Mayor Tommy Rowe opened the most recent Caliente City Council meeting by greeting the people and congratulating Councilman Victor Jones for getting his certificate for becoming a Certified Public Official. The city also received plaques from Caliente Elementary School for helping with a marque, Casey Folks Caliente 100, Outstanding Community award from RSVP and Best in the Desert, all thanking the city of Caliente for their support.
Commissioner Jared Brackenbury said he had been to DC and they talked about the bicycle route here in Caliente. It passed committee and was well on its way; they were very supportive about it.
A question on the paying of bills was brought up by Rowe concerning the election. Rowe asked about the fiscal year status. Kelli Haluzak stated that it comes out of last year’s budget, and the checks were signed today.
A public meeting for Resolution 2017-12 case was held regarding the lease of room 5 in the Caliente Depot to the Creative Artists of Lincoln County, a nonprofit corporation, at no cost. All nonprofits are rent free in the Depot. Dylan Frehner said looking back through an ordinance the council had passed, the best way was to post it and have a public meeting.
There was a question from the public about whether utilities were paid separately. Rowe said they were all in one.
Another question was about the length of the lease and how the room is supposed to be for public use and community get togethers and such things, so how would renting it work?
Councilman Cody Christensen said they’d had a discussion on this and it is in the lease agreement that the city can still make it available for public use. A comment was also made that they were glad the artists were coming back between years.
The public meeting was closed and the next item on the agenda was the lease agreement between the city and Creative Artists. This motion was passed. The lease will begin on Jan. 1, 2018, and run three years.
Frehner read the lease. Creative Artists’ use of the building will be limited to art shows, art classes, souvenir shops, and other activities, and will be available for such events such as weddings and other public use upon request so long as Creative Artists don’t have an event already scheduled; because they are the tenant, they get preference. If nothing is scheduled, they are required to let the public use it. The city is not responsible for damage to anything stored and Creative Artists is required to get rental insurance and keep the area clean. This also passed.
A conditional-use permit for Dana Lee Fruend to have her business at 390 First Street was up. This will be for bike rental, bike repair, and a photo studio. Letters were sent out to neighbors and there were no objections. Her state and business licenses were approved.
There was a public hearing on a complaint to revoke the business license of Mull’s Midway Motel for failure to comply with Caliente’s city ordinance. The complaint involves two issues. Anyone running a motel is to comply to paying room taxes and provide monthly details of occupancy. No payments have been made since January and paperwork is not up to date. The estimated balance due is $3,000, not including the months that have not been reported. The second area of concern was that, per the Silver Flume website, the motel’s business license has not been renewed since 2013. One of the rules is that you have to verify you have a state license to get a city license. Owner Robert Mull was in attendance and Rowe asked what his intentions were. Mull stated that he was meeting with the bank tomorrow and the bank wanted to see what the council’s decision was before making theirs.
Rowe noted that Mull was smiling and said he thought this was pretty serious to be smiling about. Mull’s comment was “excuse me for smiling.”
Christensen told Mull how much trouble such behavior causes the city. Christensen stated that, “We had given you a warning and were more than fair with you when you came in before. I think we need those back taxes plus interest plus fees, because there needs to be a deterrent to these kinds of actions. I think I am more inclined to deny your license. You haven’t kept your state license up. You’re not in compliance with the law. You haven’t made up your payment to us. Quite frankly, I’m disgusted by this.”
Mull commented that when he got the motel it was ranked three-out-of-three and now it’s ranked one-out-of-four. He said, “It costs lot of money to put in carpet and paint walls to try to get this dumpy little town a little bit of class, but apparently it’s more important that the city look like crap.”
Jones interrupted Mull, saying, “I take offence to our dumpy little town. I think it’s a wonderful place to live.”
Mull said he did too, but “everything is shut down and looks like crap and needs to be cleaned up.”
Frehner said “We don’t want to see business shut down, but we also want to see business comply. We have options the council can consider. You can revoke him and require them to start over to get state business license and debt paid. You can give them a deadline of 15 or 30 days to say all has to be paid. Or you can leave as it is.”
Councilman John Ahlstrom said he hates to keep giving second chances but “we don’t want to see you fail. I’m in favor of giving you a deadline.”
IT was noted Mull did meet the deadline last time this happened.
There were no further comments from anyone, so the public meeting was closed.
Rowe made a motion that they continue as it is now with a city license in place until the November 2 council meeting. At that point, things must in compliance with the state and up to date with taxes. Jones seconded and the motion was passed.
Next up was the first amendment to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Caliente and the Teamsters Local 14. The council approved a .35 cent raise per hour excluding City Clerk Jerry Carter and Dylan Frehner. All negations need to be finalized by May 5 so it can be added into the budget. The payment agreement is set to be retroactive to July 1.
The next council meeting will be Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.