Two new faces and two familiar faces were welcomed to the Crawford Town Council during its regular meeting on Wednesday, April 11. Incumbents Mike Tiedeman and Chris Johnson were the top vote getters in the April 3 municipal election. Joining them on the board are Ralph Clark and Jessica Hart.
Outgoing board members Chriss Watters and Jeff Peed were presented certificates of appreciation for their service on the board.
The board usually meets the first Wednesday of each month, but delayed its meeting a week to allow the election results to be certified.
The first item the new board addressed was a non-agenda item presented by Gil Saunders. He asked the town to consider a variance to allow the transfer of a water and sewer tap from one location to another. The water and sewer are currently attached to a shop on his property, and he would like to move service to a lot east of their home. This would allow a family member to develop the lot as their residence by placing a trailer on the lot. There were several items which needed clarification, and the matter was tabled to the May 2 meeting.
The board was also introduced to the town's new attorney. David Reed and his associate Sarah Abbott were on hand to meet the board and to answer any questions. Reed's firm, J. David Reed, was selected last month to replace Jim Brown, who retired after 40 years as Crawford's town attorney. Mayor Wanda Gofforth thanked Brown for his years of dedicated service to the town.
In other business, Mayor Gofforth presented a revised contract between the town and the Crawford Cemetery District, regarding the use of the town's shares of water from the Clipper Ditch. Gofforth and Mike Tiedemann had attended a meeting with the cemetery board, and were asked to alter the contract to provide the cemetery district the first right to purchase the water shares if the town ever decides to sell them, and to remove the 10-year term.
The town has owned the water for decades, and has allowed the cemetery district to use it.
Ralph Clark objected to not having a time limit on the contract, to allow the town to periodically review the agreement. He pointed out that water might be needed in the future for mitigation as Crawford works on its drainage problem.
Chris Johnson added that the town board had just voted to establish the 10-year term at a meeting two months ago. "The council voted on it," said Johnson, "and then you [Mayor Gofforth] agree to something else at another meeting."
Gofforth responded, "I brought this back to council to consider."
When town staff pointed out the cemetery district has a concern about if the town ever decides to sell the water, Clark responded, "I'm not against the cemetery district, but we are here to protect the town's interests."
The discussion ranged back and forth for some time without resolution, so the mayor tabled the matter to the May 2 meeting.
The council also held an executive session to discuss a personnel matter. When they reconvened the meeting, the council voted to advertise for applications for a part-time public works position. The intent is to hire one to two part-time employees to replace Al Boyd, who is leaving because of health reasons. Boyd was in the position for four years.
Later in the meeting public works director Bruce Bair said, "I want to express a big thank you to Al Boyd . . . He is a great person to work with and I will miss him."