Town debates code enforcement

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MEEKER | There was plenty of discussion but few conclusions drawn at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting.
The board heard a presentation from Mark Wertheimer, associate director of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. The organization’s mission is to engage young people in meaningful outdoor projects that develop work ethic, life skills and job skills. This past summer 15 Meeker youth participated in the program.
County emergency manager Ty Gates presented a request for support for a multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan.
“The plan would address natural hazards throughout the county and/or towns, if the towns decided to participate,” Gates said. “Ideally FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) would like to see it as a multi-jurisdictional plan.”
The plan would address potential catastrophic natural disasters such as flooding, wildland fires, drought, earthquakes and severe winter storms. FEMA provides grant funding to hire a contractor to write the plan, which takes 24 months to complete. The town would need to provide approximately $7,000, most of that as in-kind services.
“It’s a good deal considering if we did have a natural disaster it would be easier to get FEMA to come in,” said Meeker Chief of Police Phil Stubblefield.
The board also heard from Town of Rangely engineer Jocelyn Mullen, who has prepared a preliminary plan to form a public asbestos abatement team.
The initial expenditures for training, certification and insurance are high, but having a local team in place would eventually save the towns and county money.
A discussion about code enforcement software segued into a discussion about code enforcement in general.
“I don’t care about the software,” said trustee Scott Creecy. “I care about the code enforcement.”
Town administrator Scott Meszaros said he hasn’t been given clear direction from the board to enforce all the codes, only some, including animals, weeds, junk and citizen complaints. There are many other codes on the books the town has yet to address.
Other communities have full-time code enforcement officers to deal with problem, Meszaros said. Currently, the town’s building inspector works part-time on code enforcement.
“No matter what town it is, code enforcement is the toughest thing to do,” Stubblefield said.
The board also had a brief discussion about the 2018 budget, directing staff to forego the mill levy reduction that has been in place for the last seven years, which will add $21,088 to the budget. The town’s assessed valuation is down by just more than $1 million. Due to time constraints, the board agreed to hold a budget workshop Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. to answer trustees’ questions and discuss options.