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Paonia trustees tackle full agenda

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Paonia trustees had a full agenda at the regularly scheduled July 14 public meeting.

Among their many considerations:

Trustees passed a resolution to purchase 2.009 acres of land adjacent to the Mount Lamborn Water Treatment Facility from Mount Lamborn Ranches at a cost of $1,200 per acre, or $2,400. The existing facility is built out to property lines and the purchase will allow for construction of upgrades and more room to work at the site, according to public works director Travis Loberg.

The land is already under contract. An easement for improvements already underway is being drafted and will allow for construction to continue on the private land until the purchase is finalized. A boundary adjustment application will be filed with the Delta County Planning Department once the purchase is final.

The town is considering following the lead of the towns of Crawford and Hotchkiss and the city of Montrose by contracting with Delta-Montrose Electrical Association to replace existing street lights with LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs. Cost is estimated at between $20,000-$25,000, which would come either from the capital improvement fund or a loan from the state.

The town currently uses about 73 percent mercury vapor bulbs and 27 percent high-pressure sodium bulbs. DMEA estimates that LED bulbs can cut a community's street light electric costs in half, which would save an estimated $900 or more per month, with a three-year payback time, according to mayor Neal Schwieterman.

Trustees expressed concern that dense vegetation in certain areas of the town are impeding light from reaching sidewalks and causing visibility issues at certain intersections. The issue, which involves the town's enforcement of existing vegetation standards, is already scheduled for discussion at the July 28 trustee meeting.

The application by Rob Miller for the annual Pickin' in the Park's free concert series was approved. Concerts are scheduled for Thursdays throughout August, from 6-9 p.m., at Paonia Town Park.

KVNF will again operate the beer garden where consumption is limited to a roped off area. A minimum of three people will provide security for the area.

Trustees David Bradford and Suzanne Watson asked how post-concert cleanup is addressed in the application. Both expressed concern that in the past, the trash generated, including containers with alcohol, weren't cleaned up directly following the concerts, and were still there the morning after the concerts.

"It's not the most secure situation," said Watson.

Town manager Jane Berry said she will discuss the issue with the applicant.

Bradford and Watson also expressed concerns over the smoking of cannabis in the park during concerts. Berry replied that if complaints are lodged, they will be "aggressively dealt with" by the police department. People are "greatly misinformed if they think they can smoke pot on public property," said Berry.

An additional $2,750 will be spent to improve drainage on the first phase of the sidewalk replacement project, which includes construction of 300 feet of sidewalk on the south side of Fourth Street between North Fork and Poplar avenues. Concrete is being poured and the project is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

A liquor license renewal application for Linda M. Little and the 3rd Street Bistro, 212 3rd Street, was approved. Little has operated the bistro for going on 19 years and mostly opens for private parties. The establishment has had no known incidents since renewing the license a year ago.

The town was recently awarded a Great Outdoors Colorado grant of $45,000 to install an educational signage system at Paonia River Park. Signs will help visitors find their way to the hiking, swimming and fishing areas and include an environmental component.

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