April 5, 2022, municipal election will be a mail ballot election was approved on a 7-0 vote. There will be four seats up for election.
Another resolution authorizing the city clerk to set compensation for election judges, and to pay it, was approved. City Clerk Karma Wells said she would confer with the Yuma County Clerk to set the compensation.
Moore visited with the council about the city’s participation in the countywide recycling grant. He said there was a concern that the agreement would obligate the city to a longer term than it can do. He has contacted South East & East Central Recycling, and the representative is going to take the concern to the board of directors.
McClung, who is on the landfill board, shed some light on the situation, explaining the grant is for the purchase of containers. He added that Wray and Eckley have signed the agreement.
Moore informed the council that the new trash truck has broken down again, only two weeks after being back in service. It is the same issue as the last time it broke down. He said the Sanitation Department is working with the vendor on looking into a long-term solution. Moore said the city has found a trash truck it could rent if it had to, but for now the remaining one in operation is working fine.
On a more positive note, he reported that the city’s sewer vacuum truck has been repaired and returned, and is ready to be put into operation again.
Baucke said he would like to have someone from Black Hills Energy come to a council meeting to explain the reason for such a big increase for natural gas.
McClung reported things are coming along well at the Yuma County Landfill under the interim director, who is finding some cost-savings
Shay, a member of the NECALG board, noted that a popular driver for the local County Express recently passed away from COVID-19 and is great missed. He added that people still need to remain vigilant.
Swehla informed the council that the CML Executive Board has an opening for municipalities under 8,000 people, and that Frame is interested in serving. The council will need to endorse her candidacy, which it did, and then send in a letter of interest. The CML Executive Board will make the final selection.