Council hears from citizens

The Yuma City Council heard from several residents regarding two situations during its regular meeting, last week in Yuma City Hall in downtown Yuma.
Mayor Ron Swehla, Mayor Pro-tem Marc Shay, and fellow council members Tim McClung, Marylu Smith-Dischner, Dan Baucke, Terri Frame and Jerome Benish were all in attendance.

One issue had to do with situations in the Homestead Trail neighborhood north of Indian Hills Golf Course. The neighborhood includes Homestead Trail and Centennial Road.
Centennial Road has been closed off since December at the southeast edge of the housing development, due to a sewer line extension project. It was completed in early December, before the prolonged snowy and cold weather arrived.
Joe Newton addressed the council, noting the road still is closed, and submitted a letter that had been sent to the city asking for a response in writing about the situation. He said it was signed by all of the Homestead Trail residents, except for those who are not at home at this time.
Residents also addressed the lack of effective drainage in the neighborhood, which has been exacerbated by the snowy winter and subsequent melt off. Both roads are dirt roads and sections have been extremely muddy. James Matson told the council it has been difficult to access garages and parking along the sidewalk. He said some kind of drainage across Centennial Road would make a big difference. He also suggested putting up a road closed sign of Centennial at Highway 59 on the west side due to the street’s muddy condition. He thanked the city and employees for their efforts, and trusted the roads would be repaired as soon as could be.
Adam Beauprez, another Homestead Trail resident, addressed the drainage problem on the U-shaped street. He said the lowest spot is a vacant lot between 203 and 207 Homestead, suggesting creating a storm runoff pond and installing pipe to drain it from there.
City Manager Scott Moore addressed the situation later in the meeting. He said he understood the residents’ concerns, and the city was in the process of drafting a response letter. He said the contractor for the sewer line project, Concrete Specialties out of Sterling, has visited the site twice, and hoped to do the reclamation work by this week. He said Concrete Specialties also is working on ideas for improving drainage.
“We hope to address that issue also,” Moore said, noting though that the city cannot drain water into a private lot it does not own.
“I apologize it has taken so long,” he said.
A couple of residents also spoke to the council, about receiving code enforcement notices about having to move their livestock off their property located south of the Yuma County Fairgrounds, which is zoned industrial.
Josie Gordo told the council her family has been at that site for 30 years and never before had been told they cannot have livestock. She also noted there was no way the family could get rid of all the livestock in 30 days. She asked if something has changed resulting in now having to more the animals.
Manny Avaya spoke to the council on the same issue. He said he and his family have lived at that location for a few years, and was told when purchasing it he could have livestock. He said this is the first time he has been told he cannot, adding his neighbors have told him the area has been grandfathered in despite being zoned industrial.
Swehla suggested to both of them to set up meetings with Moore and Police Chief Jerry Thompson to get a full explanation of the situation. (Look for more on this in next week’s edition.)

Historic grants
The council unanimously approved the application for two historic preservation grants by the Yuma Historical Conservation Commission. One is the Hart Family Fund Grant, and the other the State Historical Fund Grant.
Chad Rayl of the Yuma Historical Conservation Commission provided some background prior to the council’s votes. He said it is required by the State Historical Society to get a survey done. He said the Yuma commission contacted 36 surveyors before finally finding one willing to do it. The initial survey will be along S. Main St. from the railroad to Fifth Ave, and two blocks in both directions of S. Main.
The grants will be used for the survey, with no matching funds required from the city. Rayl also explained the Hart Grant is for small towns, and also includes helping with functions to stimulate interest and involvement in preserving Yuma’s history for future generations.

Main Street Revitalization
The council approved two purchases for the Main St. Revitalization project.
The project is being spearheaded by the Yuma Chamber of Commerce, and funded by a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation. The city is serving as the fiscal agent for the grant.
The first purchase approved is for a sign that will be located near Highway 34. Moore told the council the total cost is $15,195.50, but all that is required now is the expenditure of $5,195. Wendy Lynch with the Chamber said the project’s overall cost will remain the same, but some costs will be shifted due to the requirement of having the sign.
The council also approved the expenditure of $11,331.84, also paid for by the CDOT grant, for planter banner arms to go on the decorative light poles on S. Main.

More meeting
• The expenditure of $6,227 for a maintenance contract for the AWOS system at Yuma Municipal Airport was approved. The Federal Aviation Administration will cover 90 percent of the expenditure. The city has had the maintenance contract in place since the AWOS was installed a few years ago, and it is a budgeted expenditure.
• The purchase of a 150-horsepower motor for the Mitchell Well came before the council. Moore said the city received two bids, with the lower one being $16,499. He said the city also could have the current motor rebuilt for $8,000 to $9,000 and could serve as a backup for the Mitchell Well and two other city wells in which it would fit. The council approved a motion to purchase the new motor not to exceed $17,000, and rebuild the current one not to exceed $9,000, including shipping. The city had budgeted $50,000 for the project. It also was noted the Mitchell Well is used the most of all city wells.
• An executive session was held at the end of last week’s meeting to discuss negotiations in regards to leased city property and effluent water sale to Yuma Ethanol. The council adjourned after returning to open meeting.