Town board swears in new trustee, approves budget



DEL NORTE — The Del Norte Town Board approved the 2019 budget, addressed property issues and swore in a new trustee, Brenton Williams, at town hall on Dec. 12.
Following a few public comments, department updates and other presentations, the board approved the 2019 budget, certified mill levies and liens, granted a special event permit, amended the water fund and increased metered and unmetered water rates for 2019.
Citizen’s comments included good news about the Del Norte Public Library, one of 14 libraries in south-central Colorado participating in the Growing Readers Together grant program through the Colorado State Library. Receiving a $2,500 literacy grant for books, furniture and rugs, the Del Norte library is the only grant participant in the San Luis Valley. The Colorado State Library also includes coordinated training and technical assistance.
With Police Chief Robert Fresquez recovering from a leg injury, Frank Martinez has two part-time officers helping him cover the town.
“Unfortunately, burglaries are up,” Martinez reported. Equipment and materials worth more than $100,000 were stolen from the new school construction site, and Martinez encouraged residents to lock their vehicles and remove or conceal valuable items.
Calls to homes for domestic violence issues have increased, Martinez noted, a recurring surge during the holiday season for families feeling financial pressures. Shoplifting is also on the rise, “not out of control,” Martinez added, “but it’s still there.”
Following a brief update from public works, new trustee Brenton Williams took the oath of office before taking his seat with the board. With a nomination from Gary Sabrowski, Samuel Scavo replaced Annette Archuleta as mayor pro-tem.
Tom Monaco, executive director of the SLV Small Business Development Center in Alamosa, introduced himself to the board and described the SBDC approach for the Valley. The primary goal, according to Monaco, is to help individual enterprises develop business plans credible enough to secure funding. By guiding new entrepreneurs to niche locations in the valley, SBDC assistance leads to economic development.
Working with Trinidad State Community College in Alamosa, the SLV SBDC focuses on agricultural business issues (present and future). The SBDC branch also offers evening workshops and other events with Adams State University. In addition, Monaco described a power-lunch-and-learn program rotating through host towns in the Valley. 
Board members questioned the difference between economic development and business development, and Monaco described how his group trains prospective business owners and steers them toward success in the best niche within the Valley. The SBDC does not court new businesses. However, as the discussion unfolded, Monaco heard an echo of consent that Del Norte needs a hardware store. If a new client comes to SLV SBDC with a plan to open a hardware store, Monaco can suggest Del Norte.
The board voted unanimously to issue a special events permit for the Del Norte Riverfront Project boat ramp ribbon-cutting at the new Del Norte River Front Park from 3 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 21.
All other motions carried as well, including budget approval and appropriation, certification of mill levies and liens, renewing insurance, amending the water fund and increasing metered and unmetered water rates for 2019.
The Del Norte Chamber of Commerce report focused on the Parade of Lights and fireworks show on Dec. 7. Fewer floats rolled down Grande Avenue this year, reportedly making up for quantity with quality. Businesses celebrated good traffic throughout the night, and the expanded fireworks show drew rave reviews.
Looking ahead to June, another endurance mountain bike race is gearing up. An application has been filed for a BLM permit to race in and around the Pronghorn Trail System outside of Del Norte. The 12-hour endurance race will be similar to the 12 Hours of Penitence mountain bike race, accommodating individual riders and relay teams.

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