Council finally met again

It was out with the old and in with the new when the Yuma City Council finally met last week for its first meeting since the April 7 municipal election.
It also was the first meeting since March 17, the day before the City of Yuma closed all of its buildings to the public in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The meeting was held remotely, with everyone participating their own homes using the Zoom application on their electronic devices. Everybody could see and hear each other from the safety of their own homes. Some members of the public also participated.
It went fairly smoothly after a few rough spots early in communicating with each other.
Some old business was taken care of first by the old council, which included outgoing council members Bethleen McCall and Steve Hoch.
There were two purchases approved by the old council. One was for $5,045 to DBT Transportation, which maintains the AWOS system at Yuma Municipal Airport, which it has done for the past three years. The other was $24,593.77 for an electrical transformer at the new and renovated Yuma High School.
Both passed on 6-0 votes.
Mayor Ron Swehla then expressed his thanks to McCall and Hoch for their time on the council.
McCall said she was proud of all that was accomplished by the city during her time on the council. Hoch said he had been blessed and honored working with the council and city staff. He said the council was a coherent and easy to work with group
The old council then adjourned, and new council members Daniel Ebersole and Tim McClung took over. Also beginning new terms at last week’s meeting were Swehla, and returning council members Dan Baucke and Bryson Chrismer.
Luke Goeglein is the only current council member in the middle of his term.
There is one opening on the council as Ryan Saffer resigned last month. The city currently is accepting letters of interest from individuals interested in being on the council. The letters must be submitted by May 5 at 5 p.m. See advertisement elsewhere for more information.
A couple of questions had been submitted to the council. One question was if the city posts the budget and audit on its website. The answer is “no” with the explanation that all documents are available for inspection at City Hall. It also was asked how much is in reserves in the city’s various budgets, the answer provided being that the figures are available for viewing at City Hall. (Well, except for the moment City Hall is closed to the public.)

Then it was time for several housekeeping measures after a new council is seated.
Goeglein was reappointed as mayor pro-tem
The time, place and day of council meetings was changed in that the meetings now will begin at 6:30 p.m., rather than 7:30. The meetings will continue to be at City Hall (at least when it goes back to in-person meetings; the May 5 meeting will be done remotely), and on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
Ebersole was appointed as the council’s representative to the Yuma County Economic Development Corporation. McClung was appointed as the council’s representative on the Yuma County Landfill and Water Authority boards, with Swehla remaining as the alternate.
The Paper Moon liquor license was renewed on a 6-0 vote, with owner Anna Wenger participating via Zoom. The liquor license transfer for High Plains Recreation Association (Indians Hills Golf Course) was approved, with representative Steve Coughlin participating via Zoom.
A resolution with Yuma County to have ballot boxes at City Hall was approved. It is for the June primary election. The agreement also outlines there will not be one at City Hall if there are stay-at-home orders in place.
The council unanimously approved extending the city’s credit card fee waiver for one more month, for anyone paying their city bill with a card.
The new council then got its shot at approving purchases in excess of $5,000.
First up was the suggestion of installing liner in the current sewer lines rather than excavating and replacing with new sewer lines. There are five blocks of sewer line up for replacement this year, City Manager Scott Moore explained — in the alleys on the east and west sides of S. Main in the downtown business district. He explained it is an epoxy liner put into the lines, which is then cured with ulra-violet light. He said he was told it has a 50-year life expectancy. He told the council the city of Longmont has used this method for 15 years and is a big proponent.
The quote from C & L Water Solutions was for $176,883. The city has $200,000 budgeted for sewer line replacement this year. Moore said the company would clean out all the roots and then fix with the epoxy liner, adding that it requires no excavation. A portion of each service line also will get the liner installed.

Moore explained he brought it before the council now because the company actually could start in the next two to three weeks. The project itself would take one to two weeks. The council unanimously approved the purchase.
The council also considered bids for providing materials to two blocks of water line replacement also scheduled for this year. The council approved the bid from Garver for $59,394.68. Kepner provided the other bid.
The purchase of a hydrovac for $12,000 was approved. The city has $20,000 budgeted for the purchase. The city is purchasing a used from KCI, which no longer is using it, but Moore said is in good working condition.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has updated groundwater permit to keep “Total Dissolved Solids” below 400 mg/L. The city’s wastewater treatment plant currently is slightly above that new standard, so some work needs to be done there. The city already has been working with Garver to figure out how to do it, then received quotes from Garver and Innovative Process Engineering to do the necessary work to get the city into compliance by the August deadline. Garver’s bid was for $16,500, while the other company’s quote was $9,600. The council was told the city was comfortable to continue with the company that has helped it so far, despite it costing more than the other company. The council approved going with Garver. The funds will come out of the $70,000 budgeted this year for sewer plant maintenance.

COVID-19 talk

The council got around to discussing COVID-19 at the end of the meeting.
Moore said he wanted to recognize the City Hall staff for meeting all of the challenges, along with the rest of the city crew, and the EMS staff, law enforcement, and others on the front line.
“We’re going to continue to try to protect our public and our employees,” he said.
Goeglein noted there were just a few confirmed cases in Yuma County. He said he knows it needs to be taken seriously, but didn’t know if a one-size-fits-all approach for the whole state is best for the Yuma community. Goeglein said he would like to hear from a health department representative at the next council meeting, and said he feels some businesses should be able to reopen.
McClung said he agreed businesses need to be opening up, but also everybody has to be safe. He shared that there are people at stores not wearing masks who will walk right up to other people without keeping a respectful distance
“I applaud the city for its leadership,” he said.
“Our goal is to protect the citizens,” Moore said.
The city manager also reported that all city employees have now gone back to regular 40-hour work weeks, utilizing protective equipment and best safety practices.
The council’s next meeting will be May 5 at 6:30 p.m. It will be conducted remotely again through Zoom.