Craig City council votes divided on first reading of 2019 budget; officials hear middle school science presentations | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig City council votes divided on first reading of 2019 budget; officials hear middle school science presentations

CRAIG — The votes were split on motions made to adopt the first reading of the 2019 city budget when the Craig City Council met Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Ordinance No. 1080 (2018) sets appropriations for city revenues and expenditures and making and fixing the amount of property tax levies for the city of Craig in 2019.

Council member Tony Bohrer moved to adopt the budget as presented without a new department of economic development. Council members Jarod Ogden, and Joe Bird voted "yes," but were not enough to overrule "no" votes by Mayor John Ponikvar and the three other council members, so the motion failed.

Council member Chris Nichols moved to adopt the budget as presented and include a new department of economic development at a cost of about $82,000 to the city. This measure passed on a 4-3 vote along the same voting lines.

A public a workshop and hearing were held prior to the vote. During the public hearing, Craig resident Vicki Huyser asked a question about a decrease in funding for the ACET program.

Police Chief Jerry DeLong explained that his department had extra funds (about $25,000) from 2018 and, as a result, did not add additional money to the department’s budget.

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During the first of two public comment periods, Huyser also asked about a reduction of a little more than $39,000 to the budget for the Craig Police Department. In that case, Delong said the department had been able to purchase equipment this year at lower cost than anticipated and reduced next year's budget accordingly. Huyser thanked the chief for his "frugal" spending.

The budget now moves to second reading and adoption at the next council meeting. Look for more about the arguments for and against the inclusion of a new Department of Economic Development and a more complete story about what is being funding in the city budget in Wednesday’s Craig Press.

Another highlight of the meeting was a presentation by Craig Middle School sixth-grade students, who described their solutions to the world's plastics problem.

As part of Craig Middle School's problem-based learning — under the direction of teacher Cristina Vanzo — students played the role of employees with the Environmental Protection Agency tasked with solving the global plastic problems.

"Their job was to inform city council on why their problem is an issue and propose a solution to remedy the problem. They needed to consider what areas of the world are affected by their problem, as well as provide facts and statistics to support their claims," Vanzo said.

Students had to consider financial implications, technical details to implement their solution, and the environmental impacts their solution would have. They also had to provide visual displays.

After a presentation titled, "Solving the World’s Plastic Problem" Josefina Kuberry and Alyssa LeWarne demonstrated a scale model of a new system they designed to capture plastic in the ocean.

Catherine Clark proposed ways the city could bring recycling to the community in her presentation, "Let’s Make Recycling More Accessible In Craig"

And Kiki Bohrer and Mya Thompson shared their invention, "The Renewer," which they said would provide citizens the opportunity to clean or "renew" plastics for reuse.

Council also:

• Introduced new opportunities for public comment that includes time after the adoption of the agenda for the public to comment on matters pertaining to it; a public hearing on the budget, with such hearings to increase in future; and time at the end of the meeting to comment on any issue.

• Unanimously approved of minutes from the Oct, 23 meeting and October bills
.

• Unanimously approved a consent agenda to renew a Tavern Liquor License from Cool Water Grille LLC, dba Cool Water Grille, located at 337 West Victory Way; a Liquor Store Liquor License for Elk Liquor Store Inc., dba Elk Liquor Store, located at 1111 West Victory Way, #135; and to grant a special events permit for the Boys & Girls Club for a Cowboy Christmas event Dec. 1.

• In line with the new process to hear more public comment, council members approved a public hearing to be held during the Dec. 11 city council meeting for Ordinance 1081 (2018), which would amend sections 13.48.010 and 13.16.010 of the Craig Municipal Code to increase the water and wastewater rates to provide sufficient revenue to maintain the balance of water and wastewater enterprise funds. The ordinance was introduced during the meeting.

• Unanimously approved a $507,050 bid from Coblaco Services Inc. for the Roundbottom Tank rehabilitation project.

• Unanimously approved $15,000 to support a new shop local program. Read more about this program CraigDailyPress.com and in next week's print editions of the Craig Press.

During the presentation portion of the agenda, consultant Jana McKenzie, from Logan Simpson, reviewed a final draft of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

Annette Burrow, adult basic education instructor from Colorado Northwestern Community College, provided council with an overview on English as a Second Language, GED, and Read/Write programs offered by CNCC. She had provided a similar presentation to the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners earlier in the day.

The monthly police report for October, city manager, city attorney, and council reports rounded out the evening. The meeting adjourned about 8:30 p.m.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.