401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Water usage up despite voluntary restrictions

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The Orchard City Board of Trustees met in regular session on May 9, with all trustees present.

Newly elected to the board, trustees Doug Keller and Jan Gage asked procedural questions as the board dealt with routine matters of agenda, minutes and financials.

Gage also suggested that the Orchard City Centennial Cookbook should be advertised on the local message boards as a resource for the town.

During constituent time, Mike Vrabel with High Country Hemp, said he was looking to expand his hemp operation in the town. There is an existing location on 2100 Road, that will be ready for harvest in October. Vrabel asked about water usage and the possibility of drought conditions. High Country Hemp extracts legal medical products from the hemp, such as cannabidiol extracts, and is not involved, at this time, in processing the hemp plant for commercial use. The board will let Vrabel know if water restrictions will be put into effect.

Rusty Baldwin voiced a complaint about approaching the town about developing an RV park. He said he was shut down and told that it would not happen, that there were too many trailer parks in the town currently. He stated that the town's attitude was offensive. It was suggested that Baldwin present a proposal to the town planning commission.

Tom Huerkamp stated that he doesn't envy the board and the upcoming water issues for the town, water rights and determining priorities. Huerkamp specifically mentioned a property on Ivanhoe and 2100 Road that has had numerous owners and renters that has not been properly taken

care of. He also mentioned that the board has an obligation to enforce right of ways throughout the town, and added that the pothole on 2100 Road will soon become a major issue.

Under new business, trustee Craig Fuller was elected by the board to serve as mayor pro-tem. Mayor Ken Volgamore appointed trustees Dick Kirkpatrick and Gynee Thomassen to the finance committee; Kirkpatrick and Doug Keller to the water committee; Mel Cook and Craig Fuller to the roads committee; Jan Gage and Fuller were appointed to the parks committee; Gage was appointed to the housing committee. Trustee Cook was appointed to Delta County Economic Development. Thomassen and Kirkpatrick were appointed to the personnel committee, and Thomassen and Fuller were appointed to the planning committee.

Trustee Doug Keller objected to some of the appointments, stating that trustee Gage, with her experience, should be appointed to the personnel and water committees. He attempted to make a motion to amend, but was told that committee appointments were at the discretion of the mayor. Town administrator Melissa Oelke said the mayoral appointments were governed by the Municipal Code.

The Eckert Food Store liquor license renewal was approved by the board after review of compliance. There were no complaints filed on compliance.

In the water report, the monthly review was positive. The water operator for the town has turned his notice of 120 days, due to the fact that he is unable to comply with the requirements. The board will confer with the water commissioner regarding legal questions on requirements. It was stated that municipal requirements such as drinking water and personal hygiene would trump irrigation uses within the town.

In unfinished business, water usage in the town has increased, despite the town's warnings. Currently the town has instituted voluntary, not mandatory, restrictions. If restrictions become mandatory it is possible that violations could result in water being shut off. Trustee Keller stated that he believed enforcement should begin as soon as possible. Others felt that tracking water usage would be needed before a special meeting would be needed to pub mandatory restrictions in place.

Under trustee comments, Doug Keller said he looked forward to working with the new board. He mentioned that there would be disagreements, but that, as a team, the board should be able to work together to resolve issues. He also noted that he was honored to have been elected and said to the constituents that their voices would be heard and acted upon.

Jan Gage read from a book on trusteeship, mentioning the seven deadly sins that a trustee could commit.

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