By Anthony Guerrero
MONTE VISTA— The Monte Vista City Council met in regular session on Thursday, March 7. The agenda was full of items that kept the city operations moving smoothly. These are some of the topics that were taken action on or discussed.
Two new officers took the oath of office at the meeting. First up was Michael Avila, the newest patrol officer in town. Avila graduated from the police academy last year. He since has been working in Saguache beginning in the jail, then becoming a road deputy and now has been in Monte Vista for the last three weeks. Avila’s dad pinned his new MVPD badge on his uniform.
Monte Vista Police Chief John Rosecrans was happy to swear in the newest code enforcement officer, Patrick Montoya. Montoya said he just recently came back to the San Luis Valley and is a Colorado native. He said he was excited and fortunate to have received the new position and looks forward to working with the community. Montoya’s wife pinned on his new badge. Both officers were administered the oath of office by Rosecrans.
Officer Joshua Will was also awarded and recognized at the meeting. He received recognition for having been employed and staying with the department for one entire year.
City Manager Forrest Neuerburg took to the podium to discuss a proposed tax initiative for the 2019 November ballot with the city council. “There are a number of pressing needs in the city which include additional law enforcement, maintenance of streets/parks and renovation/reconstruction/renovation of Ski Hi Park. While we can remain optimistic at this point that sales tax will continue to grow and that is indeed promising, we also have to look at the reality of our funding base versus the costs operations and addressing the pressing needs,” stated Neuerburg.
With these upcoming needs and issues the city manager recommended that the council look at the need in obtaining additional funding. He stated that additional revenue to cover these operating costs are needed to meet the needs of the citizens of Monte Vista. Neuerburg explained that the quickest way to accomplish this task is by increasing city sales tax.
“The last time sales tax was raised in this community was 1994. A 1.0 percent additional sales tax would yield approximately $400,000 per year based on current estimates,” he said.
According to Neuerburg, the proposed breakdown of the funding would include $100,000 for a new police officer and other law enforcement expenditures, $87,000 per year and an additional $73,000 for Ski Hi Park maintenance and operation and $140,000 for the public works department to use on operations primarily focused on street and parks maintenance.
Neuerburg explained that the reason a sales tax increase is the quickest way to handle upcoming costs to operate the city is because if approved by voters in November the changes would take effect in January 2020. The city council will have to decide and get things moving in March 2019 if they will ask the city’s voters for a sales tax increase during the city’s fall election.