Meeker budget will include assessment costs

MEEKER I Between now and Dec. 8, any interested elector in Meeker may inspect the 2010 budget and file comments or objections. The budget will be presented for final adoption at the Dec. 8 town board of trustees meeting.
“Our budget is very flat this year. There will be no raises. Because of that we want to keep our expenses and operating costs as reasonable as possible,” Town Administrator Sharon Day told the board of trustees.
The town’s operation and maintenance costs are approximately $1.7 million a year. The remainder of the budget is marked for capital projects.
With assessed values at an all-time high in the county, the town could collect a $66,000 increase in property taxes without changing the current mill levy.
“Our businesses are going to see a very large increase because of the huge increase in valuation last year,” Day said. But in discussion, the board opted to prepare a temporary mill levy drop for one year that brings the amount the town will collect to the same amount as last year. To cover the difference, the town will dip into the reserve funds.
“I think with these trying times, we need to give the businesses as much of a break as we can,” said Trustee Chuck Mills.
During a telephone conference with Pattillo Associates, an engineering firm that presented the town with a proposal for an analysis of the Meeker Elementary School, the engineer who did a “walk-through” of the building last month said the $12,000-$18,000 estimate would provide the town with some factual information about the structural condition of the 70-year old building.
“Usually these are non-intrusive kind of inspections. In some ways, it isn’t going to answer every question, but it will be a big piece of the puzzle as you gather other assessments,” he said, adding, “I didn’t see any outstanding issues with the building. From our perusal, the building appears to be in pretty darn good shape. There likely will be deficiencies discovered during an investigation, but hopefully they can be corrected at a reasonable cost.”
The elementary school was built in 1938-39 as part of a government WPA project. The courthouse, by way of comparison, was built in 1935.
Trustee Mills asked the engineer, “Nothing (structural problems) jumped right out at you during your walk-through in September in the basement? There doesn’t seem to be any gross problems at this time?”
“That’s right,” the engineer responded, explaining it would be his firm’s job to “get into every little nook and cranny that we can and check out all the structural conditions, and then we run an evaluation of the whole building, and then we can determine if there are any deficiencies.”
In other town business, town attorney Gerard Viscardi told the board he suggests establishing a year’s moratorium on processing any applications for medical marijuana dispensaries.
“We haven’t been presented with an application yet, but amongst staff we’ve been trying to come up with a game plan,” Viscardi said. “The confusion that exists on this issue with the state … in every municipality there’s at least four or five different ways to address it.”
More than 100 dispensaries have opened across the state, with applications pouring in after the federal government stated they would not “go after” these dispensaries.
Moffat County, Steamboat and Craig have all passed moratoriums.