Ballots will be cast at Holly’s City Complex for the April 5th municipal election this year. The Complex is at 200 South 3rd Street and will be open for balloting from 7am to 7pm, according to town clerk, Megan Jara. Current Trustees, Marty Campbell and Larry Sitts are running for re-election and Holly residents, Josh Reinert and Corey Stephans are making a bid for a seat on the board. Trustee Frank Vazquez is term limited for his position. Jerry Jones, who is serving as mayor will be in that capacity until a new permanent mayor has been elected and he will then resume his position on the Board of Trustees for his remaining two year term. Brad Simon stepped down as mayor several months ago and Jones, as mayor pro-tem, became his replacement at the start of the year. Tony Garcia, former Holly mayor had indicated he would be a write-in candidate for the mayoral position, although the position remains open on the ballot for other candidates. As these will be write-ins, their names will not appear on the ballot when it is issued to Holly voters on April 5th at the polling center.
Town Administrator, Jerry L’Estrange recommended that as the regular monthly meeting will be held the following day, April 6th, the Trustees push back their meeting date by one week to give the newly elected an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the position. The next Trustees meeting will be held on April 13th.
The Backflow and Cross Connection Control Ordinance was unanimously approved by trustees after a final review during the March 2nd monthly meeting. L’Estrange said the ordinance’s penalty fees were reduced from not less than $100 to no more than $2,000. “I believe this is more in accordance with what I heard from the board and this will also be reflected in the policy the town adopts,” he explained. The requirements of the backflow will be dependent on the town’s survey which will be scheduled at a future date. Not every residence in town will need to install the backflow device and single residences are automatically exempt so long as they are not cross-connected to another main. Some newer businesses and others may also be exempt from making any alterations, but the study will put an emphasis on industrial lines. L’Estrange said he’s been in contact with a water quality expert from the state health department and particulars of the survey will be available for the trustees by the next meeting. The survey is federally mandated for small communities across the country. He added records showed the trustees had briefly discussed the requirements back in 2010, but there was no follow up from that time.
The Trustees are stretching the $20,000 road repair budget this year. L’Estrange said the plan this year is to take the money allocated for chip sealing and use that for roads that are in the poorest condition. He added that Cheyenne Street to 10th Streets is in dire need of repairs as well as 8th Street to the highway. “We can rent equipment for about a week to smooth off some rough edges for earlier work to make them more drivable and an area of North Main Street is alligator’d and we need to fill up some of the larger potholes. I’m not satisfied that the past chip seals are gaining us a lot and I’d rather see that work go into street integrity more than cosmetics. I’d rather get the sealer oil from the county and purchase our own chip material, but that will be a later year,” he explained. The trustees agreed that heavy duty trucks and semis are hard on the local streets and that will be a continued subject for improvements through the year.
The Atmos Energy franchise contract with the town expires in June. L’Estrange noted there are few changes, mostly in updated language and the 5% fee remains as is. If all goes well, the first reading of the new ordinance will be in April and the final reading in May.
SECOM made a request to move their cable material from the Depot basement to a 10 by 10 foot pad beyond the driveway to the parking lot. The company will use the prefab building to hold equipment as they run cable connections to the tower north of Holly. It’s intended to speed up the town’s internet system and the building should not interfere with any existing easements.
Field Services Supervisor, J.W. Neal’s report mentioned preliminary work on the town’s pocket park has started which will provide a rest area adjacent to Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel along Main Street. Hydrant testing and flushing is underway for the next several weeks and water meters are still being replaced throughout the community. Several broken street lights have been replaced and the landfill loader has been repaired. Crews have been dethatching the lawn at the ball park.
Talks with Southeast Colorado Power Association are continuing for a service agreement and to update the town’s electric plant. L’Estrange said he’s been in contact with SECPA as well as Lamar Light and Power, but Lamar seems to have too much on their plate right now. A draft of the agreement will be available for the Trustee’s review at their April 13th meeting.
There should be some overlapping information PUMA, Progressive Urban Management Associates, can use from the recent REDI economic study conducted for Holly and Granada. Two different assessments have been held for both communities with PUMA representatives recently in town, visiting main street businesses to get a feel from the town’s retail sector about what is needed in each community. “They’re looking for a niche or hook that we can expand on for job growth. Heritage Tourism is one option being considered and our local, historical offerings offer some potential for job growth. L’Estrange said he’d keep the trustees posted on new developments.
Following a meeting with several Trustees, the Prowers County Sheriff’s Office said additional patrols will be held with an emphasis on school crossing areas. A radar trailer has been posted on some streets and the trustees were given printed details on some areas of town where the study was recently conducted. Response times to citizen calls were also addressed. L’Estrange said the representatives at the meeting discussed what Holly’s relationship with the county would be like if the town decided to develop a more localized program. That option was considered about two years ago.
By Russ Baldwin
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