Mancos Town Board hears plan to replace water tank

Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 7:28 PM
Brian Weber (in blue) from NetForce PC explains the features of the Microsoft Surface, such as the ability to take notes on PDF documents with a stylus, to members of the board in a workshop before the meeting. The board members will test out the new tablet to determine whether Microsoft Surfaces should be added to the 2019 budget to replace their current Kindle Fires.

The Mancos Town Board meeting Wednesday featured a workshop followed by discussion and action items in several different areas, including a decision to move forward with a project to replace the old water tank that services Mancos.

In 2016, a second water tank was built to help cover the town’s needs, but the old tank has been around for at least 30 years, Town Administrator Heather Alvarez said.

Replacing the old tank instead of repairing it is a small enough additional cost that the board members thought it sounded worth it.

“We would only save like $50,000 to revamp it, and we’d only get maybe 10 years out of it,” Alvarez said. “If we spend an extra $50,000 and replace it, we would get 20 to 30 years out of it.”

An engineer’s opinion of probable construction cost estimated the entire project will be $922,667 over at least two years. In addition to a new tank, the project will update the operating system, which is out of date and runs on cassette tapes, Alvarez said during the meeting.

The next steps are planning the engineering and phases, bidding out construction and applying for grants.

In an announcement to the board, Mayor Queenie Barz said members of the town board will no longer attend meetings for most local committees. Alvarez said the board members were getting “spread really thin” among all the meetings and that misperceptions about authority can lead to confusion.

At committee meetings, board members are “only there to listen,” Alvarez said, so they don’t have the authority to speak for the whole board and approve or deny anything. Any action item needs to come before the board anyway, so having a board member at committee meetings as a liaison doesn’t save time.

“If the local committees need something, they can let me know, and we can put it on the board agenda here, and they can come to a board meeting,” Alvarez said. “We absolutely want to work with everyone, but we don’t want those groups to start moving forward with projects and then have to stop them in the middle.”

Also discussed was a plan to limit street closures for Grand Avenue and Main Street to three times per year by the town. The streets are state highways owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation, and CDOT wants to keep closures to a minimum.

The three closures would be for Mancos Days, the Mancos School District Homecoming Parade and the Mancos Creative District. Any other street closure will have to be handled mostly by individuals, with specific criteria to be published on the town website should the street closure plan come into effect. The board approved the proposal, but more discussion will take place in the next 30-60 days, Alvarez said.

Additionally, David Sitton from Aspen Wall Wood spoke to the board requesting a year of tax relief – amounting to $2,400 – for the company, which he was granted along with other assistance. Aspen Wall will take over Western Excelsior Corp.’s property in the wake of an economic disaster and looks to rebuild the factory. Western Excelsior’s mill was destroyed in a fire in May 2017, and the economic impact and the loss of about 100 jobs triggered the economic disaster declaration by the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners.

“Our budget this year can support $2,400 and then some gravel. We already have gravel crushed and stored,” Alvarez said. “It’s small, but at least it’s something to help them get up and running and start employing people again. (Sitton) said they’ll start with 15 to 17 (employees) and hopefully grow from there.”

The board voiced its support for Sitton, and Alvarez signed a letter of support for Aspen Wall to send to the Montezuma County commissioners.

Before the meeting, Brian Weber from NetForce PC visited the board for a workshop to exhibit the Microsoft Surface. The board members will be testing out the tablet to determine whether new tablets should be included in the 2019 budget. The Kindle Fires the board members currently have are several years old and aren’t exactly a fan favorite.

“These things in the middle of meetings turn off on their own,” trustee Brent McWhirter said.

Other board members also mentioned having issues with their Kindles, saying they were too small and lacked note-taking features. The tablets would provide both a size increase and the ability to take notes on PDFs and other documents with a stylus. Another benefit is going paperless, so the lengthy agenda packets don’t need to be printed for meetings.

The board will enter a trial phase with one of the Microsoft Surfaces first, but the board members seemed in favor of making the change already.