City Council swears-in new council member

Photo by Marie Mccolm Jason Lorenz was sworn in as the newest Monte Vista City Council member on Oct. 7.

Also, amends wage basis for Monte Vista City employees

MONTE VISTA — The Monte Vista City Council held a meeting on Thursday, Oct. 7, and a new Council member was sworn in. Jason Lorenz was sworn in by City Clerk Unita Vance.

Lorenz is the fifth member of the City Council. He was one of two candidates running for the Council in November, but the election was not needed due to having only two people running for the positions. Incumbent Victor Sigala also retained his seat. Instead of waiting to seat Lorenz at the start of the next term in January, Lorenz was sworn in on Oct. 7. He fills the seat vacated by Gary Johnson, who stepped down in late May.

Interim City Manager George Dingfelder advised the Council that a representative for the Opioid Advisory Board has been requested. According to Dingfelder, Colorado part of a $26 billion multi-state settlement with opioid drug giants AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and Johnson & Johnson.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced the state would receive $300 million for this settlement. Colorado received $100 million from a previous opioid settlement. According to published reports, the $400 million will be distributed across the state to add detox centers, treatment facilities and drug abatement programs.

Sixty percent of the money will be spread across 19 regions throughout Colorado, but the regions will need to set up governing boards, comprised of local public officials, to assess their needs. The San Luis Valley will be a region and is seeking a representative from Monte Vista to serve on the board.

"This committee has come together and asked that Monte Vista have a representative, the representative can be law enforcement or City staff. I can’t do it, as I was appointed for the state committee," Dingfelder said. “I think the best idea would be somebody from the Council.”

Mayor Pro Tem Sigala volunteered to represent the city and was approved by a vote of the Council.

Mayor Dale Becker presented a proclamation at the meeting entitled “Keeping the Lights on After School.” The proclamation entails safe, quality after-school programs for children in Monte Vista. Many cities and states have had to close after-school programs.

Becker said Monte Vista is standing strong on its beliefs to keep after-school programs open, such as the Boys and Girls Club, for the safety of the children in the community.

Becker proclaimed that Oct. 28 as “Lights on After School Day.”

"The proclamation commits the community to engage in innovative after-school program activities, to ensure the lights stay on and the doors stay open for all children after school,” Becker said.

Cory and Kelly Avila also spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting about their group “Proud Military Parents and Supporters.” The Avilas said their group is expanding. Their newest board member, Cindy Golden, was introduced at the meeting.

The Avilas said that everyone is invited to join the volunteer group and attend their upcoming send-off on Oct. 23, at 11 a.m., at Faith Hinkley Memorial Park. The ceremony is being held to honor Chris Arthur of Monte Vista.

Proud Military Parents and Supporters, formerly known as Military Parents with a Purpose was started in September of 2019, as a group of parents with children in the military. The group raises funds and collects donations, to send care packages to local military members who are currently serving.

Sigala asked that the City of Monte Vista motion to donate $1,000 to the group for their care packages. The motion was passed unanimously by the Council.

Tristen Winters also attended the meeting and requested that a repair shop be opened at the address 1636 Grand Ave.

"I am trying to open a repair shop and doing what I can to get it cleaned up," Winters said.

The consideration to open the repair shop had been reviewed previously with the following conditions needing to be addressed — the cleanup of weeds around the shop, the removal of cars that had outdated plates from the shop, and the promise by the owner/operator to comply with yearly business renewal licensing. With all of the conditions being met, the review was presented to the Council and the motion to open the shop was passed, 4-1.

An amended resolution was also brought before the Council regarding the City’s compensation and wages tiers for the City’s existing employees, as well as adding the Event Center Manager and Economic Developer into the plan and moving the Human Resource Coordinator from paygrade 15 to paygrade 17 and renaming the Human Resource Director to Human Resource Coordinator/Risk Management Director. The changes were passed 5-0.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21.

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