Center Town Trustees approve gas rate increase

Photo by Mechel Meek VISTA volunteer Keith Brockhurst was introduced to Center Town Trustees during their meeting on July 13.

Also discussed future development plans and End of Summer Bash

CENTER — Center Town Trustees approved a $0.13 increase to natural gas rates during their monthly regular meeting on Tuesday, July 13.

The rate change will go into effect on the August billing cycle. It is a $0.13 increase per CCF. One CCF equates to 100 cubic feet.

Trustees participated in a lengthy work session and convened the open session to receive the department head reports, the manager report and to handle new business.

The Town Manager’s report discussed several projects regarding developing the soon-to-be annexed Consul property to the north of town. The property is 90 acres and was currently undeveloped raw land.

Town Manager Brian Lujan discussed the strategy to create a comprehensive plan to revitalize the current downtown area, in partnership with Downtown Colorado Inc., and to develop the 90 acres. This plan would create a long-term improvement plan which would unite the town while creating housing and business opportunities on the new acreage.

Lujan suggested that the town apply for a planning grant which would allow more consultants to be involved in the proposed planning and development.

“I think it would be advantageous for us to apply for a $40,000 planning grant,” Lujan said.

Trustees discussed proposed names for the 90-acre property that were submitted by town residents. Several names were discussed with no final decision. Trustees will discuss the finalization of a name at a later meeting.

Also addressed during his report, was the introduction of Keith Brockhurst a VISTA volunteer, which is part of the AmeriCorps program that is designed to help alleviate poverty by providing resources to impoverished communities. The volunteer program is set for one year.

Brockhurst is from Maryland, is fluent in Spanish and recently graduated from Cornell University. He is especially interested in the economic development of rural areas.

Lujan then explained how the VISTA volunteer program will help support the development of the 90 acres and the overall revitalization plan. He said that Center will soon be “the blueprint for a successful rural community, raised from a dying downtown to a thriving rural community.”

A special events permit was approved to sell beer at the End of Summer Bash which will feature vendors providing food, entertainment and refreshments on Aug. 28 at Casa Blanca Park, the parade starts at 11 a.m. and the festivities end at 8 p.m.

Lujan also announced that the town was a recipient of a $5,000 grant from El Pomar Foundation to help cover the cost of the event that may help stimulate the Center economy.

In new business, the Center Consolidated School District applied for and received a grant to have fiber optic internet lines installed throughout town. Jade Communications will be doing the research and legwork needed to install the lines.

Center Police Department Chief Dale Meek updated Trustees on calls for service to the police in June.

“Crimes have been down but there has been a rise in suspicious activity complaints,” he said.

He went on to explain that the rise in those types of complaints is due to the citizens calling in and taking an interest in keeping Center crime free. He also brought up that crimes against local businesses, including shoplifting, have dropped.

There were 366 total calls for service to the Center Police Department in June. The other topic discussed was CPD will be changing cell service carriers. This is expected to save money and provide a better level of service.

The Public Works report discussed the current implementation of the water meter system for the town. According to Public Works Director Dave Mehaffie, “Location IDs are worked out on the water meters.” Billing was expected to be correct by Aug. 1.

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