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MEEKER | Trash was the hot topic at the Meeker town board meeting Tuesday, Nov. 21. First, Fain Richardson, manager of Eagle River Waste Services, spoke to the board. Eagle River has purchased the trash service portion of REDI Services, LTD., business in Meeker. REDI will continue to operate the septic and Porta-john portions of the business.
“I think Tom Miller, who’s the owner of the company, has a lot of good things to bring to the area,” Richardson said.
Eagle River will continue the transfer station operations at the County Road 15 site, and will be starting a drop-off recycling program this week.
“We’re not going to do curbside pick-up at this point. We have to pay where we take it to, pay the trucking and the driver,” Richardson said, adding that Miller believes providing recycling options is “just the right thing to do.”
Eagle River will offer recycling for cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum, glass and e-waste. Recycling charges are $4 a yard. E-waste is charged at $0.75 per pound.
“A trash cart is considered half a yard,” Richardson said.
The board, minus Mayor Regas Halandras and with trustee Danny Conrado attending via conference call, also heard from Lee Overton, owner and operator of Overton Recycling, who has a contract with the town to take care of the local free recycling center on Third Street. Trustees have expressed concerns that the town originally planned to “ratchet down” the funding for the recycling program, and asked Overton to return to them at the Nov. 21 meeting with a proposal for reducing the funding he receives from the town.
“After talking to people from the community and trying to get some direction, what I’m proposing is in 2018 we step it down to $35,000. In 2019 we step it down to $30,000. That gives us a plan to see where we’re going.”
Trustee Travis Day said he called the City of Craig to ask about their recycling budget, which is set at $9,000.
“It breaks down to $7 per person,” Day said. The Craig budget includes a community cleanup day, $200 a month for recycling used oil, and cleanup after special events. “We’re doing recycling only, and it figures out to about $20 per person.”
“I think the numbers from Craig are a little skewed,” Overton said, because they use town staff and equipment for pick-up and trucking costs.
“I would rather see us continue this in 2019 on the path we’ve been on, and then either split it between the two entities or cut it back and have a clean-up day in 2019,” said trustee Wendy Gutierrez.
Asked about finding a new location for the recycle center (currently at the bottom of Third Street), Overton said he “got a lot of negative feedback” about moving the center to his property at the west end of town where the tire recycling is occurring. “People want it in town,” he said.
Meeker Chief of Police Phil Stubblefield said, “As an observation, in our patrols around town since Lee has been doing the recycling, we’re not seeing the refrigerators and washers and things left around town or dumped that we used to see.”
“The citizens that I represent, they don’t want to see it go away,” Day said. “But they don’t want to be in competition with private business.”
“It could get very expensive for the businesses that recycle,” if the free recycling center was discontinued, Gutierrez said.
“We’re also subsidizing business interests out of the county as well,” trustee Conrado said. “Is that in the best interest of the town? If we could provide clean-up days and recycling for $40,000, that would be a benefit.”
According to Meszaros, the last town clean-up day required 71 trips to the dump made by staff in town vehicles.
“If we’ve seen a reduction in appliances left around town, that’s essentially what we’ve done,” Overton said.
The trustees agreed, with two opposed, to accept Overton’s proposal for 2018.
The board also heard from Meeker Chamber of Commerce Director Stephanie Kobald about the wayfinding signage project, which has six signs planned for Market Street and nine signs throughout town to direct traffic to places like the downtown district, the library, the fairgrounds, and Town Park.
“It’s our first, biggest project,” Kobald said of the project, which is part of the Main Street program. “Wayfinding signage has been talked about for a long time. Working with CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) has always been the hurdle. Rangely just went through a signage project so we looked at what they did and followed that.”
Town of Rangely Planner Jocelyn Mullen prepared a required traffic plan for Meeker, and CDOT approved the signage. The next steps are approval of the sign locations and funding. The project has $12,350 funded from a DOLA grant for the Main Street program, an AGNC town grant and a Colorado State Workshop reimbursement.
The project cost is estimated for the Market Street signs at $21,000 for design and installation, to be performed by Identity Graphics. The in-town signs are estimated at $18,000, not including installation, which will be done by town employees.
Mayor Pro Temp Rod Gerloff asked if the town could provide the “make-up” part of the funding after the other entities that will have signage direction are approached for support.
In order to get the AGNC (Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado) grant monies, the town has to pay something by the end of the year.
“We only have one more 2017 meeting to spend the 2017 money,” Meszaros said.
The board approved directing up to $9,500 that was not expended on business grants to the signage project this year, to be applied toward the Market Street signs first.
The 2018 budget will be finalized in December. According to Town Clerk Lisa Cook the $5,465,172 general fund budget will require the town to dip into reserves to the tune of $3,328,959. The water fund budget is proposed at $2,332,080 requiring $861,460 of reserves to balance the budget. Capital projects include $1 million for possible relocation of town facilities on Third Street, street projects totaling $925,000 including engineering for street improvements in the northwest corner of town, and a $575,000 transfer from the general fund to the water fund to help offset the cost of wellfield improvements.
In other business, the board approved:
– A special event liquor license for the Lions Club for the hospital Christmas party
– A tavern liquor license renewal for Chippers Downtown. There were three alcohol-related calls in the last year.
– The board also approved the Town of Meeker holiday schedule for 2018.
– The town election will be held April 3. Petitions for the open board positions will be available in January.