Officials discuss budget changes, PD

SOUTH FORK— The town board of trustees opened their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 27 and after making a slight change to the agenda, closed the public meeting to enter into executive session pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(e) regarding matters that may be subject to negotiation under the supervision of Town Attorney Gene Farish.
The meeting resumed with Becki Helmstettler leading the meeting in place of Mayor Rodney Reed, and Mayor Pro-Tem Don Spencer who were absent. After approving the agenda, Helmstettler moved to have the minutes from May approved and asked for corrections or questions pertaining to the financial reports provided by town staff.
Town Manager Tom Acre spoke to the board and explained that Town Clerk Amanda Hill is now providing an overview of the town finances in a report at the beginning of the packet to address any concerns that have been brought up by town board members. The report will be included in the packet from now on, to help alleviate any concerns to the monthly financial report prior to the meetings. Acre reminded everyone in attendance that the reports are available online prior to meetings and will remain on the website after. Any questions posed by either residents or board members can be directed to himself or Hill at any time.
Acre also stated that town revenue is up for the month but down for the year in comparison to the last three years due to a change in employment status. “As you know we opted to give raises to several employees and had to make some changes to the police department budget because one of our main deputies is out on medical leave,” explained Acre.
Revenue for the department, which is collected through services as well as ticket collections, has been down in the past month. Acre explained that the department has been shorthanded, leaving their ability to cover the entire town in short supply. In order to help fix the issue until the absent deputy can return to service, Police Chief Don McDonald and Hill have worked to move money around in the budget and hire two part-time officers to help McDonald.
Acre finished with the financial report, stating that he and Hill will continue to closely monitor expenses and work with the chief in order to stay on track with the police department budget. “People are continuing to show trust for the chief and are still coming to him with ongoing concerns throughout the town. The fact that this is still happening is a reflection of the good job the chief is doing,” finished Acre.
In the last month, the police department has responded to 155 incidences involving traffic violations and other reports. In addition to traffic violations, the department has also made 120 citizen contacts, whether for suspicious activity or business checks, which is a significant increase from the past few years.
Moving on with staff reports, Acre addressed a concern brought to the attention of the town pertaining to the state of the visitor center. Residents have complained that the center has been dirty, with trash overflowing in trash cans, weeds around the yard and dying flowers. Acre finished staff reports stating that the issue was an isolated incident and that the Public Works Department will ensure that the town and its facilities are up to par by the 3rd of July celebrations.
Trustee Kris Steffens mentioned that it would be nice if a local organization would be willing to help with plants around town and asked that anyone interested in doing volunteer work could contact the town. “Other towns have people who go around and help them water plants and pull weeds. It would be nice if we could find someone to help us keep our town beautiful,” stated Steffens.

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