MV City Council hears reports on SRM Ag Conference

MONTE VISTA — The City Council heard positive reports on the Southern Rocky Mountain Agriculture Conference and approved its agreement with the Monte Vista Crane Festival during their meeting on Feb. 17.

Mayor Dale Becker and Councilmember Jason Lorenz did not attend the meeting.

Linda Burnett, Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce Board president, said the ag conference at the new Outcalt Event and Conference Center at SLV Ski Hi Complex on Feb. 1-3 was a resounding success. The chamber organizes the trade show at the conference.

"Good evening, it is my pleasure to come in here before you and tell you what a wonderful ag conference we had earlier this month in our new building," Burnett said. "We had approximately 70 vendors with 93 booths, and it's really exciting to see how much we can grow for next year's conference. I wanted to thank Ski Hi Events Manager Stephanie Ruybal and her assistant Oscar, they were absolutely awesome, and it was great teamwork.”

Burnett added that she appreciates the relationship that she has with the City, the Chamber, and Colorado State University SLV Extension. Burnett also said that the board was already thinking of ways to make next year an even bigger success in helping the vendors run more smoothly through the conference.

City Events Planner Ruybal also spoke at the meeting and introduced her assistant Martinez. Ruybal said that the ag conference had a huge turnout, with close to 420 attendees. Ruybal said that she currently has 17 contracts out for other events that will be held at the new Outcalt Event and Conference at SLV Ski Hi Complex. Ruybal also reminded everyone of the ribbon-cutting event at the complex on Friday, Feb. 25 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.  

Jenny Nehring of the Friends of the SLV Refuges committee gave an update on the upcoming Monte Vista Crane Festival set for March 11-13. Nehring said that last year’s Crane Festival was completely virtual, and this year would be a hybrid. Nehring explained that hybrid would mean the festival would be offering tours to the people at the Crane Festival, but not by bus, as they had in previous years. Now people who attend the tours would be required to drive themselves to the tours.

"All of our speaking engagements will be virtual, this is required because our agency staff, the refugees of the wildlife, have COVID restrictions that will not allow them to be in large gatherings, or on a bus,” Nehring said. “We really feel like this is a good balance to strike in these unusual times.” Nehring also spoke of a memorandum of understanding that she asked the council to approve.  

Burnett joined Nehring and also spoke about the festival, stating that the Chamber normally holds a Home and Garden Expo in April, but as the same vendors attend the Crane Festival and the Expo, Burnett said this year they were combining the Expo and the Crane Festival. If it went well they would make it a permanent change.  

Nehring told the Council that the festival was an important event in Monte Vista and reminded the Council of an economic survey that showed nearly 20,000 people come from out of the Valley to watch the cranes and that it results in nearly $3.5 million in economic revenue and $120,000 in tax revenue.

“This is a really great source of income, at a really slow time of the year,” Nehring said.  

A motion was unanimously carried to approve the MOU for the Crane Festival.

City Clerk Unita Vance addressed the Council about the appointment of Linda Robinson to the Rio Grande County Public Library Board. Her appointment would be through Dec. 31, 2027.

Vance said that permission to appoint Robinson to the board had to be given and agreed upon by the Board of Trustees for the Town of Del Norte, the City Council of Monte Vista, the Commissioners of Rio Grande County, and the Board of Trustees for the Town of South Fork.  

The appointment of Robinson to the Rio Grande Library Board was unanimously passed by the Council.  

Vance also presented the Council with a letter written by Kerry Adams, requesting to be added to the Valley 3 Advisory Board. A motion was made and passed unanimously to appoint Adams to the board.

The After-Prom Committee was also brought up at the meeting and council members approved donating $500.    

Vance also spoke at the meeting regarding adding two people to the Planning and Zoning Committee. The City had received four responses. Vance said she would be forwarding applications to the council, so they could rank the applications.

City Manager Dennis during her report said the City met with the Valley Theatre about several safety violations, the primary violation being not appropriately lit exit or emergency signs.

“I have told them that if this isn’t resolved, they will not be able to use the building for the Mountain Film Festival," Dennis said. "These are violations that have been there for several years, and the building is on the City’s insurance so if there was an accident there, we would be liable.”  

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for March 3.

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