Mayor Karen Sheek on Tuesday signed a proclamation to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October.
Cortez City Council also approved spending $100,000 to evaluate maintenance and upgrades to the public library, the city’s water system and the Colorado Welcome Center’s heating and cooling system.
And the council topped off a busy meeting by approving a resolution supporting increased funding for public education in Colorado.
Sheek’s proclamation recognizes the nationally celebrated Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day in Cortez. It will coincide with both holidays this year on Oct. 8.
The proclamation states that the City Council “recognizes that this community was built upon the homelands of Indigenous Peoples” and encourages other businesses and organizations to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.
The proclamation also states that the council wanted to “commemorate the survival and renewal of Native cultures in the face of political and cultural repression” and lay the groundwork for the cultures of the Cortez area to work together.
The proclamation received little comment during the meeting.
Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated in about 80 localities nationwide, including cities, universities and the states of Vermont and Minnesota. In Colorado, Durango, Boulder and Denver also have celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day.
Council approves bid for water improvement auditThe council approved spending $47,857 to evaluate the city’s water system needs in order to stay in compliance with public health and environmental regulations.
Public Works Director Phil Johnson recommended contracting FEI Engineers, of Durango, for the project. Seven companies offered bids, ranging from $28,000 to $99,000. FEI’s bid was second-lowest.
Johnson noted that he typically is skeptical of the high and low ends of such a wide range.
“I consider those outliers,” he told the council, adding that Public Works has worked with FEI before and was impressed by its “dedication to completing a professional product.”
The project is scheduled to run from October to March.
Humphries Poli wins library improvement projectHumphries Poli Architects, of Denver, won a $43,125 bid to plan a redesign of the Cortez City Library beginning in 2020. The project has received $25,000 in matching funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
The Library Facilities Master Plan will receive input from Cortez residents, and library Director Eric Ikenouye said Humphries Poli, which also worked on Montezuma County Combined Courts, has a proven track record of engaging residents. The other top proposal came from CRSA Architecture, of Salt Lake City, whose bid was $2,385 higher than Humphries Poli’s.
Colorado Welcome Center faces HVAC repairsCouncil members approved $10,260 to be paid to ME&E Engineering of Durango to evaluate a project that would repair the heating and cooling system in the Colorado Welcome Center in Cortez. According to the proposal submitted by Thomas Cummins, HVAC systems are outdated and using a refrigerant that has been banned by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Cummins said the project might include replacing the outdated units and working on the Welcome Center’s roof to accommodate the heavier new equipment.
The city’s contract with ME&E is an extension to its work on HVAC systems in the Cortez Recreation Center, Service Center and Police Department buildings.
Resolution endorses Amendment 73 for education fundingCouncil members approved a resolution supporting Colorado Amendment 73 in the November election, which would increase statewide base per-pupil funding to $7,300.
The amendment would raise income taxes of Coloradans earning more than $150,000 per year and decrease property taxes imposed by school districts. The result would be a $1.6 billion increase in taxes and public education spending statewide, according to the amendment’s ballot title.
Council declines to endorse greenhouse projectThe council voted unanimously not to endorse a charitable greenhouse project organized by David Nuttle, president of Needful Provisions Inc., citing concerns about incomplete information.
Nuttle was applying for a $25,000 grant from the Laura Jane Musser Fund, a charitable fund based in Minnesota. The funding would help build a greenhouse in Cortez that would grow food for the local Good Samaritan Center’s food pantry.
During a workshop before the regular council meeting, Nuttle requested that Sheek sign a letter of support for the project, which he said would produce a crop in a facility certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Federal Drug Administration.
Council members questioned whether Nuttle’s project would contribute significantly to the city, and during deliberations in the regular meeting cited concerns about incomplete and potentially misleading information presented previously by Nuttle.