The Yuma Planning Commission has been disbanded due to a lack of interest.

The planning commission was the first to hear land-use requests within the Yuma city limits, before sending on the Yuma City Council for final approval.

However, it has proven increasingly difficult to keep a full complement of board members. The council had voted earlier this year to reduce its size from seven to five members. Yet the city still struggled finding volunteers as there are currently three members.

Therefore, an ordinance was presented to the council during last week’s meeting. It repeals the chapter in the Yuma Municipal Code that calls for a planning commission. The ordinance also dissolves the planning commission.

Prior to the vote on first reading, Mayor Joe Harper noted that other area municipalities, such as Wray, do not have a planning commission. Duane Brown, currently on the commission, said he would be happy to continue if there was something useful to do, but acknowledged it is difficult to find willing volunteers.

The council voted 6-1 to approve the ordinance on first reading. Council member Bethleen McCall cast the dissenting vote. Voting in favor were Harper, and council members Steve Hoch, Dan Baucke, Ryan Saffer, Ron Swehla and Luke Goeglein.

Yuma Museum

The Yuma Museum was a topic of conversation during last week’s meeting.

Local citizen Maggie Metzler addressed the council about immediate needs, as well as long-term plans. She said the current museum building, located by Lake Yuma, is not the right space for a long-term investment, but it still is in need of some upgrades for the moment.

She said heating, cooling and water are the main issues. Current plans are to seal the perimeter, install plastic baseboard along the interior to keep out rodents, patch parts of the roof, and fix a leak in the restroom with a new commode.City Manager Scott Moore told the council the city already is moving forward with providing $2,000 to get the perimeter sealed, install the baseboard, and fix the water leak.

Another project for now is upgrading heating and cooling. Metzler said the idea is to incorporate two “splits,” with Quality Heating & Cooling providing an estimate of $6,700. Metzler told the council the idea is to keep the temperature in the building between 50 to 85 degrees. She said she was just letting the council know about that for now, and that the museum also is getting quotes for rubberized sealing portions of the flat roof.

Moore said the council could go over funding for those projects at its upcoming budget workshops for the 2019 budget.

Baucke said he does not want to put any more money into the museum building. He said he would rather take out everything, tear down the building and build a new one that is twice the size.

Metzler said the Museum Board is of the same mindset, but the general rule of thumb is that 6,000 square feet would be appropriate, which would be difficult to squeeze in at the current location. There also is not any parking, and a long-term plan is to partner with other entities such as schools and library when a new museum is constructed, so the current location is not ideal.

Council members mentioned locating a new museum at Old Threshers Grounds in Yuma. Other locations were mentioned as well. Metzler said the museum would love to be in a place like Old Threshers, but the construction of a new museum is probably at least two to three years out. Therefore there is to keep the current facility in good enough shape to preserve what is in there. Metzler said there is particular concern right about the condition of photos and papers in the museum. It was suggested that basement at City Hall could be used for storage if needed.

Cat Ordinance

The second reading of the cat ordinance was approved on a 5-2 vote, with Harper and Hoch voting against.

The second reading included some revisions recommended by council members prior to voting on the first reading. Sections about limiting the number of cats one can own were taken out, and changes were made in regards to cats being on other people’s property. There was no comment during the public hearing prior to the second reading.

As stated prior to the first reading, Moore said the main reason for the ordinance is it opens the door for the city to go after grants to do a trap, neuter and release program to help mitigate the feral cat population.

The full ordinance is available for viewing at City Hall. It also was printed in its entirety in the September 27 edition of the Pioneer.

More meeting

• The council voted 6-1, Saffer casting the dissenting vote, to approve a resolution stating support Let’s Go, Colorado in its efforts to get Amendment 110 passed in the upcoming election. If passed, the city of Yuma would receive an estimated $149,000 in additional funds for roads each year. Amendment 110 calls for increasing the state sales tax by 0.62 percent for 20 years, raising it from 2.9 percent to 3.52. It would raise $767 million in the first year for transportation projects, with 45 percent going to the Colorado Department of Transportation, which will issue up to $6 billion of bonds for statewide transportation projects. Municipalities and counties each would receive 20 percent of the funds each year.

• A bid of $6,925 from Journal Office Supply of Sterling for a new copier with faxing capabilities, was approved unanimously.

• A memorandum of understanding with the Yuma County Clerk and Recorder, relating to ballot boxes for the upcoming election being located at City Hall, was approved on a 7-0 vote.

• There was another resolution to approve an agreement with Victor Guerrero to conduct six-week cooking classes at the Yuma Community Center, as part of the “Cooking Matters” campaign. A $2,000 grant will pay for the classes, in which participants will learn healthy cooking and living skills. Another resolution outlining the partnership agreement with Share Our Strength for the “Cooling Matters” campaign, was approved, as a $2,550 grant will be provided to purchase the food for the classes.

• The preliminary 2019 budget was handed out to the council toward the end of the meeting. A budget workshop has been set for Thursday, October 25, at 5 p.m. so all the council members can attend.

• Police Chief Jon Lynch introduced the Yuma Police Department’s new police dog “Archie.” Look for more about this in a future edition of the Pioneer.

• An executive session was held at the end of the meeting to discuss negotiations and receive legal advice regarding the leasing of city property. The council adjourned without further action at reconvening in pubic.