Chugwater appoints mayor pro-tem, seeks volunteers for P&Z committee

By Lisa Phelps
Posted 5/15/24

CHUGWATER – An appointment of a new mayor pro-tem was among the actions taken during the May 6 meeting of the Chugwater Town Council.

Mayor Carol Ash cited the declining health of current …

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Chugwater appoints mayor pro-tem, seeks volunteers for P&Z committee


CHUGWATER – An appointment of a new mayor pro-tem was among the actions taken during the May 6 meeting of the Chugwater Town Council.

Mayor Carol Ash cited the declining health of current mayor pro-tem, Eric Marlatt, who attended the meeting via phone, and an upcoming trip she will be making out of the country as the reasoning for changing the appointment. The main responsibility of the mayor pro-tem is to step into the role of mayor in the case of absence of the mayor during an emergency, and in orienting new councilmembers. 

By roll call, the council confirmed the appointment of councilman Steve Kelley as mayor pro-tem.

The mayor also said there is a need for a planning and zoning committee to spend time reviewing and looking into the details of permits, ordinances, and making recommendations to the council. She is asking members of the community to volunteer to be on the planning and zoning committee. Further details are available at town hall.

Kelley recommended a building permit be tabled until it could be reviewed further, giving credence to Ash’s push for volunteers for the planning and zoning committee.

During discussion of the motion to approve ordinance # 319 for continuation of the one-percent sales tax, as imposed by the general electorate county-wide in the 1990 general election, John Burns stated for the record why he was voting “no” on the motion. “I am against it. I remember when the county first voted this in, they said they would allow it to come before the county rather than all five communities in the county... I think the citizens of the county should be voting on this, not 25 people (councilmembers of five towns),” Burns explained. “The choice needs to be up to the general electorate of the county - I think it is wrong [for the councils] to represent 10,000 people in the county. That said, if I would be voting at the poles (as a private citizen) I would vote yes.”

Eric Marlatt joined Burns in a “nae” vote; Kelley and Joe Schirmer voted “aye,” and Mayor Ash broke the tie with an “aye” vote, passing the motion on its third reading. 

The council voted to approve purchasing an updated credit card reader for the town office for $450, with the usage fee being charged to customers. 

“I think it is worthwhile because it takes forever to punch it into the computer,” Schirmer said.

There was some confusion when discussing payments for work on the town’s water well no. 5 before councilman Kelley made a motion to approve payment to Eagle Drilling for an invoice for the pump system in the amount of $16,723.76 and adding the portion of a separate invoice that included the fee for using a camera to inspect the well for $1,995.95. The rest of the second invoice in the amount of $6,275.95 had been previously approved by the council in November.

These invoices reflect work done to pull the no. 5 well. “They determined the pipe and pump needed to be replaced. When they ran the camera down, we determined the screens were not plugged and looked good, so they did an airlift on the well and got out the debris that had been knocked off the walls. We are waiting for Eagle Drilling to give a price quote for rehabbing the No. 5 well,” Delgado said in his maintenance report to the council.

“The work Eagle Drilling is doing now is what should have been done when it was put in 20 years ago,” Delgado added.

Councilman Steve Kelley reported he observed the work on the hole for well 5. “It looked pretty good,” he said. He also said Arbor Day was a success with the kids, having planted new trees near the business center.

There was discussion on how to solve the issue of Delgado having to use his personal credit card to make town purchases for maintenance supplies, since the town debit card has a low allowable limit. It was decided to give Delgado authority as a supervisor to authorize purchases on an as-needed basis.

Having attended workshops and training on EPA regulations, Delgado reported residents need to turn in answers to surveys previously sent out by the town on whether the material used in the water lines in their homes are lead or copper. Residents can turn the surveys in to town hall. Delgado said they will soon go house to house for those who haven’t turned them in. “I want to make sure we know what is going on because the EPA is going to start making us track everything.”

Cleanup days were approved for May 17 – 31 with dumpsters available for residents to bring their trash. A bid from Coyote was approved to provide the dumpsters, partly because they are easy to work with and do not charge for pickup and removal of their dumpsters. Habitat for Humanities is going to be in town one day during the cleanup, accepting useable items that can be re-sold in order to reduce the amount of items hauled to the landfill that could be re-used. (It was stated they will accept most anything, except refrigerators and freezers.)

A bid was approved to purchase a replacement furnace in the Community Center, since it is very difficult finding parts to repair it. A bid for masonry work by Randy Rapp was approved to the lip on the handicap access by the doors of the community center, and doing a skim coat on the senior center and library sidewalks.

A bid was approved for a dump trailer and the bid to put TruGreen on town lawns was approved. Mayor Ash said she has noticed a big difference since the town began applying TruGreen on the lawns.

There will be one mayor and two Chugwater councilmember positions opening up, and Mayor Ash urged people to turn in paperwork by May 16th.

The Chugwater council heard plans underway for the Chugwater Chili Cookoff from Jill Graves and approved two 24-hour special use liquor permits for the event. Details were discussed concerning parking, the concession stand, street closures, trash cleanup, materials on the playground, toilet paper re-filling, and whether to allow a fundraiser-style Texas Hold-Em tournament during the cookoff.

After discussion from organizers and a call to town lawyer Eric Jones to see if there would be a gambling liability to the town, the council agreed to allow the Texas Hold-Em fundraiser.

Gabe Douglas said the charity event would be a registration by donation with no expectation of winning by the participants. The purpose would be to add another way to raise funds for the town’s emergency responders. “It could grow in time, turning into a substantial event to benefit the entire community,” he said.

The plan is to bring in professional dealers to deal out games so there is a good structure. There would be operating costs from a pre-designated portion of the funds – most likely around 50 percent – which would go to paying for operating costs, including the dealers’ transportation, lodging, food, prizes from a graduated prize pool.

“My guess is there could be two or three tables this year, but I hope in the future there could be 40, 60 or 80 tables,” Douglas said. “It’s a fun, engaging platform to give money back to Chugwater.”

“I do not question it as long as it is a charity event. These types of things have been done consistently in Platte County over the years, with a percentage going to the clerk. There are no issues I’ve heard of,” Jones said.

Also addressing the board:

Phillip Ellis of Chugwater Economic Development invited the community to attend a combined CHED and CHUG sponsored ice cream social and presentation on the history and stories of Chugwater’s Grant Hotel on May 20th. The social begins at 6:30 p.m., the history presentation is at 7 p.m., then the groups will separate and have their monthly meetings.

Eric Johnston introduced himself as a candidate for state senate district 6. “I hope to prove to Chugwater we listen to you in the 6th district. I am a former county commissioner and among other things, I helped bring indoor toilets to the park for Chugwater Chili during my time on the SLIB board. I would like to continue to represent the Chugwater community at the state level.”

Cathy Wilson thanked the town for the proclamation recognizing Armed Forces Day as May 18, requesting citizens remember the importance members of the armed forces are to our lives. She also thanked them for the tree at the library, and invited anyone interested to volunteer to represent the Chugwater area on the Platte County Library board since Shirley Shockley’s seat will be timed out. Wilson urged the community to see the selection of new books.

“We shelved 1,000 new titles, so come look at what’s new on our shelves,” she said.

The next regular meeting of the Chugwater town council will be at 7 p.m. on June 3.