MONTE VISTA - The City of Monte Vista’s Citizen Academy had their first official meeting Thursday, June 11. The Academy was put together as an introduction for the One Cent Oversight Committee so that they can learn more about the departments and how the city of Monte Vista operates. “This is the first year that we have the one cent sales (tax) oversight committee which goes along with the sales tax that was passed by the November 2019 vote. When we came up with this idea we wanted to do something that would kind of give you guys an inside look at how the city runs,” said City Finance Director Jennifer Signs.
Signs went on to explain the goals behind the citizen academy which has three parts: knowledge, involvement and public relations. “The other part of this is you guys are the citizens, you’re the ones that are out there amongst everybody else working. You hear the ideas, and so when we’re spread like we’re spread in the City, we don’t always get to take that time to be out there and visit with everybody like we want. So you’re kind of a liaison for us as well to be the voice of everybody within the city of Monte Vista. The second part is involvement that kind of goes along with knowledge. We want to increase the citizen’s involvement, we want to be transparent, we want to hear what everybody wants,” Signs said, sharing that when they were trying to get the sales tax passed they had a motto of “Your city, your voice, your ideas.” They hope it will help with the third part, public relations, by improving the lines of communication and relationship between citizens and their local government.
The funds created by the one cent sales tax are to be used to help fund three specific departments: Ski-Hi, public works and the police department. Forty percent of the revenue created by the tax increase will go to maintaining the Ski-Hi facilities. Thirty-five percent of the tax dollars will go to the public works department so that they can pave some of the city’s unpaved streets, increase their ability to pour more sidewalks, and improve the cities drainage system. Twenty-five percent of the sales tax revenue will go to helping the police department. With the funds they hope they will be able to hire one more full-time officer, upgrade equipment, and replace vehicles. The One Cent Oversight Committee is made up of citizen volunteers who were selected to insure transparency, and community involvement in how these funds are used.
At this first meeting of the Academy, City Clerk Unita Vance was able to share with them about what she does and information about her department. The Citizen’s Academy will run over the course of 6 nights with lots of presentations, tours, and more so that they can learn about each department within the city. On the last night of the academy those who participated will be awarded with a certificate. With this being their first Citizen’s Academy meeting they are hopeful that others in the community will be interested in joining them in the future. If the interest is great enough, they hope they can hold the Academy 2 or 3 times a year and open it to other citizens in the community not just the Oversight Committee. The future Academies will consist of 10-15 people and interested participants would need to send an application or statement of interest to join. If you are interested in joining the Academy you are asked to contact Jennifer Signs by phone: (719) 852-8285 or by email at: [email protected]