MONTE VISTA— The Monte Vista City Council held their regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1. Here are the most important items from the meeting to know.
City manager’s report
City Manager Forrest Neuerburg began by reporting that he had recently attended the Neighborhood Watch meeting in late January. “I really enjoyed the meeting... and appreciated the mayor, Councilor [Joe] Schlabach and Councilor [Gary] Johnson were all there as well. Gary did a nice job of passing on the leadership to the new team and has done a good job keeping the organization viable over the past few years. There was a lot of positive energy in the room and Chief [John] Rosecrans did a nice job of explaining many of the underlying philosophies which will guide our police department interactions with Neighborhood Watch going forward. Jim Clare also set a nice tone for collaboration with the rural area surrounding the city. I am looking forward to working with this organization,” reported Neuerburg.
The city manager stated that a workshop with council and city management staff was held on Jan. 24. “It was a very productive meeting and led to the creation of a strategic planning process for council and staff,” he said.
Police department report
Chief Rosecrans spoke on behalf of his department to the city council. Rosecrans began by saying that Crime Stoppers is getting going with grants and other activities. He asked for council and citizen volunteers to attend the monthly Crime Stoppers meetings. He said currently only law enforcement attends the meeting and they would like to change that. Councilor Kathy Ellithorpe and Mayor Pro Tem Victor Sigala stepped up to try and attend future meetings.
Rosecrans also informed the council that the coin machine that was stolen from the car wash a few weeks ago had been found. There were more details and information gathered from this, but no arrests have been made yet.
The chief was pleased to announce that fewer burglary calls and arrests have been made in the last week. “It’s [January] been a pretty good month. There’s not a whole lot going on and it’s been pretty positive. The big names in burglary are all in jail right now,” he said. Information sharing between Valley law enforcement departments is also working well and has led to Monte Vista being able to follow up on cases.
Lena, the current K9, will be retiring. Rosecrans reported that Karma, a new dog, is up and coming. He has also been informed that the Outcalt Foundation stated they’re willing to completely fund a second K9. Rosecrans said that the team would offer support to the county with limitations and that it would help the department be comparable to Alamosa in the ability to handle some drug and other situations.
Finally, Rosecrans was disappointed to announce that a candidate for a new code enforcement officer had fallen through. It turned out the candidate wasn’t honest in the application process to justify keeping him in the position.
City clerk’s report
City Clerk Unita Vance had two items to discuss with the city council. The first was moving the date of the next February city council meeting. Due to several events in the community on the third Thursday the meeting was agreed to be moved to Thursday, Feb. 22.
Secondly, Vance informed the council that there were two candidates for the position of city attorney after a request for proposal had been heavily and properly advertised throughout the San Luis Valley. The two applicants are current city attorney Karen Lintott and previous city attorney Gene Farish. No other Valley attorneys are known to have applied for the open and well-advertised position.
The interviews were originally scheduled for a workshop on Monday, Feb. 12. Applicant Farish announced at the meeting that he would be unavailable that afternoon or evening. The scheduled date was moved to accommodate this applicant. Interviews will also be held on Thursday, Feb. 22.
Attorney background information
Farish contributed politically through letters to the editor and by signing his name as a member of the “Monte Movement” who financially contributed significantly to the campaign of Mayor Dale Becker, Mayor Pro Tem Victor Sigala and Councilor Gary Johnson. His contract had not been renewed by the previous city council in 2017.
Lintott was hired in Farish’s place in 2017.