Fire tower receives council approval

Public barred from comment on Tuesday’s consent agenda item

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Council approves fire tower site plan

In other news ...

In other action at Tuesday night's meeting, council:

• Approved, 7-0, Aug. 14 meeting minutes

• Approved, 7-0, a special events permit for Sept. 15 Colorado Northwestern Community College foundation dinner at the Craig campus, 2801 W. Ninth Street.

• Approved, 7-0, the renewal of a 3.2 percent retail beer license for City Market

• Approved, 7-0, a temporary hotel and restaurant liquor license for the Double Barrel Steakhouse, LLC at 351 Ranney St.

• Heard Moffat County High School student council presentation about a planned trip to the presidential inauguration.

• Approved, 7-0, a marketing letter for the National League of Cities service line warranty program.

• Approved, 7-0, resolution number six appropriating grant funds in the capital projects fund for safe routes to schools.

• Approved, 7-0, resolution number seven appropriating $50,000 in additional funds to the wastewater fund to replace the main emergency generator.

• Approved, 7-0, a $32,000 quote from Spiegel and Sons for clarifier painting at the wastewater treatment plant.

• Heard month end report for July from finance director Bruce Nelson.

• Heard water and wastewater monthly reports.

Many local residents packed Craig City Council chambers Tuesday night to voice their opposition of the Craig Rural Fire Protection District’s proposed site plan for the construction of a live fire training tower in Craig.

But because the issue was featured on the city council’s consent agenda, the public didn’t get the opportunity to address council.

Alan Cashion, a Craig Daily Press editorial board member and contributor, was one of those Craig residents who attended Tuesday’s meeting, but was not heard.

“I thought it was parliamentary manipulation,” Cashion said following the meeting. “What I would have said is that I was spurred on to do a study on this issue and I discovered the training tower is, at best, a compliment to firefighter training…it’s not essential.”

According to his research, Cashion said the number of firefighter deaths that occur on scene are far lower than heart attack or accidents en route to a fire.

“If we’re concerned for the safety of our firefighters, which is exactly how this was proposed to us, we would be more concerned about their transportation to a fire because there are far more deaths related to that than there are fire-related deaths,” Cashion said.

But Cashion, and others, did not get the chance to present their case.

Despite the inability for public comment, several city council members addressed the collective audience, saying it was not their job to debate the validity of the project or provide legislative oversight of another elected board, but to simply vote on the proposed site plan on it’s merits.

“It is not our job here tonight to say whether we like the fire training center idea,” said council member Don Jones. “Our job here tonight is to look at their plan and nothing else.

“It’s sad we have a select few who never agree with what any of us (elected officials) do,” Jones continued. “We’re always going to have different ideas and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but God it would be nice to have something positive out there instead of it always being negative.”

Before voting on the proposal council member Byron Willems announced he would recuse himself from taking a position. Willems serves as president of the fire protection district board.

Jones, on the other hand, would not recuse himself from voting. His brother, Dennis, serves as a battalion chief with Craig Fire/Rescue.

“It’s been brought up that I should not vote on the fire tower project because my brother is a member of the fire department,” Jones said. “If my voting on a site plan is a conflict of interest for the fire department, then so be it — I will still vote.”

City council approved the site plan, 6-0.

After the meeting, Willems said the fire protection district board expects to receive the fire tower structure sometime next month.

Upon its arrival, the fire protection district board will bid the construction of the tower to local contractors.

It is Willems’ hope the tower will be up and operational on Industrial Ave. behind Kmart before the end of the fall.

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