City Council approves bike racks to be placed around MV


Jim Clare is retiring from the SLV Landfill

MONTE VISTA — The Monte Vista City Council on Dec. 16 approved allowing sponsored artisan bicycle racks to be placed at parks and private businesses.

Ken Hamko, a member of the OptiMystics a Citizen’s Action Network, proposed the bicycle rack idea to the council during their final regular meeting of 2021.

Hamko in conjunction with Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges explained how the introduction of bike racks to the city and private business property would be beneficial to local businesses and parks in Monte Vista.

The idea behind the bike racks is that citizens can lock up their bikes while they shop or work in different areas of the city.

“Currently there are little to no bike racks anywhere in Monte Vista,” Hamko said, adding that the OptiMystics had already spoken to several local businesses including Big R and Safeway, and the businesses were in favor of the installation of the bike racks.

Hamko said the bike racks would be paid for by local sponsorships and created by local metal sculpture artist John Patterson. Patterson uses old metal farm parts to create sculptures and artwork.

Hamko said the bike racks would cost around $150 to $200 each.

“Each rack will be a little different,” Hamko said. The council recommended that the sponsoring party should decide whether the bike racks should be painted or decorated.

Mayor Pro-tem Victor Sigala asked Hamko if there was adequate space for the racks to be placed. Hamko said Public Works Director Rob Vance was working with the OptiMystics and Friends of the SLVNWR, and that Vance said there was plenty of room for the racks.

A motion was unanimously passed, 5-0, to allow the installation of the bike racks, with more of the particulars to be discussed, once all the businesses and sponsorships were decided on for placement.

At the same meeting a special presentation was made by Mick Daniel with SLV Go. Daniel said the Monte Vista Wetlands Trail was successfully completed and doing well.

Daniel, who worked on the local project, said he would like to have an official grand opening of the trail and was thinking of doing that on Jan. 21, 2022, weather permitting.

Daniel also explained that SLV Go worked on several projects across the San Luis Valley, including many after-school projects that provide education for children.

Daniel said many of the projects are possible due to grants that SLV Go has written.

“Right now, we write for about $2 million of funding a year for the San Luis Valley, and we probably get a third of that,” Daniel said. “But we work really hard getting the ask out, and we work really hard for what we do for our communities.”

Daniel said that SLV Go is currently working in most counties on different projects. He said that as of the meeting, not including what was brought in before he came in, that SLV Go has brought about $8 million into the San Luis Valley.

Public Works Director Vance also made a presentation regarding water, freezing meters, and the landfill. He said that the period that the City sets its annual sewer rates occurs between Nov. 16 and Dec. 15.

Vance said that this is a period where people are not watering outside, and only using water inside, and he also explained how sewer rates were based on individual usage.

“Those people who don’t use a lot of water, well, their bill will be technically lower, than someone who uses a ton of water,” Vance said.

 Vance also stated that Dec. 22 was the first day that residents of the city will be asked to run their water in a small stream overnight, to prevent frozen meters.

Vance said that the city allows 15,000 extra gallons of water to their base charge per month, based on the necessitation to run the extra water in each home.

“If you are prone to having freeze-ups, please run your water,” Vance said. “This is the best thing you can do to prevent frozen pipes and frozen meters.” 

Vance said that Jim Clare, who is the manager of the SLV Regional Solid Waste Authority/Landfill, was retiring and that Ron Rivale will be the new manager.

Vance thanked Clare for his hard work and dedication at the Landfill.

“Jim has been an absolute pleasure to work with,” Vance said. “I am very pleased with the amount of change that Jim has been able to implement, from where we were to where we are now. I am very pleased with the amount of success that he has had at the state level. I Just wanted to bring him up before the council just to say thank you, I appreciate everything that you have done for us.”

Vance added that cell 10 at the Landfill was finally approved. This means a new pit will be available for more solid waste. Vance said the Landfill had passed state inspection with full efficiencies and the Landfill was fully staffed.

The new Landfill manager, Rivale also spoke at the meeting and said that Jim had done an excellent job. Rivale said he was looking forward to the new job and its challenges.

Clare thanked the Landfill board members for their hard work.

“Most people don’t realize how that Landfill works,” said Clare. “We are funded by what people pay when they come to the gate, and what comes through the scale house. When this was started in the early ’90s, the County of Rio Grande and the County of Alamosa, put $250,000 up to start this project, and there were a lot of locations throughout the Valley that were looked at to find the prime location. After that, the Landfill was self-funded, with no money from any outside entities. We are looked at as one of the premiere landfills in the state, and we cover a six-county region, taking in about 200 tons of trash a day.”

Before Clare stepped down from the podium, Mayor Dale Becker asked Clare about not being able to throw asbestos out at the Landfill when demolishing a house.

Clare said that the opening of the asbestos pit would take place on Jan. 1. Clare said that the pit was in the making for about 5 or 6 years, and had been something hard to do, with so many regulations to follow.

“We came up with the opportunity to use an empty pit, during the Spring Fire,” Clare said. “We had always kept that pit empty for an emergency such as a mass animal fatality incident. When the Spring Fire occurred, every house that was burned was classified as asbestos-contaminated, they called us up wanting to know if we would take that debris from that fire and put it into our pit and cover it up, and we went ahead and agreed to do that.” 

Becker thanked Clare for all he had done out at the Landfill.

City Manager Gigi Dennis Lounsbury also requested the approval of the City Council for $107,300, for the purchase of tables and chairs for Ski Hi Park, including 500 banquet chairs, 300 folding chairs, and 215 folding tables, with an additional 45 tables. The motion was unanimously approved.

The next city council meeting will be held on Jan. 6, 2022.

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