The Caliente City Council met at the usual time on May 17.

Bringing the meeting to order after the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor George T. Rowe said it was nice to look out and see people there. He said that most times there aren’t many in attendance.

Bud Sanders requested that the Knotty Pine Lounge be allowed to serve alcohol at the fire station for the S.N.O.R.E. dinner on June 9, 2018. Sanders stated that “The Fire Department will be hosting a dinner for the group which will be a financial benefit to the department. S.N.O.R.E has asked us to provide beer and alcohol at the dinner. My bartenders are all very experienced bartenders and in 29 years have never had a complaint, fine, or censorship for serving a minor. We’re in compliance with all current laws. We’re asking that you issue us an off-premise permit to be able to serve beer and alcohol at the dinner.”

Mayor Rowe said he remembered when Sanders came to get a license many, many years ago. He wondered how many years ago that was and Sanders replied, “It will be 29 years in August. I came for a weekend and never left.” The motion was made and approved, and Mayor Rowe thanked him for being here all these years.

Sanders replied, “No, thank you, for me being here all these years. Without community support I wouldn’t be here and I never forget that.”

Sharon Dirks, Caliente Elementary’s new principal attended the meeting to ask that the council to waive the fee for using the concession stand for the rest of the Little League ball games so that the PTO can operate it.

Dirks also asked that the council waive the fees for the annual Washington D.C. fundraiser over the Memorial Day weekend. There are only nine students going and with the fee waived, the weekend fundraiser would bring in half of the necessary funds.

The motion was approved.

The Memorial Day Committee requested that the council approve the closing of Clover Street for the Memorial Day Parade on Saturday, May 26, at 10 a.m. The plan is to start the line-up at the rodeo grounds. The road will also be closed crossing the railroad tracks on Front Street until the parade is over. This was approved.

The action to approve/deny Special Events Fees was approved at the Planning Meeting on May 10. The Council and Planning Committee, along with Jerry Carter, asked if there was a way that these fees filter back into the departments that incurred the cost, mostly the Public Works. Carter has been working on this since Sept 2017. The council approved this with the stipulation that they can look at it to do any needed changes.

The Planning Commission asked the council to become a decision-making body as approved by the Planning Commission on May 10, 2018 meeting. Regan Gubler, speaking for the Planning Commision, said this was brought to the Commision, adding that in others cities this is how it is done. The Planning Commision makes minor decisions such as zoning, parcel maps and conditional use permits. The reason for this is to ease the burden on the City Council. Gubler mentioned over the last six to eight months, people have come to Planning meeting and spread their maps, explain everything, get it approved, and then they have to come back to Council to do the same thing. Councilman Victor Jones mentioned that the Council typically goes along with the suggestions of Planning and said he didn’t see the need to allow Planning to make decisions that the Council is not involved in. Mayor Rowe said if Caliente was a bigger city, then it may be necessary.

Gubler said a lot of planning issues have come up in the six-eight months, and that it seems foolish to have someone come once and then another time. “We’re trying to eliminate the two-step process,” he said.

Councilman John Ahlstrom added that he didn’t think it is too cumbersome for the Council and said he is in favor of leaving it the way it is.

The Council voted to deny the request.

The second amendment to the agreement between the city of Caliente and general sales drivers, delivery drivers, and helpers and representing the public sector, Teamster Local Union No. 14 was approved, giving the employees a 2.1 percent raise. This applies to all employees, including seasonal, equal to that of the bargaining unit.

Another long discussion was on the creation of a subcommittee to review the floodway report from Sunrise Engineering and to prioritize suggested projects. Ken Dixon said he wanted to form a committee with Carter, himself, and a representative from Sunrise. A working meeting might take 4-5 hours or until it was hashed out.

Sanders said he would like to see the map. He expressed concern that if they take all the water from Lincoln and Main and channel it into the creek, the rock wall stops short of his housing development on Holt Avenue and the houses there will therefore be wiped out.

Dixon said, “That is why I think we have to come up with a plan to the recommendation that Sunrise has come up with. Right now we have a summary plan that has seven items on it and we need to look at them separately and brought to Council with what we think are the priority.”

The Planning Commission would look through it and then bring to the Council. Councilman Steve Rowe will sit on the committee.

A discussion was held regarding standby fees being added to vacant property owners’ utility bills. The utility department still has to maintain the meters and replace them at a cost to the department. Property increases in value with these utilities but the burden of upkeep falls on the city, especially the utility department. Carter will make a spreadsheet of these properties and will bring it to the next council and budget meeting.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Skills Park on Saturday, May 26, at 8 a.m., before the parade.

The CDBG Depot Grant will be presented May 30, 10 p.m. at the Coop.

The caboose by the Box Car Museum has been painted, thanks to Cliff Jensen

On the next agenda, Dave Lutrell will be giving a PowerPoint presentation on Question 3. He will present the pros and cons on the issue. Carter encouraged the public to attend as it is a decision that will affect the smaller utilities.

The next meeting is June 7, at 6 p.m.