MONTE VISTA — Monte Vista City Manager Gigi Dennis led an induction ceremony for Mayor Dale Becker, Mayor Pro-Tem Victor Sigala, and new Council Member Jason Lorenz, who was attending the Jan. 6 Council meeting via Zoom.
In addition to the ceremony, the meeting included special awards from Kids Connection, a report on the rental pricing of the Ski Hi event center and a fine levied against the city by the Colorado Department of Health.
City Manager Dennis reported that the Colorado Department of Health had fined the City of Monte Vista $80,000 for violations of the metal limit in the city’s water waste discharge permit. The fine had been reduced from $146,000.
Dennis explained that the permit had expired in January of 2020, and although the city was cooperative, and currently working on a wastewater plant with Public Works Director Rob Vance, the city failed to meet the parameters of the Health Department, due to the water flow levels not being met, and the lagoons not being able to treat the metals.
Dennis added that the city would have to obtain approval from the Colorado Department of Health, but if approved it would be able to invest the $80,000 back into the city in a supplemental environmental project. The project would have to meet certain criteria and fall into an approved category.
Dennis requested that the Council have a work session to discuss ideas for the project and stated that she was working closely with Public Works Director Vance on ideas and wanted to decide on a project sooner than later to give the project information to the Colorado Department of Health for preapproval.
Kids Connection honors
The Kids Connection presented special awards to some of its students. Director Anika Velasquez spoke about the Kids Connection.
“Each year during our winter break, we have an annual gingerbread building contest," Velasquez said. "Gigi approached me asking if we would like to come to a meeting and show the community what we have been doing for the kids. We are excited to hold this presentation to help show the community what we are doing and a little bit of what we have to offer to the community.”
Velasquez then presented awards to six of the students in Kids Connection. Three children were chosen for best-decorated snow cone trees, Lillian, Anaya, and Ozzy. Zane Butero was chosen for the best-decorated gingerbread house. Malachi Archuleta along with a partner that was unnamed and did not attend the presentation won an award for best design and decorated gingerbread house. All the children were each given an award, along with a water bottle filled with candy.
Velasquez then gave a special recognition award to Jim Poston, a 10-year, volunteer for Kids Connection. Velasquez said that Poston had put in over $200,000 in volunteer hours and wanted to recognize him for all that he had done for the staff and children at Kids Connection.
Poston was presented him with the recognition award along with a Leatherman Wallet inscribed with Mr. Jim, stating that anytime any of the staff needed help they always jokingly said that they all just needed a “Mr. Jim” in their pocket to help them.
Poston accepted the award with a smile and said, “This is unbelievable, thank you.”
Events Center Update
Event Center Manager Stephanie Ruybal requested that the City Council look over a packet that requested approval for the rental pricing on the Ski Hi complex.
Councilor Larry Foster asked how the pricing was delegated. Ruybal stated that in working with other staff members along with City Manager Dennis prices at other similar establishments in the state had been looked at before deciding upon the offered rental pricing in the packets.
Councilor Foster said that although the operating cost was still unknown, he wanted to know if the operating cost of the overall establishment was taken into consideration when setting the pricing.
“To a certain extent yes,” Ruybal said.
Foster asked if there were provisions for multi-day rental and pricing, as there had not been any provisions related to this listed in the packets.
Ruybal said that for the larger events, such as the Ski-Hi Stampede, and the Southern Rocky Mountain Agriculture Conference, there would be discounted pricing for a multi-day rental, however, the discounts had not been set.
Councilor Foster said he was involved with a small group that would like to rent the event center, but he felt the one-day rental rate of $1,100 was not feasible.
Mayor Pro-Tem Sigala asked about the rental of the bathrooms for $150 per day. Ruybal said, “There might be some groups who only need to rent the bathrooms at the facility for the day, therefore that is why we have this in the packet for consideration.”
City Manager Dennis explained that the cost for the facility per day was also based on utilities for the day that would need to be paid, along with staff members that would need to be onsite for the duration of the event at the facility, as well as any kitchen costs, and taking down and putting up tables, along with chairs.
Ruybal added that the event center pricing per day included the cleaning of the events center.
“Whereas before the group was responsible for the cleaning, we would now be responsible for the cleaning,” she said.
Councilor Martha Lock asked if non-profit groups would be given a discount.
"Rather than have a blanket cost for everyone, we would like to allow some flexibility for some groups, to just come in and ask before the event happens, regarding a discount,” Dennis said.
The event center rental rates were passed with 4-0. Councilor Foster did not vote citing a conflict of interest.
Dennis also announced a ribbon cutting for the Ski Hi complex was scheduled for Feb. 25. Dennis also brought up touring the airport, and how funding would be needed to take care of some maintenance at the airport.
The next City Council meeting will be held on Jan. 20.