The Yuma City Council is back to its full complement following last week’s regular meeting.

The council had made an appointment to fill the open seat, created by the passing of councilman Tony Harms, at the last meeting. However, that appointee was unable to serve, so it came back up again at last week’s regular meeting.

Those who previously had submitted letters of interest were still under consideration — Rick Pallesen, Luke Goeglein, Vanessa Dischner and Ryan Saffer. The candidates had addressed the council at the previous meeting, except for Saffer, who was not at that meeting, but was in attendance last week.

He gave a quick rundown of himself, telling the council he has lived in Yuma for approximately 20 years, and is married with four children. He said he wants to learn from the current council members, adding that he loves the Yuma community, wants to serve it, and is not planning on going anywhere.

A motion then was made to appoint Saffer. It was defeated on a 3-3 vote, with Bethleen McCall, Steve Hoch and Ron Swehla voting in favor, and Joe Harper, Dan Baucke and Jim Haag voting against.

Baucke then asked if everyone who had previously submitted a letter of interest were still eligible, and was told that is the case.

Goeglein was nominated by Baucke, with the motion passing on a 5-1 vote. Swehla cast the dissenting vote. Goeglein, a Yuma native that currently works at PFS Insurance, was not at the meeting as he attended his son’s junior high football game. He will be sworn in at the October 17 meeting.

Harper and Hoch both said it was great to see such interest in the opening. Harper encouraged the others to consider running for a council seat in the April 2018 election.

Preliminary budget

City Manager Scott Moore presented a preliminary budget during last week’s regular meeting. He told the council it still needs work, and proposed having a budget workshop at 5 p.m. on October 17 prior to the regular meeting. He said a second workshop could be held if the council so chooses.

Council members agreed to the October 17 workshop, and also had some questions for Moore.

Harper noted that the highest percentage change comes in public works. Moore said that is due to the purchase of a new street sweeper for the Street Department. Harper also noted the Yuma Police Department budget is increasing 25 percent. It was explained a significant portion of that is for the hiring of an eighth police officer.

Haag asked why there were so many “negatives” in the budget, to which Moore explained that means those departments currently are under budget.

McCall asked if there will be any rate calculations available in order to consider possible utility rate increases. Moore said the city had just received back that day some information regarding a possible electrical rate increase, so that will be available at the workshop. Moore said he will have numbers for the other utilities at the workshop for the council to consider.

McCall also asked about possible personnel changes in 2018. Moore said the only one being considered is possibly a full-time position for Parks and Recreation as there are some other changes taking place within the current staff.

YVFD building purchase

A proposal to purchase the old Koefed building for the Yuma Volunteer Fire Department was presented during the meeting.

Fire Chief Treat Heberlein said Dean Miller has offered to sell the building, located near the Yuma Fire Hall, to the YVFD for $42,000. Heberlein said Miller was willing to take $10,000 this year as a downpayment, coming out of the YVFD’s 2017 budget, with the balance to be paid out of the department’s 2018 budget.

Heberlein said the building, which is 1,500 square feet, plus the lot it sits on, would be used for storage, freeing up space in the fire hall. It was noted the building has electricity, but no sewer or water. It also has a new roof, and Miller is throwing in some tools that are in the building.

Moore told the council he had looked into pricing a similar-sized building, and came up with a cost of $40 to $60 per square foot for a new building. He said, as an alternative, a new building could be put up near the Yuma Ambulance Service building. That cost would be $60,000 to $90,000. Hoch noted, as a comparison, that the old Gisi building, is on the market for $60,000.

McCall asked if the purchase price could be spread out further, so the fire department could have more money in its 2018 budget for equipment purchases. It was explained the initial offer from Miller was higher, but he lowered it reportedly because he wants to the YVFD to have it. Miller is a retired member of the YVFD.

A motion to purchase the building passed on a 6-0 vote.

Rest of meeting

The renewal of Pizza Hut’s 3.2 beer license was approved unanimously.

Moore presented an expenditure of $49,368.65 to put in a non-regulation sized soccer field at City Park, east of the pavilion. The money would come out of the Conservation Trust Fund. Moore noted that plans to put in a regulation-sized soccer field at the Jeff Armstrong Ball Park complex remain in future plans. The cost is for the irrigation system and sod. McCormick Excavation & Paving is donating the dirt for the base. The funds are available in the Conservation Trust Fund. It was approved on a 6-0 vote.

A request to accept and pay for the increase in employee health insurance in 2018, which will come to roughly $38,000 based on the 5.5-percent premium increase, was presented at last week’s meeting. It was approved unanimously. Moore had informed the council of the increase at its previous meeting, at which time the council’s general consensus was to keep everything as is in regards to the health insurance.

Moore said he is continuing his struggle with getting stop lights for the Main St.-Second Ave. intersection in downtown Yuma. He said an engineer has been hired to determine of putting up arms with signal lights attached to the current poles at the intersection. He said companies will not sell the arms and lights without an engineer’s approval.

Police Chief Jon Lynch told the council his officers are designing their own badges with more of a Yuma theme to them. He said they will be personalized, and the officers will purchase their own badge.

McCall reported from attending the Colorado Municipal League district meeting. She said the funding for the Conservation Trust Fund and Great Colorado Outdoors (GOCO) is up for reauthorization, and local government boards are being asked to pass resolutions supporting the reauthorization. City staff had just received the language for the resolution, so it likely will be on the agenda for the next meeting.