Yuma Ambulance being moved to General Fund

Utility bills will be a topic of discussion at the Yuma City Council meeting, November 17.

Mayor Ron Swehla made the announcement during last week’s regular virtual meeting, saying the council, city staff and city attorney will have the discussion.
There has been questions about shutting off utilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in relation to a governor’s executive order concerning such action.
All seven council members participated in last week’s meeting on Zoom — Swehla, Dan Baucke, Marylu Smith-Dischner, Steve Hoch, Tim McClung, Marc Shay, and Daniel Ebersole.
They unanimously passed the liquor license renewal for Log Cabin Liquor, and then addressed the first reading of three ordinances.
One had to do with removing the Yuma Ambulance Service as an Enterprise Fund.
City Manager Scott Moore explained that there was a time when the Ambulance Service could support itself and even make a little money on revenue collected. However, he said various factors, including a decrease in what it can collect from Medicare and Medicaid, has led to it not being able to support itself anymore.
Enterprise funds have to support themselves, and can only increase revenues by raising fees. However, that is not an option for the Ambulance Service.
Therefore, Moore proposed moving the Yuma Ambulance Service into the General Fund and help support it with sales tax revenue.
Baucke suggested forming a special district, explaining it has worked very well for the Yuma Cemetery.
Moore said that has been discussed and definitely a possibility as a long-term solution. Ebersole agreed it was a possibility, but pointed out it could not be done in time for 2021.
The ordinance was unanimously approve on first reading.
Another first had to do with amending the municipal code concerning curfews for commercial solicitation. City Attorney Kathryn Sellars explained that a recent case concerning Castle Rock’s 7 p.m. curfew for commercial solicitation determined it was unconstitutional as it goes against the First Amendment. Yuma also has a 7 p.m. curfew, so the new ordinance is removing that curfew, meaning people will be able to go door to door at any hour of the day. It was noted there have not been any complaints in Yuma, at least recently, of solicitations later in the day.
A third ordinance had to do with amending the municipal code in regard to obtaining, using, possession or purchasing tobacco products. The Colorado General Assembly passed legislation this year raising the age from 18 to 21 years. Sellars said even home rule cities such as Yuma have to comply with the new age limit. The ordinance passed unanimously on first reading.
Moore reported to the council that he was informed by the Yuma Museum that its grant application was not approved, so it will return the city’s donation. He said museum leaders want to visit with the council at its next meeting.
He reported there is limited staff in City Hall, but the staff members should start returning to work the middle of this week if all goes well. Moore has been covering City Hall much of the time on his own recently.
Police Chief Jerry Thompson told the council that the patrol vehicles are equipped with new cameras, and they are working well.
Council members provided reports from the various committees and boards on which they serve.
An executive session was held at the end of the meeting in order to do evaluations of the city manager, city clerk/treasurer and chief of police.
No action was taken after the meeting reconvened in public, except for adjournment.