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News briefs: Nov. 4, 2010
From Silverton Standard, the place where you can write!
Posted on November 11 2010, 9:55am by Mark Esper in Local News category
San Juan County Assessor Judy Zimmerman works in her office on Monday, Nov. 8. A toy duck in front of her holds a sign reading “Lame Duck.” Zimmerman is leaving the post after 20 years, after deciding she wouldn’t seek re-election.
Town modifies its
rules for ‘Open’ flags
The Silverton Town Council gave its OK Monday night for businesses to do some flag waving  — at least from November through April.
Town Code officer Keith Thompson said the Silverton Area Chamber of Commerce has run out of the small “Open” flags it sells to help businesses announce their presence during the winter.
Those flags have been approved by the town.
Monday the Town Council voted unanimously to allow businesses to display “Open” flags of their own until the Chamber gets new ones. But the flags will be limited to a size of 3-feet by 5-feet.
Thompson also said there have been concerns expressed by the Chamber’s purple and white flags were too small.
“The flags we originally obtained for them were not visible enough,” Thompson said.
Mayor Terry Kerwin suggested the chamber of commerce work on that issue.
Thompson said at least a couple dozen businesses that are open in the off-season may want the flags, but he said currently he knows of three flags flying that are not chamber-issued.
Snow-route regime unchanged for now
At this point, the town’s plans for snow-route enforcement is unchanged from last year, but Town Administrator Jason Wells is researching what other towns do to see if Silverton may want to modify its rules.
Town officials suggested last month that it might make more sense to stop issuing tickets for snow-route violators and simply tow vehicles away if they get in the way of snow-plowing operations.
Wells said he is checking with other mountain towns on what their winter snow-route enforcement regime is, so “we can all see what everybody else is doing.”
Wells said he suspects “it’s going to be all over the board.”
But for now, Wells said, the status quo remains, with the odd-even parking system in place when “red alerts” are issued by the Public Works department, and vehicles subject to early-morning ticketing if they are on the wrong side of the street.
All Silverton streets are deemed snow routes, and no parking at all is allowed on Greene Street when a red alert is issued, until the plowing is done.
Cold case: town pays to dispose of illegally dumped fridge
An abandoned refrigerator left along the road outside the transfer station has triggered a town discussion about the town’s responsibility for illegally dumped refuse in light of new fees it imposed on disposing of such noncompactable items.
Town Administrator Jason Wells told the Town Council on Monday that he authorized paying Silverton Trash Co. $40 to cover the disposal fee for the fridge.
“But I need to know what our policy should be as things start turning up,” Wells told the Town Council. He said the town’s pay-as-you-dump policy is leading to more bandit dumping as some try to avoid transfer station fees.
He suggested the town should bear some responsibility for the problem, but told the Town Council that “to what extent you as a board want to go along with this, I don’t know.”
Wells suggested establishing a contingency fund in the town’s trash budget to reimburse the transfer station operator for taking care of bandit dumping issues.
“I wouldn’t imagine it would be a tremendous expense,” Wells said.
Trustee Pat Swonger said residents should keep in mind that the basic fee for dumping trash was lowered some 35 percent for 2010. But a fee of $35.71 per cubic yard was imposed on noncompactable items such as old appliances and construction materials.
And since landlords typically pay the town’s utility bills, some renters are now actually facing a fee for dumping noncompactable materials they weren’t charged for in the past.
Rich gets fellowship for big conference on 
historic preservation
San Juan County Historical Society chairman Bev Rich will be at a national historic preservation conference in Tarrytown, N.Y. this week.
Rich was awarded a fellowship from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to attend the conference on Industrial Heritage Retooled.
Rich will make a presentation on the efforts to restore the Mayflower Mill and install a micro-hydroelectric facility there. The conference will be at the Rockefeller family estate at Tarrytown.
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