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Carbondale Report: Trustees contend with inflation

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All trustees were in attendance at the regular meeting on Feb. 28, 2022. After unanimously approving the consent agenda (a grant application to the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District for Chacos Park planning, accounts payable, minutes, a liquor license renewal and street dining approval for the Pour House), Jessica Markham was sworn in as the town clerk.

But first, outgoing clerk Cathy Derby was honored for her 18 years with the Town. “I’m truly honored to have been able to work with you, if only for a short time,” said Town Manager Lauren Gister, who also read messages from former town manager Jay Harrington and former mayor Stacey Bernot.

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“See you around the campfire,” responded Derby as she departed the room with a bouquet of flowers and many gifts.

During the public comment period, Lynn Kirchner pointed out the “declining appearance” of the post office, with a broken window, unkempt plants and lack of snow shoveling. “It’s an important building in our community,” she stressed, “and it’s the most dilapidated building on Main Street.”

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Trustee Marty Silverstein, a former postal service employee, offered to meet with Kirchner “offline” to discuss the matter.

During general comments by trustees, Erica Sparhawk mentioned that Colorado Communities for Climate Action has grown to 42 member organizations (consisting of counties and municipalities) and is updating its policy statement.

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Trustee Lani Kitching announced that Mind Springs Health will help close the funding gap for Garfield County’s withdrawal management (detox) facility. She also mentioned the public opportunity to weigh in on the Sweetwater Lake plan at a virtual meeting on March 6 at 6pm ( Next, she updated the Town that its trustee liaison role on the board of Coventure has drawn to a close, however she will remain serving as vice chair of that board as a citizen with institutional knowledge and personal interest.

Trustee Colin Laird announced that the regional housing coalition has been encouraged by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to apply for a $3 million dollar grant which may require some matching funds from the Town to potentially be discussed at a meeting in March.

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Trustee Chris Hassig suggested that the board consider writing a letter of support for protests to the Uinta Railway Basin carrying waxy crude oil on trains through Glenwood Canyon. Hassig also volunteered to represent Carbondale on the Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority board.

A liquor license was granted to La Raza, aiming to open in the former Mi Casita space (580 West Main Street) sometime in April. This was followed by four special event liquor licenses for: Blue Lake Preschool’s annual fundraiser at The Orchard on April 21; a Ducks Unlimited fundraiser at The Orchard on April 15; a Crystal River Ballet School fundraiser at the RVR Barn on March 18; and KDNK’s 40th Birthday Bash on April 15 at the Third Street Center.

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Mountain Waste and Recycling, represented by Doug Goldsmith, came before the trustees for its annual update as per the contract signed in 2019. Goldsmith praised Carbondale for its 30.72% landfill diversion rate in 2022. For the first time since before COVID, a “trash audit” was conducted, sorting through 32 samples from trucks carrying Carbondale trash at the Pitkin County Landfill in September 2022.

Goldsmith spoke about the company’s app which can send text reminders for service days and has a “waste wizard” feature to help customers determine what is compostable and recyclable. “How much is aspirational recycling?” asked Mayor Ben Bohmfalk. Goldsmith explained that plastics numbered one and two, which hold liquid, are recycled, while three through seven, though theoretically recyclable, have no market and are generally “burned as waste energy.”

Public Works Director Kevin Schorzman joined the trustees for the remainder of the agenda. The first item involved a “dry-up” covenant related to water rights associated with the original annexation and development of River Valley Ranch (RVR). The Lowline Ditch rights consisted of approximately 84.3 irrigated acres, 51 of which were conveyed to the Town. The remaining 33.3 are now owned by Iron Rose Ranch, belonging to billionaire Tom Bailey, who filed a water court application to change their legal place of use to a location on his property above the Lowline Ditch alignment. Dry-up areas within River Valley Ranch, no longer irrigated, include house pads and driveways, roads, trails and cart paths and 2.3 acres of “rough” on the golf course. Trustees unanimously approved the agreement.

Next, Schorzman presented on the bid to complete the second half of the Eighth Street project. For phase two, $550,00 was budgeted. The only bid that came back was for $710,000, which prompted the board to consider other options. Schorzman suggested waiting a year and putting the project out to bid again, but also offered that the Town itself could begin work on the project in smaller phases over the course of three to four years. Silverstein asked about the impact to residents and commuters, to which Schorzman responded it could be less with the project parsed out, instead of all at once. After some discussion, trustees agreed unanimously that the Town’s public works department should do a strategic part of the project and to put the remainder out to bid next year and reassess.

“I will commit to you, this is going to be a trial,” said Schorzman. “If it’s just messing everything up, I will tell you that.”

Schorzman went on to report back on two more contracts that went out to bid, one for chip sealing and the other for crack sealing. The chip sealing prices are up 45% over last year which will result in three fewer roads to be treated (Barber Drive, Clearwater Road and Greystone Drive) for an approved cost of $210,038. Crack sealing was up 35% compared to last year and was approved at $21,000.

The final item on the agenda was approval of a request for proposals for a Multi-Modal Mobility and Access Plan as prescribed by the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan update.

“We’re putting out a big net,” said Matt Gworek, chair of the Bicycle Pedestrian and Trails Commission. “We’re going to get back components and get to decide what makes sense to do, what is cost effective to do.”

Tags: #Board of Town Trustees #Carbondale #Carbondale Report #Cathy Derby #Doug Goldsmith #Eighth Street #Jessica Markham #Kevin Schorzman #La Raza #Mountain Waste and Recycling #recycling #RVR
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