The Saratoga Sun -

Good work, bad structure

Saratoga Town Council passes resolution disbanding airport board, prepares for flooding


March 27, 2019

Keith McLendon

It was a slow day at Shively Airfield on Monday, but the fate of the Saratoga airport board has been a hot topic of conversation.

The Saratoga Town Council met at 6 p.m. on March 19 at the Saratoga Town Hall without mayor John Zeiger in attendance. Council member Steve Wilcoxson was mayor pro tem in Zeiger's absence.

The approval of the agenda and council meeting minutes from March 5 were both approved quickly. Sammy Flohr, Saratoga town treasurer, went over the financials for a total of $106,239.30 that the council approved.

Will Faust from the Platte Valley Health Care Sustainability Project told the council a meeting was happening at 5:30 p.m. on March 20 (See " Survey and Slides" on page 9 of this week's Saratoga Sun) at the Platte Valley Community Center.

He said the project had recently put up a website, Embedded in the website, is health care assessment survey. Faust said the assessment is anonymous and is being done to find out the wants and needs of the community.

The third and final reading of ordinance 849 amending section 8.08.080 defining property maintenance was approved unanimously.

Next for the council to vote on was Resolution No. 2019-05 to dissolve the Saratoga airport board. It stated the governing body of the town of Saratoga determined it was in the best interests of Saratoga to restructure its authorities.

After the resolution was read, council member Jon Nelson explained why the resolution had been formulated.

"A little background on what we are doing with this resolution and the couple of ordinances," Nelson started. "The way in which the board was established and is currently structured poses a conflict between actions that can be taken by the board and the best interests of the town. As an example of this conflict, the board currently has the power to sue and be sued," Nelson pointed out. "Under the current structure, these actions could not be controlled by the town council, yet the town would be the one saddled with the legal fees a potential judgement against the town. Because the ultimate liability, both legally and financially, falls back on the town, the board should be structured to represent the town's best interest."

Nelson praised the airport board.

"The board does very important work and is a valuable asset to the town council given their members' expertise in aeronautics and the energy they all dedicate to airport business. We cannot effectively oversee the airport without the board," Nelson said. "However, to protect the town legally and to maintain control financially, I believe the way the board is structured needs to be changed."

Nelson explained his reasoning for the restructure of the airport board to an advisory board to the town.

"Based on my own research and the recommendation of our town attorney, I agree that the best way to restructure the board is to dissolve it in accordance with state statute 10-5-203, to repeal and re-write Chapter 14.08 of the town code by ordinance, and to then reestablish the airport board as an advisory board to the town council," Nelson said. "Resolution 2019-05 along with Ordinance 850 and 851 are the steps we can take to make this transition. Resolution 2019-05 will dissolve the current board. Ordinance 850 will repeal the existing town code, Chapter 14.08. Ordinance 851 will re-establish the board as an advisory board."

All council members approved Resolution 2019-5.

Ordinances 850 and 851 were approved in their first reading by the council. Ordinance 852 amending section 14.04.010 of the Saratoga municipal code pertaining to minimum airport standards for Shively Field for the town of Saratoga was approved in its first reading.

The next order of business was the approval of Resolution No. 2019-06. The resolution was made in preparation of spring 2019 flooding. Due to possible flooding in spring, no vacation requests shall be approved for the time period of May 1 to July 15.

Fire Chief Pat Vining said a fundraiser held earlier in March brought in nearly $5,000. He said there was another fundraiser on March 23 sponsored by the American Legion and he hoped all would attend. Vining said new air packs were starting to arrive.

Ken Lehr, Saratoga Police Chief said Officer Kyle Murphy is up in Douglas getting certified. The council approved Lehr to hire Alex Munson as full time dispatcher and Ronette McDowell

Abby Raymer was reappointed to the recreation board for another term. Lisa Burton, recreation director said the Utah Jazz program had 72 participants signed up. There will be six teams. The program starts April 8 and the season will go until April 30.

Nelson gave a public works report. There was a request to purchase a replacement for a dump truck radiator for $1,200. The council approved the purchase. Another purchase approved by the council was planks to fix the bridge between Veterans Island and the town hot pool for $2,436. Nelson said Western Engineering was out this week to pull the drop pipe on well number 3 to evaluate pump and drop pipe condition. Nelson gave thanks to public works for doing a great job keeping streets clear after the recent heavy snowfall.

The council approved switching chlorine vendors. The council approved Chuck McVey to serve as water operator for Old Baldy.

The airport board report was next and Nelson acknowledged the transition.

"I hope the transition goes relatively seamlessly, but I want to reiterate to the current board members that we have all are appreciated and I look forward to continuing to work with them under a different structure," Nelson said.

The council approved a grant application for the mayor to sign that will help with snow removal at the airport.

Council member Judy Welton said the Platte Valley Community Center will have the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on Aug. 29.

Nelson said there will be a workshop for the Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board for the public to see how water rates are working for individuals. It will be at 5 p.m. on April 10, an hour before the monthly meeting at 6 p.m.

Mark Pesognelli, administrator of the Saratoga Care Center said Family Nurse Practitioner Ruby Ayers was on board and continued that all bills that come from Platte Valley Medical Clinic were not from the current clinic, but from the previous operator. Pesognelli said he had contact information in case patients had been trying to reach them and said the address that he has to contact them is: Bryan Kaiser, P.O. Box 1197, Estes Park, Colo., 80517.

The council approved the business of The Flower Pot to continue their place of business on 104 South Third Street on a temporary basis until the date of April 9. The owners are currently going through the special permit process.

The council discussed filling the zoning and planning officer. While the town looks, Suzie Cox, town clerk will contact people who can help with issuing building permits as needed until the next town council meeting where the question of hiring a zoning officer can come before the mayor.

The council approved council member Bob Keel's request to advertise for filling open seats on the planning commission board.

Wilcoxson thanked Cox, Flohr and Nelson for all their work on the town's budget.

The next town council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on April 2 at the Saratoga Town Hall.


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