The Yuma City Council heard about economic development and protecting water sources during its regular meeting, last week.

Maggie Metzler, director of the Yuma County Economic Development Corporation, was the first to address the council, as it was time for the annual update and discuss 2019 funding for the YCEDC.

She reviewed focus areas that she presented to the council last year.

The first was housing. She said the push forward continues, but market is tough at the moment, so the YCEDC is looking at creative options. Metzler said a housing assessment is in the works. She noted one had been done a few years ago, but this one will focus just on Yuma County.

She reported, in regards to diversifying the economy, that the anaerobic digester project is moving forward again, as the developers have found a new site further south where there are no residences within one mile. She said it will add 20 to 25 jobs and also be a boost to the tax base.

As for workforce development, Metzler said she is on a high school business steering committee, and noted that Northeastern Junior College might open a satellite office in Yuma. “I think we have a real chance,” she said.

As for funding, the City of Yuma increased its donation to the YCEDC from $7,500 to $10,000 for 2018. Metzler said the YCEDC is working toward an equitable funding structure, with Yuma County paying a certain amount per person, and the municipalities paying $4 per person. That would raise Yuma’s commitment in 2019 to $14,000. She noted that is another big jump, so she knew the city might want to do it in steps.

Metzler said the hope is to hold it at that level for years to come, as overall funding of approximately $70,000 should be sustainable. The funds go toward operational costs and studies.

Next up was Kimberly Mihelich with Colorado Rural Water Association. She explained to the council that the CRWA is a non-profit formed in the 1980s to provide technical assistance to local governments on water and wastewater systems. Her job is to help create source water protection plans — keeping a community’s water supply safe from contamination through a proactive approach.

Mihelich has been working with City Manager Scott Moore and Utility Services Manager Claude Strait in developing a plan. The city has seven wells, and the plan will assess potential sources of contamination.

Funding comes from the U.S.D.A. and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Enviroment. The City of Yuma has been approved for a grant, and has two years to develop a plan. Stakeholders have been identified, such as businesses and individuals who are close to the city wells, and there will be a series of meetings to develop the plan.

It is expected to be done by March 2019.

When council members asked what potential risks to Yuma’s water supply could be, it was mentioned fertilizer, a spill from the railroad, a chemical spill along the highways running through town. Strait said the idea is to make the public aware of possible risks, and come up with ways to mitigate those.

Ordinances

Several ordinances came before the council during last week’s meeting.

Two were on their first reading. One had to do with a request from the Baucke family to amend the City of Yuma Zoning Map, and rezone property from Residential-1 to Commercial-2. (Councilman Dan Baucke was excused from this portion of the meeting.)

Moore explained that the property in question is where Baukce Mortuary and Monuments now sits (corner of W. Second Ave. and S. Ash St., and lots directly west of the mortuary where a home was recently removed. He said the Yuma Planning Commission went over the plans at its last meeting, and approved the request moving forward to the council.

There were no questions from council members, and the ordinance passed on first reading. There will be a public hearing prior to the second reading at the next council meeting.

The other ordinance heard on first reading had to do with repealing sections of the municipal code having to do with loitering. A recent court decision has led to the determination the city’s anti-loitering laws pose constitutional concern, particularly with “respect to loitering for the purpose of begging.”

The ordinance states that the city already has other more reality enforceable laws to protect against possibly criminal behavior, and that the city also has minimal issues with troublesome loitering, so there is no need for the anti-loitering ordinance.

It passed on a 7-0 vote on first reading. There will be a public hearing prior to second reading at the next council meeting.

Four other ordinances came up for second reading, and all passed unanimously.

One amends the municipal code relating to alcohol and medical marijuana to bring it up do date with changes in state law. Another repeals a chapter in the code concerning historic preservation because the city adopted new regulations earlier this year.

The council adopted a new fee schedule earlier this summer, so an ordinance amending the code to reflect those changes, as well as delete references to the Public Works Department and Public Works Director, was approved on second reading.

Finally, the second reading of the ordinance rescinding a cable television franchise with BCI James Cable, LLC, was passed.

More meeting

• Magarita lovers rejoice! The liquor license renewal for LaCabaña was approved on a 7-0 vote.

• Shopko’s 3.2 beer license renewal was approved.

• Moore informed the council that the city’s fall clean-up will be September 24-28. He also told the council the Main St. remediation work was wrapping up, and the city was very happy with the work done by TML Constructors.

• Police Chief Jon Lynch said the K9 unit will arrive in Colorado on September 13, and officer Jerry Thompson will be in Wellington, beginning next week, for several weeks of training with the police dog. He also reported the YPD will be done in the fingerprint business soon as everything is going digital, and it would require a $25,000 machine to keep doing fingerprints.

• Council member Bethleen McCall expressed concerns with some areas of the budget. Moore said he could have percentages at the next meeting.

• An executive session was held at the end of the meeting for negotiations related to the purchase and sale of property. No action was taken after the meeting was reopened to the public.

• All council members were in attendance — Mayor Joe Harper, and McCall, Baucke, Steve Hoch, Ron Swehla, Ryan Saffer, and Luke Goeglein.