Tuesday’s regular Trinidad City Council meeting began with public comment in regards to a recent ordinance involving the placement of shipping containers on private property. There had been a concern with council that too many individuals were letting worn down, unsightly containers sit on their property. But Trinidad resident, Alan Allum stated while he understands the motives of the ordinance, he’d like to see it edited slightly to allow for proper, up-kept long-term placement.
“I understand the intent of the regulation for residents not to have rusted, mashed up things in their yards,” said Allum. “However, the regulation the way it’s been written is so prohibitive. I have a project going on where I’m going to build a building on my property out of shipping containers, which is one of the most eco-friendly, viable and newest ways of assembling buildings, and I can’t do it because now this regulation is in.”
Allum went on to say that the ordinance could be written in a way that wasn’t so prohibitive for people seeking to use shipping containers for eco-building purposes.
“When [council] was well intentionally putting this ordinance together, I think you were thinking of a single 20-foot container that somebody used for putting garden equipment in or storage,” said Allum. “What I’m hoping to do is to possibly get you to revisit that regulation and maybe focus it a little better for the things that you really want. I think it’s fraught with unintended consequences, some good, and some bad. I think there are some ways to better increase the odds of what the council had intended such as potentially requiring a permit that listed things that had to be done to keep it on your property such as keep it painted and on a foundation.”
Mayor Phil Rico stated he’d like Allum to call and discuss the matter with him further. All of council listened and understood Allum’s cordial request to take a deeper look at the ordinance.
A first reading of an ordinance to amend the City of Trinidad’s annual budget for the fiscal year beginning on January 1, 2019 and ending on December 31, 2019 was also presented. This amendment has to do with properly accounting for a $350,000 surplus to the cities budget, which was good news to several on the council.
“When I first joined council, the general fund was running an $800,000 deficit and we were starving our infrastructure so it’s really great to see this surplus,” said Councilmember Michelle Miles.
“What I’m seeing is we’re making some really good decisions with our staff’s guidance of creating more funds by collecting interest with the different entities we’re entrusting with some of the City’s money and it’s showing,” said Rico.
“It’s amazing to me to see the professionalism with which every last one of our city staff performs their job and I think that budget reflects that,” said Councilmember Karen Griego. “If they weren’t watching their expenditures and doing the business of the City of Trinidad as you should be that surplus wouldn’t be happening. It’s too bad that a lot of people in Trinidad don’t see the work that city staff puts in to maintaining and operating the city. I truly believe that staff treats city money as if it were their own and it’s really nice.”
Also presenting to council was Walden Mills Group President Judy Walden and City Development Services Administrator Victor Gutierrez regarding a finished design of the Regional Wayfinding informational kiosks. 11 of the kiosks pictured with this story will be installed around the Trinidad area highlighting the history, art, and accomplishments of the surrounding areas they’re placed. CDOT also requested $3,385 from the City of Trinidad to help with their installation which council passed.
“The City of Trinidad is the designated local agency for the design and install of 20 informational panels and kiosks in 11 different locations,” said Gutierrez.
“The way finding project we’ve been involved with has to do with drivers,” said Walden. “With this project, there were people and entities involved from 11 different communities with the idea to develop a system of information kiosks for travelers as they travel through the region. This is a CDOT project. The design phase is completely finished and we’re now coming down the home stretch into the construction phase. We’re literally ready to put them in the ground.”
Council also passed an ordinance authorizing the conveyance of certain property owned by the City of Trinidad to Trinidad Urban Renewal Authority. This would allow economic development to a previously vacant lot within the city.
“This is a piece of property off of Cedar Street and Commercial,” said Interim City Manager Mike Valentine. “We’ve owned this property for over a hundred years and it’s been a dirt lot all that time so I think it’s appropriate that we convey it to urban renewal.
The council looked at bid results for the Santa Fe Trail 24-inch water main replacement and ended up accepting the low bid of $1,737,856.99 million by Pete Construction. Interim City Manager Mike Valentine said the estimated budget for the project was $1.41 million and they would be working to do some value engineering to reduce costs on the project further after the bid had been approved to get as close to the estimated budget as possible.
“This water main has been in the ground before all of us,” said Valentine. “It’s a big part of our infrastructure that needs to be replaced.”
“It’s great to see that we’re taking care of some of our much-needed infrastructure improvements,” Rico added.
During the Interim City Manager report, Valentine stated he has been in regular contact with Dana Crawford and her group to work on generating funds and plans for the renovation of the Fox Theater.
“We’re trying to find some ways to host some shows to generate funds as we’re working to refurbish the theater,” said Valentine.
Valentine also brought up the potential of applying for a $500,000 grant to help establish long term plans for phasing out the refurbishment of the iconic theater.
“There’s an opportunity to apply for Saving America’s Treasure Preservation Grant with US Department of Interior Natural Parks Services,” said Valentine. “It’s a $500,000 maximum grant. The match is $50,000 and the rest is in kind. If we apply for this grant, we’ll find out in April if we received it. Crawford’s group would be responsible for writing the grant.”
Council agreed to move forward with applying for the grant.