For the second time, Russ Chapman who is a Paonia resident and musician, has spoken during the visitor time at a council meeting.
After his first visit to the council, he thought, "Am I catching them on a bad day or is this the way it is run?"
So he returned on Dec. 10 to have a heart-to-heart and frank discussion with the mayor, council and staff about how they are handling issues, complaints and problems when they deal with the public.
"We're all friends here. I don't want any awkwardness," Chapman said.
Chapman pointed out that people attend council meetings because they want their concerns and questions addressed and answered. "They want someone to speak up and say, 'Okay this is the deal.'"
At the previous council meeting a resident, Pete Hylton, had asked the council about a fence and asked the council to help enforce a homeowner association's covenants. Chapman found that the council said nothing in response. It would have been better, he suggested, if someone on the council would have said, "We can enforce town code, but not your association's covenants." It might not be the answer the person wanted to hear, but his issue would have been addressed.
Instead, Chapman stated, the council said nothing. People want their questions answered.
Mayor Neal Schwieterman replied, "The town cannot enforce their covenants and that has been conveyed to their board and their president and the board of directors of their homeowner association in written form to answer that question for them."
Chapman responded that the mayor should have said that at the last meeting so the issue would have been publicly addressed. "We don't know all the behind-the-scenes things. Maybe that's our problem," Chapman said.
He continued about another man at the previous meeting who expressed concerns about a contractor at Apple Valley. Chapman said no one on the council told the man the person is not a hired contractor but that the town is doing the work. "To let him sit there completely misinformed ... " Chapman said. No one from the council nor Travis Loberg, public works director, spoke up to give an explanation. "I spoke with the man afterward. He was confused and frustrated. If he would have been given a simple answer — done."
Chapman asked for council members to empower the citizenry when they are too busy to take on another issue. This he suggested about Arbor Day concerns that a party had presented.
Chapman said the new road on Third by the bridge and the library needs to have lines painted on it. He also said the ride over the road is bumpy.
Mayor Schwieterman said that Loberg had researched the issue of putting lines on the new road and in fact it does need them. "But it's too late to do them now." It will be done next year.
When Chapman had brought up the issue at the previous meeting, he was met with silence. "I don't know if there is a protocol I'm missing here, but it seems to me if someone says, 'Hey. There's no lines on the street.' Someone else could say, 'Hey. You're probably right ... Hey Travis, how about lines on that part of the street? You should probably do that.'" But no one suggested a course of action on the matter. Chapman said people want to know that the council or the staff will look into the problem or suggestion brought forth by the citizens, instead of saying nothing and just moving on to the next person who has a comment.
"I hate this wall that should not be here. It's too small of a town [for this to be happening]," Chapman said.
Mayor Schwieterman said he doesn't always know the answer. He said town hall has a form citizens can fill out and they will try to be researched before the next council meeting.
Another man spoke up and said he thought the town council was doing a great job.blog comments powered by Disqus