MONTE VISTA— The Monte Vista City Council met for their second meeting of the month on Thursday, July 20. Mayor Debbie Garcia opened the meeting by declaring National Health Center Week for Aug. 13-19.
Garcia’s proclamation listed the numerous benefits of local health care centers, including “Whereas for over 50 years community health centers have provided high-quality, affordable comprehensive primary and preventative health care in our nation’s underserved communities, delivering value to, and having a significant impact on America’s healthcare system…health centers now serve as the primary care home for over 25 million Americans in over 10,000 delivery sites…are locally controlled by patient-majority boards…are locally owned small businesses that serve as critical economic engines…” She also noted health centers employ “more than 190,000 people” and “…reduce the overall costs of care by managing chronic conditions and keeping patients out of costlier healthcare settings.”
The theme of this year’s National Health Center Week is Celebrating America’s Health Centers: The Key to Healthier Communities.
Senate Bill 152 presentation
Information Technology Director Jim Belknap gave a presentation to council on Senate Bill 152 (SB-152); requesting council put a referendum on this November’s ballot to opt out of its requirements. “As you can see, the issue can be quite lengthy,” Belknap joked referring to the 34 pages of information in the council packet including his summary, a Colorado Municipal League summary and list of municipalities that have opted out and the original language of the bill itself.
Belknap explained SB-152 passed the Colorado Legislature in 2005 and regulates telecommunication services in the state and establishes that city and county governments cannot operate these services, unless no other service providers are available. Belknap stated the restrictions are so specific, the city could not offer public access Wi-Fi in city hall or they would be violating these rules. Belknap is also the IT director for the City of Alamosa and explained they had problems establishing public access Wi-Fi in the library. SB-152 also prevents the city from allowing an ISP radio antenna on city property, restricting companies like the San Luis Valley Rural Electric Co-op/CIELLO from operating. The opt-out process, Belknap explained, “gives the city the right to sign agreements” with providers that give city residents more options for telecommunications services and allows for potential expansion of broadband lines, but can only be done by placing the following question on the ballot:
“Without increasing taxes unless through future voter approval, shall the City of Monte Vista have the
legal ability to provide any and all services currently restricted by Title 29, Article 27, Part 1, of the
Colorado Revised Statutes, specifically described as “advanced services” (high speed internet),
“telecommunication services,” and “cable television services,” as defined by statute (specifically including new and improved bandwidth services based on current or future technologies), including the ability to utilize existing fiber optic or other infrastructure and the ability to construct new fiber optic or other infrastructure, either directly by the City of Monte Vista alone, or indirectly through contract or partnership with other governmental, private, or corporate, including nonprofit, entities, to potential subscribers that may include telecommunications service providers and residential or commercial users within the City of Monte Vista?”
Belknap explained there is no additional cost for ballot question because the city is already having an election this November, and council unanimously approved sending the question to the voters.
City Manager Forrest Neuerburg presented a proposal for new firearms on behalf of the Monte Vista Police Department (MVPD. Neuerburg expressed some frustration in both his written request and to council that the need for new firearms did not come up before, seemingly referring to his multiple discussions on new vehicles and equipment with former Police Chief Jim Grayson, but told council replacing the firearms now is “a need, not a want.”
Neuerburg explained MVPD has received a quote from Glock that includes a buyback of most of their current firearms that reduced the cost to roughly $150 per gun, which Neuerburg stated was a great deal, praising the MVPD for their work in obtaining it. The PD will be going to 9mm weapons from 40mm but the guns will still fit with the holsters and duty belts the officers currently have. Councilor Matthew Martinez asked if the city had sought a quote from Valley Gun Service to try to keep their business local, which Neuerburg stated they had not but the city was not likely to get a deal that includes a buyback for such a reduced cost from anyone but the manufacturer, “Carlton [Thomas, owner of Valley Gun Service] would lose money” and assured council they would continue to purchase ammunition locally through Valley Gun Service. Council approved the purchase of 17 new firearms for a total of $3,538.